Why I’m Not Fond of the Saying, “Happy Wife, Happy Life”

The other day my husband and I were in a serious conversation. My heart was hurting and I was completely overwhelmed with life while I felt like my husband was living with no burdens at all. To me, it seemed as if all of the responsibilities of our lives were resting on my shoulders while he was living on easy street.

After we talked more (and I cried more), we discussed the expectations and standards of ourselves, our marriage, our children, and everything else in between.

During this conversation I came to realize we needed to take stock in our lives and make some changes. But as the conversation continued, it dawned on me that I needed to be more diligent in casting my cares on to the Lord, rather than on to my husband.

I also realized I was dealing with a syndrome I don’t care for. One that I was so easily deceived into thinking while I was having my own little pity party. This syndrome I’m referring to is the Happy Wife, Happy Life Syndrome.

I’m not a fan of this martial perspective because I think it does more harm than good. Maybe I feel this way because I know how deadly this deception could so easily undermine a Christ-centered marriage.

The mantra of a ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ is a flat out lie from Satan and it’s a self-serving way of life for me to embrace.

Does your spouse make you happy? Often in marriage, we can look to our spouse to meet all of our needs and even expect them to be responsible for our own happiness, and we end up missing out. We not only miss God's heart for marriage, but  his heart for us as well. If you find yourself there today, end the trap and pursue joy instead!

Happiness applies to one’s happenings, thus the minute our happenings change and are no longer perfect, then our attitude will change. Then we turn to our husband and expect him to change things so we can be ‘happy’ again. This is a viscous emotional cycle that is detrimental for a thriving marriage.

The premise of this saying is placing such a huge burden on our husbands’ shoulders expecting them to fulfill all of our needs so we can be ‘happy’. Not too mention the emotional manipulation game we can so easily play with our men, although they don’t know it!  It won’t take long in life for the disappointments to ensue since every human being is less than perfect.

The Happy Wife, Happy Life perspective will just lead to unmet expectations in marriage, which will lead to disappointment.  This is where I found myself the other day.

If I focus on living for and pleasing the Lord in my life then my perspective won’t be all about me. It will be about my Savior, the one who loves me unconditionally and the one who can meet all of my needs. My husband is not capable of meeting all of my needs. Some, yes. But not all. But if I go through life expecting my husband to make me happy, well that reality won’t last very long.

A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45 (NLT)

My heart is desperately wicked and it wants to be worshiped at every chance it gets. If I’m not careful to walk in discernment, my wishes could easily become an idol and wreak havoc on my marriage.

The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? Jeremiah 17:9

Instead of focusing on the happy wife life mantra, instead I’m going to pursue this…

“Joyful Wife, Joyful Life!”

How about you? Will you embrace this perspective for your marriage?


Jolene- JoleneEngle.com

How to Have Fun with Your Kids

Family Father Son Playing Football Summer Concept

“Did you have a fun vacation?” I asked. My girlfriend had just gotten back from a week in the mountains. She looked at me quizzically. “Fun?” she questioned. “A relaxing, restorative time, perhaps, but not fun. I don’t really have fun with my … [Continue reading]

3 Ways to Find Rest This Summer


Summer is here and school is out! Woohoo!! This means that many will enjoy some kind of rest. Families will go on vacations, others will enjoy some time off at home. Many of us will enjoy a more relaxed schedule. But no matter how our summer turns … [Continue reading]

11 Simple Ways to Deal with Disagreements

11 Simple Ways to Deal with Disagreements

Sometimes you don’t have to go looking for conflict – it comes to you. Several years ago I was leading a group of students on an inner city mission trip in Chicago. Thinking it would be a nice way to relax after a long day of painting at a homeless … [Continue reading]

Fencing Our Families (and why it doesn’t work)


Lifting the latch on the wobbly gate for what seemed the millionth time, my children gathered around to give advice as I tried to remember whether the trick to opening it was to push or pull. My eyebrows knit as I attempted to slide the lever forward … [Continue reading]

{Broken} Trust

download (51)

The pressing in on your lungs when fear has taken over and all you can imagine is the worst. This was me for years. And it was tearing me apart inside. My wedding day was 26 years ago, and little did I know that I was bringing one of the worst … [Continue reading]

Cultivating Family Culture


I slice the earth with the blade of the shovel, digging carefully around the roots of the peony bush. For two years, the bush had not thrived. It had not bloomed well and had gotten powdery mildew on the leaves. It did not get enough sun in its … [Continue reading]

Making the Most of Family Times This Summer

Making the Most of Family Times This Summer

I just came back from a family reunion. I like that sort of thing because you can generally find a few family members who really want to connect. The thing that concerns me is that you can walk away from those weekends feeling like you did not really … [Continue reading]

5 Struggles Men Face and What a Wife Can Do about it

5 Struggles Men face and what a WIFE can do about it

Two days ago we celebrated Father’s Day. While many ate cake and laughed around the table, others wept for fathers lost or never known. Some ached with disappointment and others were bitter with contempt. But whether the day was happy or … [Continue reading]

The Secret Power of Mom and Dad Dates

download (50)

Last week I had one of those days. You know the kind. It was the sort of afternoon where you think you are going to glide through just fine until dinner time and end up hidden away in the bathroom with a bar of dark chocolate with sea salt for … [Continue reading]