For over 50 years Hollywood has been teaching us a myth that if I just find the right person then I'll live happily ever after. You may have walked down the aisle at your wedding fully thinking, "I'm going to live happily ever after!" but you were in for a big surprise! Things just don't turn out that way.
In the wedding the sequence is: aisle, alter, hymn. After the wedding it just becomes "I'll alter him." It may have started off as an ideal, then your marriage becomes an ordeal, then you start looking for a new deal. Or the three rings: the engagement ring, the wedding ring, then the suffering.
But the fact is, even the best of relationships goes through ups and downs. Every relationship has its difficult times. You're not happy all the time in a relationship. So people get sick, we argue, we have misunderstandings, sometimes we're inconsiderate, sometimes things just don't go right. Life is not a constant honeymoon.
Whenever we look for relationships, whether it's in a marriage or a good, close friendship, people say "I just want to be happy." And there's nothing wrong with that. But for the next while we're going to look at something far better than happiness. What you need in your relationships is not happiness; what you need is joy.
And that's a lot different from happiness. Happiness depends upon happenings. It comes from the word "hap" which means "luck, happenstance"; you're just lucky, fortunate, and happy. Happiness is external; joy is internal. Happiness is based on circumstances and when they change you're not happy anymore; joy is based on CHRIST. Happiness is based on chance; joy is based on your choice.
So we are going to look here on the front porch at how joy helps with our relationships.
Just a thought from the front porch…