Because of the loud and prevalent hype that promotes pleasure in our world today, we accidentally sabotage happiness by confusing it with pleasure-seeking.
Pleasure is short-term. It’s a temporary high that focuses on our selfish desires, making it highly addictive. It’s taken, not given. An example of this wanting sex even when our spouse is too tired, or using birth control to have sex even when the wife is in a fertile phase of her cycle, or having sex outside the union and commitment of marriage.
Happiness is long-term. It’s a feeling we work toward, therefore it’s additive. It benefits others and is closely connected to generosity. An example of this is planning a romantic vacation (or honeymoon) while discussing ideas and dreams together, learning what each other’s needs and preferences are, and developing a plan that will make lasting memories, because you enjoy helping your beloved feel happy.
Pleasure and happiness seem like substitutes for each other, like different ways of reaching the same goal. But they’re not. We get pleasure out of a thing or an activity; we build happiness. Pleasure-seeking short-cuts happiness-building. Thus, it sabotages the joy we’re really seeking.
Happiness requires more patience, more planning and more examining of what needs to be healed or changed. The fastest route to happiness is found by seeking Christ’s help for discerning where our unhappiness comes from, for repenting of the times we’ve insisted on having our own way, and for being good to our beloved even when we don’t feel like it.
- What is a recent example of your own pleasure-seeking?
- How can you turn that into happiness-building?
Strengthen your relationship:
Describe to each other a recent time when you felt truly happy in your relationship. What did the other one do that helped build that happiness? What would you like to do next to continue the growth of it? Pray together for Christ’s help in further developing this source of happiness.
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© 2017 by Terry Modica of Good News Ministries
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