Does God want you to be happy?

Several years ago I had a painful conversation with a good friend. She was unhappy in her marriage and was considering divorce. She was a Christian, a mother of an adorable toddler, and a leader in the youth group where I also volunteered. I begged her to stay in her marriage. I used every Scripture verse I could think of to point out that God’s plan for her didn’t include divorce.

Her response? “I believe that God wants me to be happy, and I am just not happy in my marriage.”

Soon after that conversation she left her husband. She is no longer involved in the church where we used to minister to teenagers side-by-side. I can’t say if she is happier now or not, but I do know that her decision came at a tremendous cost.

I’ve heard the argument “God wants me to be happy” made often through the years. I’ve heard Christians defend all kinds of decisions based on the belief that God wants them to be happy. But the truth is I’m not sure that He does.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t think that God delights in our misery. But I’m not sure that there’s any biblical evidence to back up the claim that He wants us to be happy. In fact the Bible seems to teach that He is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness.

I’ll dig into this further in tomorrow’s post, but in the meantime, I’d like to start a conversation about happiness and holiness. What is the difference between being happy and being holy? Does God desire for us to be happy? At what cost? What verses can you find to back up your point of view?

I can’t wait to hear your perspective on this. Be sure to hop back on the blog tomorrow as we take a look at what God’s Word says about our happiness.

About Author

Erin Davis

Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

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  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Serve The Lord

    There is no scripture where divorce is allowed in the eyes of God. It is only because if the hardness of your hearts that is was allowed but from the beginning it was not so. God hates divorce just the same as any other sin. God does not bless those that put their spouse away and break covenants. Please read your Bible and follow God’s will and not your own!

    • anonymous

      I suppose God would want a child of His to stay married to an abusive husband and end up in the hospital and or dead from being beaten to death then and the children be abused too, huh?
      You make it sound like God doesn’t care that someone is being treated that way
      That He cares more about the marriage than the abused woman and children. Yes
      Typing error He wants holiness, but He loves and cares about us too. I would think He would rather the woman and children be safe if abusive husband don’t change.

      • I want to assure you, my friend, that God loves women and wants them to be safe. If we know that a woman is in danger, we encourage her to go to the authorities (church or police) to get the help she needs so that she and her children are safe. It could be that she needs to separate from the abusive husband for a time with the goal being that the man get the help he needs. Our highest goal would be the reconciliation/restoration of the marriage.

  • Serve The Lord

    What would happen if Jesus did not do the will of God. He didn’t want to be crucified. Paul didn’t want to go to prison and then beheaded. Put aside your earthly desires and suit to the will if God and the. He will give you your heart’s desires.

  • AnonE.Mouse

    “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing. 10 For the Scriptures say,

    “If you want to enjoy life
    and see many happy days,
    keep your tongue from speaking evil
    and your lips from telling lies.
    11 Turn away from evil and do good.
    Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
    12 The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right,
    and his ears are open to their prayers.
    But the Lord turns his face
    against those who do evil.”

    13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. 15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!

    18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit.” -1 Peter 3:8-18

  • Medda

    I’d like to propose that God, sure as He exists, wants us to be happy (Ps 37:4). He wants our happiness and joy (and peace, and prosperity, and all the fruits of His Spirit) more than we can comprehend (Jeremiah 29:11; Eph 2:7). He wants it so much that He is willing to allow us to go through trials and life-endurance training (2 Peter 1, Hebrews 12, whole chapters). Heck, he even went through the same kind of thing himself (2 Cor 8:9) to give us greater potential for happiness and enjoyment. Think about it: fit people are likelier to have fun at a park than someone who has a few too many extra pounds, a bad knee, asthma, or some other condition. We, in our humanity are focused only on making it to the park, but God goes beyond that. He wants to give us every opportunity to enjoy ourselves once we get there (Ecc. 5:19, Message version is great). Our conditions don’t exclude us from having a good time, but they can surely be distracting. God doesn’t want us to be distracted from our enjoyment of Him or His blessings. Our comprehension is where we can get caught up in confusion and lies about God’s heart toward us. Let me draw on your own example to expound my idea: your friend who divorced her husband. My hunch is that God, truly wants her to be happy; somewhere along the line, she became convinced that divorce would make her happy. I think, if God disagreed with this decision, it was for the very reason that it would cause her (and others) even more unhappiness. Humans resist discomfort (I am extremely human in this way, haha). Discomfort typically makes us unhappy. Nevertheless God brings us through seasons of discomfort, sometimes even huge pain that we hardly think we can bear. But He promises to be our strength in those times (2 Cor 12:9), promises He will never leave nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and even rewards us for trusting Him through the hard experiences (I Peter 5:10). Your friend may have been confronted with the grueling prospect of making her marriage work. The potential could have been beyond her wildest dreams because, not only might she have succeeded; her very capacity for joy, peace, happiness, faith, and more could have been expanded. To put it in Christian-ese lingo, she would have been given new wine skins for all that new wine in her life. Sadly and understandably, she decided it wasn’t worth the cost. Does this mean that God condemns her or withholds future happiness from her? Not at all. He is always preparing new delights for His children and has cast their transgressions as far from His memory as East from West. His grace is just that amazing (Ephesians 2:7)!

  • HonestlySpeaking

    Well since many of us Good single men are still Not married with a Good wife and family, it really gives us a very sad reason to be very Unhappy.

  • TheDarKnight

    GOD is not all that concerned with our happiness friends. GOD want’s obedience above all thing’s, was Jesus always happy (absolutely not). GOD loves us but it’s a perfecting love and he want’s our highest obedience to serve his purposes. Let me put it this way, does doing the right thing make you happy who cares do it anyway. Example do you enjoy paying your taxes do you enjoy driving the speed limit who cares it’s the right thing to do, so do it. Faith comes by trusting GOD even when your not happy about something or you don’t understand why. Trust him friends Jesus is GOD and he died for us so, suffer for your savior friends. It is true GOD want’s fruits of the spirit, but Jesus said where your treasure is where your heart will be also (Luke 12:34). My brothers and sisters I am typing this with love and care friends, I just want you to understand who GOD is. Because no matter what happens GOD is good, just ask Job. GOD never gives us more than we can handle (1 Corinthians10:6-12) Paul is talking about temptation. GOD gives us more than we can handle all the time, why so we will rely and trust him; faith without works is dead (James 2:17). (Gen4:6) but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If
    you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not
    do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but
    you must rule over it.” WHAT IS GOD SAYING TO ALL OF US HERE?

  • Robert Boyd

    I have written a book on the subject, “Does God Want You to be Happy? (A Christian Perspective on Overcoming Obstacles to Joy)” Each chapter of the book draws on real life stories and addresses some of the most difficult problems that we face in life. Each story is followed by a host of Biblical references which illustrate how the Bible offers very specific guidelines for overcoming those “obstacles to joy.” Examples of the issues discussed are; fear, worry, loneliness, loss, grief, guilt, envy, lust, pride, guilt, illness and many others. For more information, reviews, etc. you can find out more on my website:

  • Beware of making God the Father any less good than you are!…”if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE does your heavenly Father know how to give good gifts to those who ask Him.” Father is good and He wants what is ultimately best for each of us. The very best is for us to become like his son (Romans 8:28-29). Does God want us to be “happy”? It depends on how you define happiness. God promises time and again that He wants to give us true peace and joy. Now if you have true peace and joy, would you not be happy? Of course you would! Does that mean you never go through hard times or difficulty? No, it means that you find something within you, or better yet someone within you, that gives you a serenity that supersedes the circumstances around you.

    • Miserable

      If there is no peace or happiness how can you be happy? I mean in your marrage? Im a christian women im not wrapped up in material things i dont need them to make me happy. Ive been with my husband fir 10 yrs married forv8 hes cheated and lued on me and to me the whole 10 yrs! I continue to believe in Gid that something good has to come out of this and i know divorce is not of God so i continue to pray for my husband but im sooo merisable
      with him and i want out! Every time i think things are looking up i find out hes cheating and lying again. im living in a misery trying to do the Christian thing its not that i dont want to please Gid nor am i putting my feeling before the Lord i just wanna some peace and happiness!!! Help

  • eyesopenwide

    Satan wants you to be “happy” and it usually involves a lie that goes against God’s word. Very subtle though and after a period of time you believe the lie. Women sorry, you were the one deceived in the garden. Yes, the dummy Adam followed right along. That’s what I almost did. I almost followed my Eve off the cliff. I tried to be a leader, but I was not fast enough to lead and of course under qualified. My Eve thought she could do it better and took over. Now she is gone looking for that perfect Adam. But, guess what? There is no perfect Adam. The first Adam failed. The second Adam, Jesus is who she really needs and I pray she finds Him.