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Marriage or Happiness?

(Thoughts on a thread of comments from social media in early 2023.)

Joy like breathing

He said, “Committing to joy is like breathing. You don’t have to think about it. Joy is easy. Commitment is hard. Commit to hard things.”

This viewpoint seems incredibly detached from a life lived in reality and truth. It comes across as untried and devoid of any emotional awareness.

After reading this comment, I spent most of the day thinking about the people and activities that have brought me joy and how difficult or illusive maintaining connection or a routine has been.

On a very basic level, nothing makes me as euphoric as a long bike ride with amazing scenery and long breaks to take it all in. Yet I haven’t been on my bike in nearly two years.

I call a nice hot sauna the joy of my life. Yet I’ve only been able to enjoy three sauna visits in the last five years.

These two relatively simple things are easily within my power, resources and ability to enjoy daily or at least as often as the thought crosses my mind, yet it’s been years since I’ve committed to making them part of my regular self-care routine. Why? Because commitment requires time. Commitment requires focus. It requires attention and intention. There is always something more urgent or important to do with my limited time and energy than cater to myself. Or so I keep telling myself.

I responded to a comment on a thread about a woman choosing to love herself over remaining in an unhappy marriage. Many of the commenters called the woman selfish. Nearly all of them scoffed at her happiness. Quite a few seemed to scream: Marriage is duty! Not happiness!

Quite frankly, I’m flabbergasted.

While it’s true I don’t know anyone who is happily married, I have always thought that carefully choosing a compatible partner could lead to a happy union. With this in mind, I commented, “Commitment should be rooted in things that bring joy. If you’re committing to a painful, distressing situation, that’s your prerogative, [but not] the purpose of marriage.”

Comments from the from the original Facebook post

Unknown: Marriage is not about self love. Marriage is a duty. It’s commitment. This is more that just about how you feel after reading, self-help books and doing yoga. Marriage requires obedience to your vowels [sic].

Found self love and destroyed her family.

Sorry I have to disagree, marriage is work and is a covenant and to simple say it’s about me and my happiness shows me she didn’t seek God first.

Unpopular opinion: Screaw [sic] your happiness when it breaks up your family. I didn’t’ hear anything about her husband cheating, beating, or talking down to her. It was all “my happiness” “self love” me” and “I”. this is a very selfish outlook. It’s an outlook that’s going to cause a lot of woman to grow old and die alone. Marriage is not about your happiness it’s about commitment. This annoying.

Bullshit. You decided to commit to someone and bring in life… then decide you needed to be happy? I hope she realizes how ridiculous she sounds.


thejuicypeach: those comments aren’t wrong through. Marriage is all those selfless things…. Which is why I’ll NEVER do it again. You’re literally supposed to put your commitment above everything including your happiness. Damn that.

HarvestPhoto [me]: Commitment should be rooted in things that bring joy. If you’re committing to a painful, distressing situation, that’s your prerogative, that [but not] the purpose of marriage.

thejuicypeach: The issue lies in the fact that you can only choose what YOU’RE rooted in. You can still fall victim to your partner choosing something or someone else. Then you’re stuck bc of some stupid vow you took. No thank you.

Harvest Photo: How are you stuck? Every day consists of choices. Choose different. Especially if your spouse isn’t choosing you or your relationship.

NothingToSeeHere2023: By definition, you don’t need commitment if the only thing you are committed to is your own happiness.

[….]You don’t need commitment if what you are committed to 1st and 2nd is your own happiness. Vows are made for difficult circumstance, not shit that’s already easy to do. Committing with the caveat of happiness being paramount at all time would be like me vowing to breathe.

HarvestPhoto: Read for understanding. You’re inserting a lot of things that weren’t said or implied. Joy is not easy to maintain, yet it can be a natural occurrence. If you want to commit to a difficult thing that bring you no joy, by all means do so., it’s your prerogative (as originally stated).   

A Woman is a full human

What remains shocking about these comments is the idea that a woman’s joy or happiness in her marriage is a selfish nonstarter. How dare a woman seek to not be at war with her humanity and her choices? The fact that so many women commented with deep vitriolic disgust tells me that many are as deeply unhappy with their choices and partners than they want to admit. So unhappy, in fact, that they insist that those seeking to self-correct their course, forget about their own self-care and continue to suffer in silence for the sake of the “union” and children.

What union is there in discord? If two people are not content with one another, there is no way they can live in harmony. If there’s no harmony, how can they live as one? Do people still believe children don’t sense discord? Do they believe children aren’t affected by their parents’ unhappiness?

The discord in my family

My parents never divorced but my dad was out of the house for the last eight years of my mother’s life (my pre-teen/teen years). He was abusive and I did not want a relationship with him. More importantly to me, I wanted my mother to have a man who was worthy of her goodness. I was her divorce advocate and her cheerleader when she expressed interest in suitors. My mother has been gone for nearly thirty years. I usually write a poem or journal to her on her birthday. This year’s piece wistfully wondered if she had ever found joy in life.

If you are unhappy, don’t allow your legacy to be overshadowed by your child’s sadness for your unlived life. No parent wants their child to be unhappy. Yet most fail to show happiness to their children.

Self-care is a beautiful practice that infiltrates the hearts and minds of children and improves their outlook and expectations.

One action changed my worldview

After years of witnessing my mom and an aunt get beat by their husbands; and of me being a victim of sexual violence by these same men, it took only one instance of witnessing another aunt call the police on her husband the first and only time he put his hands on her. She was in the wrong that day. She was yelling at him about something. She followed him from room to room twice over in the apartment. He kept saying OK, OK. He didn’t want to argue. Finally, he grabbed her by the shoulders, perhaps he shook her, and he said, “OK! Leave me alone!” That’s it. She called the police. They came. He was taken away, not charged, but he slept someplace else that night.

I was fourteen. That was the first time I saw a woman fully protect herself. No matter my opinion on the circumstances, my aunt became a superstar in my eyes. Their marriage didn’t last long. Because discord and she had no respect for him. Yet his gentleness and earnestness showed through in everything he did. Of all the uncles I have, he is the only one I called uncle.

This aunt is indeed very selfish. She thrives on conflict. And she pursues her pleasures above everything and everybody. She’s on her fifth marriage. She loves carnal love and wants nothing more than to be adored, but she’s not a good partner or supporter. Everyone she has ever loved has been scorched in some way, me included. However, she is the most wonderful counterbalance to staying in a situation for the sake of someone else. Or staying for the idea of duty and marriage. I needed to see her in action. I needed to understand that the options in front of me are never everything I have access to.

In me, both sides of my family see this aunt and my mom. My mom was the caring strength of the family. She was the nurturer, the feeder, the gentle lover, and forgiver of everybody and everything. My aunt’s focus is solely to enjoy life on her terms. Now that she’s in her later years, she may be hurt that her children and exes have grown and moved outside of her will, but that doesn’t stop her from looking for her next great adventure.

It may seem incongruous to have such disparate women as my life models. I admit it took years for me to accept their warring personalities within me. Fortunately, over time, I settled into my personalities as I learned more about my needs, wants, and goals. I’m okay with the way I share my gentler side and the way I erect and maintain my boundaries. I’m fine working to exhaustion then resting and pampering myself beyond any period of time folks deem reasonable.

We are so much more than what others would limit us to.

My aunt is content with who she is and has shared no regrets with me.

Even though I wonder if my mother experienced joy in her short hard life, she was clear about her priorities and what she wanted. She was intentional about doing what she had to do to get to her next level. And she knew I was rooting for her to enjoy all that she could.

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My divorce was not a battle.

A message from Lana Michele Moorer aka MC Lyte on her Instagram account.  

My divorce what not a battle. My ex-husband, John Wyche, has never attempted to take any assets from me at any time before, during or after our marriage. Anything that is written or said that states or implies otherwise is untrue and unfair. I do not agree with or support anything that aims to secure clicks and views by crafting slanted messaging at the expense of the reputation of innocent parties.  

While I made public comments related to the delay in signing papers, I can state that any delay may have been connected to his desire to save the relationship; never to take any of my property.  

Since this matter appears to be of concern to so many, I will use this moment to share a few lessons:  

  • Divorce does not equal failure. We did not fail; it simply did not work. I pray for his wellbeing as I do my own and I wish him nothing but God’s choosiest blessings. 
  • If you have anything to protect going into a marriage, get a prenuptial agreement so there’s no confusion if it comes to an end. As a matter of fact, make sure you protect all of your assets with proper insurance, financial and estate planning. Our people are far behind the wealth gap; get a financial education and do what is in your power to protect what God has blessed you with. 
  • Focus on love and truth. Be careful what you say or imply about others. No one is perfect and we all have something that we need grace to cover. With all of the mental health crises we are facing as a human race, my prayer is that we will see more commonalities of heart among each other and less judgement.  


I love this post. Over the years, I’ve often said the end of relationships deserve as much care and consideration as the beginning. Begin as you intend to continue and end as if you care. Be blessed.

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Video: “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person”

by Alain de Botton

This is such a phenomenal human teaching.

Phrases I had to pause the video for (i.e., my notes):

  • Love is a skill, not an instinct. It needs time be learned. We’re taught to follow our feelings, which usually lead us astray.
    • Vulnerability is key.
  • We don’t know how to love.
    • To love someone is to apply charity of interpretation.
    • We start off with idealization and end up with denigration.
    • Love is not just admiration for strength, it’s tolerance for weakness and recognition of ambivalence.
  • We’re seeking partners that feel familiar.
    • We are not on a quest to be happy; we are on a quest to suffer in ways that feel familiar.
  • If you do not explain, you will never be understood.
  • Good enough.
    • None of us are perfect, but we demand perfection. The demand for perfection will lead us to loneliness.
    • You cannot have perfection and company. To spend time in company with another person is to be negotiating imperfections every day.
  • We are all incompatible, but it is the work of love to make us graciously accommodating to each other and our own incompatibilities. Therefore, compatibility is an achievement of love.
  • We aren’t able to change our type, but we can change how we respond to our type.
  • Compromise is noble.

Either/or, Part I free download: Either – Or (volume One) : Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Either/or, Part II free download: Either/or : Kiekegaard Soren : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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Video MR3.4: Partnership of Different Strengths

This portion of the discussion explores the concept of partnership of different strengths. Is the last part of our #Zoom discussion on Adam/Adamah and Chavah/Eve in Part 3 of Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles. All told, we were on the line for about four hours and touched on many topics and themes. It’s been quite the learning exercise editing long videos down to shorter conversational pieces.

Partnership of Different Strengths

The next discussion on Elizabeth/Zechariah and Mary/Joseph (MR Part 5) is tentatively planned for Saturday, December 19, 9:00am Mountain Time. I’m aiming to keep it under 1.5 hrs. 😉 Email for link details.


Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3
Video Part 3.4: Partnership with Different Strengths
Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

  • God – The Ultimate Everything
  • What idea are you choosing above your relationship with God?
  • How important is being equally yoked with your partner?
  • Church Hurts: Looking for a compatible congregation
  • Nomads in transition
  • If you generalize, you will generally be in trouble.

Dorina’s questions

  • Can Believers in Jesus marry non-believers?
  • Is a solitary faith journey okay?

Reference verses:

Related posts:

Related book:

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Video MR3.2: Oneness in Humanity & Community in Creation

Video Part 3.2: Oneness of Humanity + Community in Creation

Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles

Bible Study Series Part 3: Adam/Adamah + Chavah/EveMan + WomanHuman + Spirit

  • A rib, a half or a whole? – Who came first or what were we first?
  • Human first – merging of body and spirit. Gender second.
  • Are you an adam? Do you avoid taking accountability.

Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

We meet bi-weekly. Join the conversation! Subscribe to Harvest-Life-org


#bible #biblestudy #discussion #learningwithfriends #adamandeve #manwoman #humanspirit #humanity #spirituality #genesis #harvestlife #harvestlifer #harvestlifeorg

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Video MR2.0: Marriage & Relationship Series Intro

This first video for the Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles series is an introduction of me (LaShawnda), my company and the study series. I also begin to explore the importance of naming. Each meeting is focused on one or two Biblical couples. We explore the main theme, elements, issues and lessons of their marriage and dominant relationships. For the longer discussions, the videos will be cut up into parts. Video Part 2.1 is a larger discussion of Abraham/Sarah and Hosea/Gomer. The proposed discussion questions for these couples are posted in Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 2 .


Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles Bible Study Series Part 2:

  • Topic: Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah + Hosea and Gomer
  • Text: Genesis 12-13, 15-18, 20-22: Abram/Abraham and Sarai/Sarah
  • Text: Book of Hosea: Hosea and Gomer

Video Part 2.0

  • Series Intro
  • Importance of Naming

We meet bi-weekly. Join the conversation! Subscribe to Harvest-Life-org. Feel free to post comments and questions below.

#bible #biblestudy #discussion #learningwithfriends #adamandeve #manwoman #humanspirit #humanity #spirituality #genesis #harvestlife #harvestlifer #harvestlifeorg

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Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3

Join me Tuesday, November 17, 2020 for Part 3 of the Marriage & Relationships: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles virtual study. We will explore the marriage of Adam/Adamah & Chavah/Eve and the relationship between Man/Woman and Human/Spirit.

Text: Genesis 1-5, Revelation 22

Discussion questions will be posted in advance of the Zoom call. Feel free to add any questions you may want to discuss to this post or the Discussion Question post.

Zoom Meeting Details

Topic: Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 3
Time: Nov 17, 2020 07:30-9:30 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)
Scheduled for this time every 2 weeks on Tue, until Feb 23, 2021, 8 occurrence(s)

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system. Bi-Weekly:

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 728 5074 4065
Passcode: Lqv4AZ

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Discussion Questions: Marriage & Relationship, Part 2

Naming and Storytelling

Of the four stories we’re reviewing (Pt 1: Jacob/Leah/Rachel, Naomi/Ruth/Boaz; Pt 2: Abram/Sarai, Hosea/Gomer):

  • Which two names and meanings resonate with you and why?
  • What does your name mean?
  • What is the root or history of your name?
  • How does your name relate to your overall story?
  • What does your name tell you about yourself?
  • What drives you?

Relationships Tell a Story

What are the primary and secondary relationships in the four stories and how do they impact or drive the story?

What principle [a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief] stands out to you from the stories we’ve read? Do you see this principle exhibited in relationships you have a view of?

Is polygamy a violation of the principle of oneness (Genesis 2:24-25)?

  • Does surrogacy (as done in the Bible) violate the union between husband and wife?
  • If man and woman are to join together in marriage, what issues do you see with adultery and surrogate mothers (ex. Hagar, Bilhah and Zilpah)?
  • How do these issues seep into the larger family and community?
  • How do they impact what becomes culture and tradition?

Here are some resources I’ve been digging into.

The Bible Project creates excellent topic and book video summaries (all under 10 minutes).

Name research


The next Zoom discussion will be November 3, 2020, 7:00am MST/9:00am CT/10:00 ET/4:00pm GMT

Email for Zoom connection link.

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Virtual Bible Study: Marriage & Relationship

This is a follow-up to You’re Invited: Virtual Bible Study. The first discussion has been scheduled. Yay! It will be a recorded Zoom call on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 9:00am Central Time. The topic is Marriage & Relationship: Modern Concepts vs. Biblical Principles.

  • Text: Book of Ruth: Naomi, Ruth and Boaz
  • Text: Genesis 29-31: Jacob, Rachel and Leah

Zoom details:

Please note the call will be recorded and shared.
Time: Oct 20, 2020 09:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Meeting ID: 725 8156 0853
Passcode: CSV2T2

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Sermon: Why Marriage? by Nik Godshall

Nik Godshall’s sermon titled, “Why Marriage?” is an excellent message about the beauty of maintaining sexual purity for marriage and continuing with faithfulness in the relationship. I love that as a young pastor, Nik confronts the entertainment, media and societal lies promoting sexual promiscuity. He shares how he himself struggled with what he was seeing in the world vs how he wanted to use his body.

Listen here and share.

Be blessed.