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August 15, 2008


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I guess it depends on your perspective. Yes having healthy family ties and a job you enjoy are part of what leads to being happy. 7 years ago, I would have agreed entirely with them. That was before I was a Christian. I now would add that my true happiness comes from without, not within.

For me, no matter what happens to my job, no matter what happens to my family relationships I know the joy that awaits me when I leave this life. I know that the personal relationship I have with the very One who created this world is unshakable. That gives me a joy I can enjoy even if I am temporarily sad about some situation with Job, Family, etc in life.

So I would say faith adds an element to being happy in this life; a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the only way to be happy after this life.

Couldn't have said it better, Mike... :-)

Amen bother! well put.


I agree with Mike - living for a higher (and correct) purpose is the key. I would also add that being a giver rather than a taker leads to happiness.

I don't believe you have to be married to be happy. But a bad marriage can make you very unhappy.

There are a bunch of smart people leaving comments today. I have a couple of things to add, though. Faith is huge. Giving is huge. Work? I'm satisfied with work that a)has a bright future and b)has a pleasant environment. I could stuff envelopes all day if I had a potential for more money (i.e. enough provide for my life goals) and nice coworkers and management. Marriage is huge, but on top of that, I'd say great relationships in general. Friends, family, etc. can add so much to your life.

Let's just say for a moment that you don't have a personal relationship with God, which a lot of people don't. Then yes, Gallo is pretty correct. You need a purpose in life and someone to enjoy it with. These two things will get you to at least the "Esteem" level of Maslov's heirarchy of needs. It doesn't necessarily have to be a spouse, but humans do need close relationships.

I've heard it said that it's your spouse, your job, and where you live that most directly affect your happiness in life. I think if any of those things is intolerable, then that's true. But I also agree that you can be happy without being married, and you can probably be happy even if you only feel neutrally about your job (rather than loving it). I think location is very important -- after all, it determines the kind of people you're surrounded by and the kind of opportunities that you're presented with.

Getting married and staying married (i.e. avoiding divorce) is great for contentment and also a good financial planning strategy. Divorce is almost always a balance sheet and cash flow killer.

Work that you enjoy doing and a happy marriage are both seasonal. As time passes, seasons CHANGE. If those are the two ingredients for happy living, then we all face an unhappy outcome.

For instance, will not death and old age cause both to cease, diminish or be taken away? That's why I rely on faith as a key to happiness. Death and old age will only cause my faith to increase...

Interesting article, and I agree completely. I was looking forward to reading the commentary to see what others had to say, but was disappointed to see the entire statement of the article trumped by adoration for God.

How about those of us who don't believe in God? We don't get a shot at happiness? Too bad for us...

Any why would enjoying work and having a good marriage be seasonal? I completely disagree with the (paraphrased) statement that we're all bound for an unhappy life if we leave God out of our list of 'happy ingredients.' Of course I agree that over the course of a lifetime, things change, but to describe it as seasonal is like saying our only real shot at happiness is to latch on to God and hope for a really great afterlife because everything else that we derive happiness from in life is so volatile...seems both shortsighted and naive, and quite frankly - lazy. Old age and death? It's reality...embrace it and enjoy the time you have - by finding a job you enjoy, and work towards and cherish a happy marriage!

Good comment, Petey!

I don't have empirical evidence to prove it, but I think that people who believe in god/the afterlife are always going to be happier than those who don't. That doesn't mean such a belief is good though. If I could convince myself that after I die I'm going to have a house made out of candy on chocolate lakeside property, I might be happier too.

You might be happier, but earnest introspective examination of oneself is ultimately more virtuous than wishful thinking.

Would have to agree with Jess's comments. Although not particularly challenged (read: bored) at my job, definitely not 'unhappy' with the work - but could do it in my sleep. Would say agreeable co-workers, boss(es) and work environment can make it 'happy' to show up for work. Also, definitely would say that marriage does not define whether one is happy or not - otherwise you fall into the trap that your happiness is dependant upon someone else. Would certainly say that happiness is something found within yourself but that as human beings, we are socialized to be in the company of our fellow (wo)men, particularly females who are nurturers / caretakers. At the end of the day, I'd say I disagree with both statements - you are as happy as you decide to be (as simplistic as that sounds) (all things considered of course - because life can knock you down).

Another person who's quite happy not being married here. I can see the general drift though, you will be happiest if you have good relationships with people, and you enjoy whatever it is you spend most of your waking hours doing.

Does a dog count?

I think the scope of those 2 things are too narrow to be happy in life. What about appreciation of the most simple things? Everyday details in human relationships?

I think Gallo almost got it right.

IMHO you need to have at least one of
- job you enjoy (you spend almost half your waking life at work or going to and from it)
- good life (marriage, family, hobbies, all that non-work stuff)

If you've got both, then you've found true happiness. Getting one is hard but not impossible, getting both I consider to be a true challenge.

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