The Lie of “Happy Wife, Happy Life”

One of the most popular pieces of marriage advice is the age-old saying, “Happy wife, happy life.” I’m sure the majority of husbands have heard this at one time or another. I heard it at my wedding. I even heard it before my wedding! And I am sure I have even offered the advice to others.

But it’s not entirely true, and it is definitely not good advice.

A marriage involves two people. Two people who have committed to love and serve each other forever. The blessings of marriage are equally available to both husband and wife. Happiness in marriage should not be conditioned only upon the husband serving the wife so that she is happy. A successful marriage consists of both a husband and wife who are selfless and always striving to serve each other. No one keeps score, because it doesn’t matter who does more, as long as each is always trying.

So let’s do away with that old phrase and start sharing better advice with our friends. A friend of mine, a girl in fact, recently suggested the following:

“Happy spouse, happy house.”

It is that easy. No one wants to be the one doing all or the majority of the work around the house. We all know, house chores do not give anyone true joy. Satisfaction perhaps, but it comes with a price. Instead, if we always look out for opportunities to serve our spouse, we bring joy into their lives, and if both husbands and wives do this right, then happiness results from such service, the marriage becomes strengthened, and the word “chore” and the phrase “honey-do-list” become eliminated from our day-to-day lives.


Our homes should be a refuge from the world, full of love. When we come home, there should be no contention or blame about housework. For me, when I see something that needs to be done, I see an opportunity to make my wife happy, and that is all the motivation I need.

A broken home is not worth a fight over dirty dishes.



One thought on “The Lie of “Happy Wife, Happy Life”

  1. I imagine that the advice “Happy wife, happy life,” is based on the assumption that women are naturally nurturing and giving — when a woman feels loved and well cared for by her husband, she in turn will have more energy to give in service of him (I know this from experience). However, thanks to feminism, contemporary women are strongly encouraged to be self-centered, which makes the saying appear far more one-sided than it actually is.

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