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What is true happiness in a relationship?
How can we be happy in our marriage? How can you find true happiness? How to find true love and happiness?
These questions are common. They reveal a deep desire within us to life a life of meaning, joy, and fulfillment. Yet, happiness often seems elusive. Especially happiness in a relationship.
The following story reveals a key to finding true happiness.
I’ve told the following story hundreds of times to make the point that we find fulfillment, not in seeking to be happy, but in serving others.
This is especially true in marriage.
The happiest couples I know are the ones who make it their purpose to serve their spouse. In doing so, they find fulfillment. Plus, their spouse in turn serves them.
When both partners have the goal of out-serving each other, they discover real, lasting happiness.
You cannot be happy living selfishly. It is a psychological impossibility. We were not made to do so.
Our highest joy is found in living our lives selflessly.
The tale of people with no elbows demonstrates this truth.
Here is a transcript of the story if you prefer to read:
The Story of People With No Elbows
Years ago I heard the story of a man who died and was allowed to visit both heaven and hell.
His first stop was hell.
There he saw people gathered around a huge banquet table filled with the most delicious food imaginable. It was obvious the people there were hungry. Yet no one was satisfied by the food.
Every person there had arms without elbows. So they could not bend their arms to feed themselves.
Starving. Food available. Yet unsatisfied because there was no way to get the food to their mouth.
The people were angry, arguing and fighting. It was an awful sight.
Next, the man was taken to heaven.
The scene was similar. People were there around a huge banquet table filled with food, drink and the most delicious deserts imaginable.
The people were very similar to those in hell in that they had no arms without elbow.
Yet they were laughing, happy and filled with joy.
The only difference in the two groups was that those in hell were angry, fighting and filled with bitterness.
All because they could not feed themselves the delicious food.
Those in heaven were happy because, while they could not feed themselves, they discovered if they fed each other, they could all share the delicious food.
The moral of the story, of course, is that when we meet the needs of others, our needs will be met.
There is an underlying principle that goes like this:
If your goal in marriage is to be happy, you will act selfishly to get your need(s) met.
If your goal in marriage to serve your spouse, you will act selflessly to meet your spouse’s needs.
Our needs are met by serving the needs of our spouse.
True happiness in life (especially marriage) can be found when our goal is to ‘out serve’ our spouse.
Our culture often lives by the motto, ‘He who has the most toys at the end, wins.’ This is false.
Our motto as married couples should be, ‘The one who serves the most, wins.’
The truth is, when we serve our spouse, it causes them to want to serve us as well.
This leads to a wonderful experience of love, joy, and fulfillment.
Our Healthy Marriage Challenge:
Live in a such a way that your spouse never doubts the depth of your love or your willingness to serve them well.