What If Your Mom Wasn’t Happy?

When it comes to having a happy example of marriage, I must say I got lucky.

That’s partly because my mom probably came out of the womb laughing. Whenever any of my childhood friends met her, they would always ask, “Is your mom always this happy?”
I would knowingly nod and say, “Yes, believe it or not, she is.”

But what if you grew up with a mom who was not-so-happy? Maybe she was angry a lot, frustrated or sad. Maybe your parents divorced. Now that you’re married, you can’t really lean on your mom’s example for guidance. You want to write a different storyline for your family.

I have good news for you. God loves rewrites.

My friend Sharon Jaynes, author of Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe, grew up in a home with a dad who drank heavily and a mom who was angry and bitter. Years later, Sharon’s parents came to know Jesus and their lives were forever changed for the better. But Sharon was already grown. It was too late to experience a childhood with a happy mom.

Sharon shares this good advice:

When I went in to the marriage years, I did not have a role model in my mother to know what a happy wife should be like because she was certainly not a happy camper. I made a determination that when I got married I was going to do everything within my power to have a good marriage and be a happy wife. But the problem I learned very quickly was that it was not in my own power to do that. I knew the only way I could be a happy wife and we could have a good happy marriage was to have our marriage centered on Jesus Christ. And that’s when we did from the very beginning. God taught me through His Word. We made sure that we had relationships with mature Christian couples and we learned from them. If we had a question or problem, we would go to them.

Do you have role models of happy wives at your church, in your friendships, or in your extended family? Here’s something you can do this week: Invite a happy wife out for coffee. Put it on the calendar. It doesn’t have to be a cappuccino with whipped cream. It can be coffee for a buck. The important thing that will happen won’t be the infusion of caffeine. It will be the wisdom you’ll receive from a wife who’s learned how to be happy.

Proverbs 14:1 says,

The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” The earlier you can commit to bringing joy into your marriage, the stronger your home will be. If you don’t know how to live out the happy in “happily ever after,” reach out to someone who does. Ask her questions. Watch her respond to problems. Pray with her.

You’ll find that happiness isn’t something elusive available just for those who grew up in two-parent homes with white picket fences. Happiness can be learned and magnified in your marriage – right within the walls of your own home.

How have you learned how to be a happier wife from the example of others?


Arlene Pellicane is a speaker and author of Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World (co-authored with Gary Chapman), 31 Days to a Happy Husband, and 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Wife. She has been featured on the Today Show, Fox & Friends, Family Life Today, Focus on the Family, K-LOVE, The Better Show, The 700 Club, Turning Point with Dr. David Jeremiah, and TLC’s Home Made Simple. Arlene earned her BA from Biola University and her Masters in Journalism from Regent University. She lives in San Diego with her husband James and three children. Visit Arlene at www.ArlenePellicane.com for free family resources including a monthly Happy Home podcast.

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