Somewhere along the line marriage became solely about happiness. Most would be shocked to learn that marriage is not primarily about making us happy, but instead, holy. I suspect that the happiness will come as byproduct of the holiness. This article sums it up quite nicely and it ties in well with this post.
"Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." Eph 5:22-27
"First concerning the husband's role as reflected in Christ, notice that his main objective is not so much to make her happy as to make her holy. Holiness - Sanctification - is the objective. He doesn't simply tolerate her sin, he eliminates it. He doesn't simply forgive, he cleanses such that she no longer practices sin, but practices godliness."
God instilled in men an innate/subconscious mission for marriage, being, "not so much to make her happy as to make her holy"; in other words, sanctification. Likewise God instilled an innate/subconscious mission for women in marriage--submitting, but for some reason (cough, cough, Eve) she naturally rebels more and wants to skip right to dessert--happiness. Deep down the husband knows his mission in marriage, but this will only work if the wife also knows and accepts her mission. Submitting completes his mission of making her holy. If he does not try to make her holy or she does not submit to his efforts, then unhappiness ensues. The sexes are thus pinned in battle with each other and cannot achieve holiness together in marriage. On the other hand, if the husbands washes and the wife accepts the washing in the spirit of humility, then happiness follows. I have witnessed this in my own marriage.
Perhaps marriages have their rough spots because God is using that roughness to sanctify us. I liken it to a washing machine; lots of roughness, scrubbing, and spinning goes on inside, but in the end the clothes come out clean, "without stain or blemish". The problem though, is that a lot of people aren't willing to stick around to see the finished product, or to even be tumbled dry. A woman seeking happiness without her husband's sanctification is like expecting spots on a shirt to disappear without a washing. Becoming holy is not going to be fun; it will in fact hurt, depending on how deep the stains are. It may be that "Tide to Go" won't be strong enough; whats needed is some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Who says husbands never do the washing?! If wives want their husband to help with cleaning, he could first start with her.
For some humor, here is an example of how a washing might go down:
Yup, she'll kick and scream, but then realize its not that bad. I don't know why that image came to me when writing.
"One thing characteristic of his rhetoric which may be a challenge for husbands today is that he was honest and open about his evaluation of his bride."
Meaning that Christ was honest about his evaluation of the churches as detailed in Revelations. Likewise, if the husband is to the wife as Christ is to the church, then he should be forthright and honest in his opinion of her as a wife. Warning: this won't go over well. If there is one thing women can't stand, its the unvarnished truth. Girls learn young that you tell other girls what they want they want to hear, not the truth, at least if you want to stay in their favor. Men picked this up as well as it is a safe MO.
Christ did not sugarcoat matters nor tell the church what they wanted to hear. Ideally, a husband should do the same. I recognize though, that pointing out flaws in their wife (mainly if she is modern woman) may be a dangerous venture. No doubt she'll find a way to get her husband back; passively or aggressively. Husbands today are told to tolerate a wife's sin, not eliminate it. Eliminating it would be stifling her individuality. The feminization of our culture forces husbands to soak or rinse their wives, hardly the heavy washing they sometimes need. After all, we have been told that women are "delicates" to be put on light cycle or to be hand washed only.
I know some will point out, "shouldn't a wife also wash her husband to make him holy?" I see how this would make sense in egalitarian marriages, where it is assumed fair game that the husband can point out the wife's fault as long as the wife can also point out the husbands faults, however, from a biblical standpoint it seems the husband bears the brunt of washing, where the wife bears the brunt of submitting (Eph. 5:22-27). Christians in general, and therefore as a Christian wife, still have a duty to "correct and rebuke" (2 Tim. 4:2), but her doing so does not greatly affect the sanctification of herself or the marriage.
Egalitarian marriages have a chance of working, but it is a gamble. There the purpose is for happiness first and holiness by accident. Even the happiness isn't a guarantee. I say it is a much safer bet to follow God's plan for marriage where holiness and submission are first, with happiness as a byproduct. Albeit the Bible doesn't explicitly say we will be happy if we do these things, but following God's plan has yet to disappoint.