The Secret to Happiness: Better Relationships

by Apr 25, 2019

The Secret to Happiness: Better Relationships

by Apr 25, 2019

How happy are you right now?

study published a few years ago found that we’re less happy now than we’ve been in a long time. Why is that? Could it be the divisions in our country right now? War, terrorism, and natural disasters in the world? Or could it be something that we ourselves can influence?

Some professors at Harvard have been tracking happiness in America for more than 75 years, and they’ve found biggest factor by far is satisfaction in our relationships. Here’s what one professor said: “People who are more isolated than they want to be from others find that they are less happy, their health declines earlier in midlife, their brain functioning declines sooner and they live shorter lives than people who are not lonely.”

Those who are satisfied in their relationships are happier and healthier. It’s that simple. You want to be happy in life? You need better relationships.

Most of us don’t need a Harvard professor to tell us that. We just instinctively know that. And so we look for things that might help us in our relationships. We’ve never had so many relationship tools as we have right now, but at the same time, we’ve never been so terrible at relationships as we are right now.

Think about it. We’re more connected to people than we’ve ever been before. You know exactly what every one of your friends ate for lunch yesterday: #best-quinoa-salad-ever. You know exactly what they did every minute of their last vacation: #holding-a-koala … #riding-a-kangaroo. We’re more connected to our friends than we’ve ever been, but we’re also more lonely than we’ve ever been. In the 1980’s, about 10 to 20 percent of Americans felt lonely. Now it’s around 45 percent. And that has an impact on your well-being: when you feel lonely, you’re 26 percent more likely to die prematurely.

And even when we’ve found a significant relationship, things are still pretty terrible. We’ve got more books on relationships and marriage than we’ve ever had before, but at the same time, the divorce rate in America still hovers somewhere between 40-50%. Nearly half of all our marriages don’t make it.

So if we want to be happy, and we need to develop better relationships in order to be happy, how’s that going to happen?

We don’t need more marriage books, relationship tools, and communication techniques. We need more grace.

That’s what Paul says in Colossians 3:

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:11-14).

If you put your trust in Jesus, then you’re one of God’s chosen ones. You’re deeply beloved by God. You’ve been made holy by God. And that new status empowers you to put on a compassionate heart, kindness, humility, meekness, and all the rest of the qualities that are so essential to building loving and lasting relationships.

It’s shocking to know how much we’re loved by God, even though there’s not very much that’s lovable about us. We’re considered holy, even though there’s still so much that’s unholy about us.

When we’re appropriately blown away by how much undeserved love we’ve been given (another word for that is grace), then we can give the same kind of love to the undeserving people around us.

Our friendships will grow stronger. Our marriages will grow deeper.  And we’ll be happier. That’s the encouragement we’ll get in our new sermon series starting this Sunday, called Relationships RedeemedJoin us!