From the quotation-marks, you might guess that this is not my statement; and you'll be right.
They are the words of Bob Just in his thoughtful, and thought-provoking essay, Son of divorce. Bob Just writes as a child of divorce, raised with a very avant-garde and liberal background. He spends roughly the first third of the essay laying out his upbringing, and the next third discussing the negative repercussions of our easy-divorce culture.
It is the last third that I think is likeliest to swipe off one's mental cobwebs. He argues passionately that our society wrongly views marriage as being all about "my happiness," and about being loved. Consequently, if one's marriage isn't making him happy, if he doesn't feel he's being loved adequately, then he is in a Bad Marriage. The insufficiently happy spouse virtually has a moral imperative to leave that marriage, and look for one in which he will feel sufficiently loved and happy. It may take two or three tries... or five or six... but it is imperative. It is what marriage is all about.
I'll not try to summarize everything Just says; I do commend it to you. I'll just say that I basically think he's echoing a Biblical perspective. My way of putting it might go something like this:
Like all of life, marriage is fundamentally about God. It is a covenant undertaken before, and in the name of, God (Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 2:17; Malachi 2:14-16). Like all of life, and like every part of life, marriage is what God says it is, and takes its meaning from Him. For a man, marriage is about loving, cleaving, embodying faithfulness, leading, self-sacrifice, knowing, honoring, and serving (Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 5; Ephesians 5:23-33; 1 Peter 3:7). For a woman, marriage is about helping, cleaving, loving, respecting, submitting, obeying, serving and adorning (Genesis 2:24; Proverbs 14:1; 31:10-31; Ephesians 5:22, 33; Titus 2:4; 1 Peter 3:1-6).
For both, at any time, marriage may well be about suffering... and not necessarily for doing anything wrong. Marriage does not cancel out Matthew 5:4, 10-12, 1 Peter 2:20, and a host of similar verses. Nor does it cancel out Matthew 16:24-26, or Luke 9:23, or the principle of 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Your marriage may be the happiest facet of your life; it may be the most painful. Odds are it will be both, at times.
If your mindset is that marriage is all about making and keeping you feeling happy, without cost, you are likely to be shocked, horrified, and appalled to learn that it simply is not so. You will be unprepared. You will be undone. You will bolt for the door our culture so obligingly holds open for you.
If on the other hand you view your marriage as you and I should view everything else in this fallen world, as something undertaken before God, and as long as we expect that it will have its share of crosses -- and as long as we accept that we need those crosses -- we can and will find happiness in our marriages.
Because it is the conviction of the Christian that God's way really is, in the final analysis, the happy way. Jesus says those who suffer for the sake of righteousness are "blessed" -- happy! Peter paradoxically says we should leap for joy even as sufferings sadden us (1 Peter 1:6, 7; 4:14). Paul learned to find joy and gladness in weakness, insults, distresses, persecutions, difficulties, for Christ's sake (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
So in a roundabout way, marriage is about happiness, as is all of life. But it is happiness found in the Lord, and in His word, will and ways. It is happiness that can embrace both the crosses and the crowns of marriage. It is a sturdy happiness, because it is a happiness learned from Him who "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).
Sometimes the happiness is easy to see -- lying in each other's arms, speaking that short-hand code forged through years of working at being soulmates, having intimate heart-to-hearts in a warmth of acceptance, hearing the most valued praise and acceptance earth has to offer. Other times, it is not so easy. In fact, it can be downright invisible.
But isn't that the Christian life? Aren't we all called to "look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen," because "the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18)?
Marriage isn't for the faint.
But then, neither is life.