10 Reasons to Be Happy With Yourself Before You Marry

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10 Reasons to Be Happy With Yourself Before You Marry

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

“Love can come when you’re already who you are when you’re filled with you. Not when you look to someone else to fill the empty space.” – Deb Caletti

It’s exciting to dream of the future, especially when you’re dreaming of finding the right person, dating, falling in love, getting married, and living happily ever after. But we often find ourselves wanting to rush the process and get straight to the marriage part. And even though marriage is amazing, it is best experienced when two well-rounded individuals–who know themselves well and are happy with who they are–choose to share their lives together. They get to plan for one of the best days they will have simultaneously, it’s a lot of work to get done but it’s worth it to have a day they can remember forever and look back on with fondness and love. Getting the right photographer for events like this is very important, you want to show off your pictures with pride, you may check out photographers like www.olgatopchii.com to see if they fit in with the vision of your wedding.

Today, we’re sharing 10 reasons why we think it’s important to be comfortable in your own skin before you get married.


It’s important to know yourself well before you get married. If you’re not in touch with who you are at the core, you could easily make misinformed or misguided decisions about the people you choose to date…or even the person you marry. While you’re single, care for yourself by getting well-acquainted with you: who you are at the core, what you need, where your interests lie, and what you want.


Believing that you are a whole person all on your own is an incredibly important part of becoming a healthy individual. It’s also critical to getting into a healthy relationship and building a thriving marriage. Not feeling like a complete person can lead you right into the arms of someone who is no good for you, so actively strive to view yourself as a complete person with a full, happy life ahead of you–whether or not you ever marry.


Whether you’re single or dating, take the time to dig deep and make a list of the qualities you want and need in your future spouse. Then, make another list of deal-breakers, and stick to those lists. That way, when the wrong person tries to sweep you off your feet, you’ll have a strong point of reference to fall back on. And when you do meet the right person, you’ll know.


Being happy with yourself will alleviate the desperation so many men and women have to simply feel loved, wanted, and needed by somebody else. Abusive individuals know how to target people who crave those kinds of attention. When you’re happy regardless of your dating status, you’re less likely to look like prey to abusers. You’ll also be better equipped to exit a dating relationship that’s going bad.


When you’re happy with who you are, you’re not as likely to rush into anything. You will have, ideally, built a life for yourself that you love, and you won’t be eager to upend that for just any relationship. Patience comes with knowing what you want, and being unwilling to settle for anything less.


If you’re not depending on another person to make you happy or fulfill your heart’s desires, you’ll set out on your own to achieve them. You won’t wait on someone else to take adventures with you; instead, you’ll be comfortable setting out on your own, ready to seize each opportunity that comes your way. You don’t have to get someone else’s approval or willingness to join in; you’ve already got everything you need to go it alone.


When you’re happy with yourself, you practice self-care, and that includes setting up healthy boundaries in your life. Being able to do this before you start a relationship with someone else will set you up for success later. You’ll be able to navigate dating relationships in a healthier way, and when you do get married, you will already have practice exercising the boundaries you’ll need when you become part of your spouse’s family (and vice versa).


While you’re waiting for the right person, it’s important to use the time you do have as an independent person to explore the life paths and goals that interest you. Whether you want to travel the world, explore a variety of interests, start a business, or change careers, being single is a great time to dive deep. And the right person for you will be a person who is not only on board with your dreams and pursuits, but also supports and encourages them.


Forget just feeling independent and happy as an unmarried person; when you do date and get married, you’ll understand your spouse’s need to maintain a strong sense of self and keep pursuing their own interests and dreams. When you give yourself that kind of grace, you’re more likely to extend it to others. And you’ll both be happier when you have the ability to build and share an amazing life, but also stay in touch with who you each are at the core.


We rarely meet couples who say they wish they’d gotten married sooner, and we think this can easily apply to people who remained unmarried for longer, too. When you’re happy with who you are, you won’t spend that solo time feeling miserable; instead, you’ll fill it to the brim with the things you enjoy and the people you love. And when you do meet the right person, that person can become a part of the beautiful life you’ve created for yourself.

If you would like help with being happy with yourself before you marry, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health

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A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health

By Nicholas Bakalar

A happy spouse may be good for your health.

Previous studies have found that mental well-being — feeling happy and satisfied — is closely linked to good physical health.

But a new study, published in Health Psychology, suggests that physical health may also be linked to the happiness of one’s husband or wife.

For the full article, go to the New York Times post.

If you would like help in being a happy couple or a happy individual, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Miserable Happiness Seekers

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miserable happy people

The pursuit of happiness is one of the most dangerous value systems a person can hold.

There is nothing wrong with being happy, in and of itself, of course. But when our own personal happiness becomes the controlling value in our lives it becomes deadly. Placing personal happiness above all else ultimately destroys others and destroys the one trying to attain it.

Dr. Henry Cloud puts it well when he explains why people who make happiness their greatest value are the most miserable:

The reason is that happiness is a result. It is sometimes the result of having good things happen. But usually it is the result of our being in a good place inside ourselves and our having done the character work we need to do so that we are content and joyful in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Happiness is a fruit of a lot of hard work in relationships, career, spiritual growth, or a host of other arenas in life…


If happiness is our guide and it goes away momentarily, we will assume that something is wrong. The truth (and this is why happiness is such a horrible value) that when we are not happy, something good may be happening. You may have been brought to that moment of crisis because of a need for growth, and that crisis may be the solution to much of what is wrong with your life. If you could grasp whatever it is that this situation is asking you to learn, it could change your entire life…


Many things are better to worry about than happiness. And these things are the things that ultimately will produce happiness (Boundaries in Marriage, pp 110-111).

Let us stop making the fruit of happiness our ultimate value. Let us grow in maturity beyond that of the little child who only focuses on the moment – as though happiness now is all that matters – knowing that such a life is self-centered and ultimately self-destructive (let alone destructive to others).  Let us do the sometimes hard heart work now (even if it doesn’t feel good in the short term) that will ultimately bear the lasting fruit of happiness.

Make your personal happiness your greatest value and lasting happiness will surely elude you. Focus on the internal heart root issues within yourself and the fruit of happiness will find you.

A Secret Shared By Happy People

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“Happy people do not compare themselves to others.”

-Dr. Henry Cloud

Happy people


To learn more: Listen to the interview of Dr. Cloud called Finding the Path to True Happiness.

6 Ways to Make Your Marriage Happy

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6 Ways to Make Your Marriage Happy

By Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott

Our closest friends flanked the concrete steps of our church as we made our way to the waiting car adorned with the obligatory “Just Married” sign. We couldn’t have been happier. After seven years of dating – through most of high school and all of college – we were a married couple. Finally. We had a beautiful wedding, the venue was great and we love our wedding rings which we got here.

After a romantic honeymoon on the Oregon coast, we moved to Los Angeles for graduate school. A tiny apartment, little more than a single room, became our new home. We’d spend our weekdays in classes and study until bedtime. No television. Barely any furniture. We watched every penny. We’d occasionally splurge on a couple of burritos at the corner taco stand. Life wasn’t exactly easy. But all that didn’t matter. We were in love. And we were happy – until we weren’t.

Little did we know that shortly into our so-called happy marriage, we’d be in couples counseling trying to, well, be happy. After all, wasn’t marriage supposed to do that for us? And if marriage wasn’t making us happy, was there something wrong with us? Had we made a huge mistake?

Truth be told, happiness is in short supply for too many couples. And the reason, we suspect, is that they don’t work at it – or more likely, they don’t know how to work at it. Happiness, after all, is not something that happens; it’s something you make.

Isn’t marriage supposed to make us happy?

Old CoupleOnce we find our perfect partner, we’ll have a lock on happiness, right? That’s what we thought. And with good reason: The notion has some truth. Marriage does make us happy. The problem is that marriage will not make us as intensely happy – or for as long – as we believe it should. Studies reveal that the happiness boost from marriage lasts an average of only two years.

Unfortunately, when those two years are past and fulfilling our goal to find the ideal partner hasn’t made us as happy as we expected, we often feel there must be something wrong with us or we must be the only ones who feel this way. But we’re not. It’s the common course of love. And if left unattended, if we’re not deliberately “making happy” together, our relationship suffers.

So what’s a couple to do? How do you make happy together? The answer is found in understanding just what happiness is.

What is happiness?

Happiness comes in two forms. Both result in feelings of satisfaction, but each has a different shelf life:

“Feel-good happiness” is the momentary sensation of pleasure. For example, when we joke around or have sex, we experience feel-good happiness. But here’s the catch: We know from research that feel-good happiness is ruled by the law of diminishing returns. This type of happiness can lose its punch, and it rarely lasts longer than a few hours at a time.

“Values-based happiness” is a deeper sense that our lives have meaning and fulfill a larger purpose than just pleasure. It represents a spiritual source of satisfaction. And here’s some good news: It’s not ruled by the law of diminishing returns. This means there’s no limit to how meaningful and happy our lives can be. Some like to call values-based happiness joy because it’s deep and more abiding. That’s fine with us. Whatever you call it, it’s found in our values.

For the uninformed, happiness becomes less about a well-lived life and more about experiencing the well-felt moment. That’s a dead end. True happiness requires meaning and values to accompany our feelings.

Must we be unhappy?

Our circumstances account for only about 10 percent of our happiness. In other words, being relatively healthy and having a job that pays enough money to meet our needs are circumstances that contribute to our overall happiness, but keep in mind this is only 10 percent.

A more significant factor is our “happiness set point.” It has to do with our genes. Researchers have found that 50 percent of our happiness is determined by our biology. Turns out that some brains are happier than others. We sometimes call it temperament. And we’re more or less stuck with it.

If our happiness set point is on the low end, making us less happy than others, are we doomed to stay that way? Hardly. The remaining 40 percent of our happiness is within our control.

Thankfully, lasting happiness does not lie mainly in increasing our set point or improving our circumstances. A significant portion of our happiness comes down to the choices we make.

How can we boost our happiness?

We’ve combed through all the scientific studies we could find on happiness to identify the best of what works to make and maintain happiness in marriage. And we’ve settled on a half dozen happiness boosters that are sure to move the needle in your relationship. These are the six dials we know couples can turn to get the best results:

Count your blessings. Nothing can increase happiness more quickly in a relationship than shared gratitude. Taking the time to conscientiously count your blessings together once a week significantly increases your overall satisfaction with life.

Try new things. Falling into a routine, or even a rut, is easy. But that is a killer to happiness, so you’ve got to shake it up. If you’re itching to “buy” some happiness, spend your hard-earned cash on experiences. Go out for a nice meal. Go to the theater or bungee jump. Buy an adventure rather than an object.

Dream a dream. The moment a couple quits looking to the future together is the moment they become vulnerable to dissatisfaction. So picture the life and love you see for yourselves, and talk to each other about what you see.

Celebrate each other. We all applaud the big things, but it’s the little and unexpected celebrations that can make or break a couple’s happiness. For example, listening to a favorite song activates parts of the brain that trigger happiness, releasing endorphins similar to the ways that sex and food do. A mini celebration ensues. Why not put a little playlist together for just the two of you? Or, if big gestures are more your thing, you could always renew your vows in a ceremony witnessed by your family and friends. Go all out with all of the bells and whistles – hire wedding photographers Indianapolis, caterers, florists, a DJ, the whole shebang! Treat it as a celebration of your love for each other.

Attune your spirits. The soul of every husband and wife hungers for deeper connection and a greater sense of shared meaning, and when it’s found, happiness abounds. According to sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox of the University of Virginia, married couples who attend church together tend to be happier than couples who rarely or never attend services.

Add value to others. When a husband and wife do good beyond their marriage, happiness envelops their relationship like never before. Together, make a list of at least 50 actions you can take to demonstrate kindness beyond your relationship.

Does God want us to pursue happiness?

We understand the sentiment that “making happy” is a selfish pursuit. After all, some silly and downright selfish things are done in the name of pursuing happiness. Many a marriage counselor will attest to hearing something along these lines: “I’m not happy in this marriage; God wants me to be happy; therefore I want out of this marriage.”This self-centered perspective is mistaking hedonism for happiness. They are pursuing pleasure at the cost of meaning. Don’t fall for this lie. You’ll find more happiness in giving yourself away than in any self-centered pleasure.

Our longtime friend Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage and many other books, is well-known for asking the question: “What if God designed marriage to make us holy instead of happy?” How could it be otherwise? The pursuit of holiness can’t help but bring an abiding happiness and joy. Why? Because holiness, being devoted to God’s ways of being, subsumes meaning and love. And true happiness is never fulfilled without it.

Happy people are more loving people – the very opposite of selfish. True happiness makes us more sociable and self-giving. It improves our ability to resolve conflict. The bottom line: Happiness makes us more loving and lovable.

Even Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). So is valuing happiness selfish? Not if it’s the kind of happiness that balances feelings with values. Healthy happiness, infused with meaning, makes us easy to live with. And that makes for a happy marriage.

Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott are New York Times best-selling authors and the founders of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University. This article is adapted from Making Happy: The art and science of a happy marriage, published by Worthy Publishing, © 2014 Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott.