Raise your hand if your spouse does something really annoying.
Now, raise your hand if you’ve mastered how to deal with that really annoying habit and be joyful about it.
No? Me either.
I have a husband who does some really annoying things (over and over and over again). On the other hand, I do things that I know annoy him, over and over and over again. No one told me that after we got married my husband wouldn’t have to do exactly what I want! I also didn’t realize that I’d actually have to work at finding joy in my marriage some days. (Like when life gets busy and the honeymoon is over, and the laundry piles are steep, and we’ve failed at sleep training our toddler … again.)
Anyone else struggling to deal with tough things in marriage (and life) AND be joyful about it?
The joy of the Lord is my strength is a verse I love! It brought me through some of the toughest times over the last few years. Reading this scripture helped me to remember that if I focus on the Lord and find joy in him, I can withstand anything. It brought me to a place of peace with my life and with myself in an otherwise chaotic time.
Once I began to find joy in the life I was living, I quickly adopted the attitude of, “I’m happy, problem solved”. But what I didn’t realize, was that in focusing on myself and my happiness, I was forgetting the other part of me: my husband.
If you read my post about how cancer convinced my husband to get his fixer upper on, then you know that our relationship (and life) hasn’t been all butterflies and rainbows. It’s been a slow, winding, and sometimes bumpy road. We took a lot of detours around joy and maybe even made a few pitstops at joy, but joy hadn’t yet become our destination as a married couple.
In Genesis, the bible talks about how a man and woman become one flesh. That means that the success of my husband is my success. The life of my husband is my life. And the joy of my husband, is my joy. So although the joy of the Lord is my strength, the joy of my husband is the stuff that dreams are made of. It’s taken me some time to realize that just a happy wife does not equal a happy life. And it wasn’t until I started putting the joy of my husband before my own (and he did the same) that we began to experience real joy in our marriage.
Worrying about the joy of our spouse doesn’t mean we should neglect ourselves! Or that the the joy of our husbands is the only thing that matters. But it does mean that it takes two people really working at it + strength that comes only from the Lord to create a happy marriage.
Here are some practical ways to bring joy into your marriage. Even when he’s doing that really annoying thing you hate.
TO KEEP HIM FROM DOING SOMETHING ANNOYING, RECOGNIZE YOUR DIFFERENCES.
The easiest way to find joy in something annoying, is to plan to not have that annoying thing happen. We can do this by thinking of our spouses first. Learn their likes and dislikes. Do they love to sleep in? Let them. Do they hate coming home to dirty dishes? Clean them. You can spend your whole day scrubbing the house and cooking a meal, but if your husband feels loved when you to tell him you’re proud of him, then cleaning is worthless. Don’t love them the way you want to be loved. Love them the way they need to be loved.
Joy is contagious. If you can help create a joyful environment for your spouse, imagine how much joy their reaction will bring to your marriage.
WHEN HE’S DOING SOMETHING ANNOYING THAT MAKES YOU ANGRY, PRAY.
Sometimes no amount of planning on your part is going to change another person. So this one is a way to control my reaction to that really annoying thing he does. Because have you ever tried to lash out on someone right after you’ve prayed? It’s impossible. Luke 6:27 says, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you”. It doesn’t say lash out at your husband because his socks are on the floor right next to the hamper. Or be hateful toward your husband if he’s hateful first.
If you feel your pulse rising, break and pray. If you have something nasty to say, pray. If your feelings are hurt, pray. Nothing will bring joy into your marriage like a good ole’ chat with Jesus.
TO AVOID HIM WHEN HE’S DOING SOMETHING ANNOYING, RECOGNIZE THAT YOU NEED A BREAK.
If you can’t control the annoyance and you can’t control your own emotions, then here’s a way to step away from the annoyance. Let’s be real, a lot of us wear more than just the wife hat every day. Some of us are toddler wranglers. Some have full-time jobs, or side hustles, or both. We cook or clean, do laundry, and chauffeur our kids to sporting events. Sometimes I’ll actually make it through an entire day without peeing because I don’t have more than 30 seconds for me!
So, on occasion it’s not that my husband is doing a really annoying thing, as much as it’s that I just need a break. It doesn’t have to be a weekend getaway. It could be as simple as a shower alone to recharge. But I’m much more likely to greet my husband with a loving embrace & kind words after a 10 minute shower all to myself.
Knowing when I need a timeout to unplug, and knowing how to ask for that time out, has been key in keeping the joy in our marriage.
IF YOU CAN’T ESCAPE HIM DOING SOMETHING ANNOYING TREAT HIM LIKE A CHILD OF GOD.
When all else fails, remember whose he is.
Think about your own child. Think about how you cared for them in your womb, birthed them, and have watched them grow. How much do you love them? If you’re anything like me, it’s a whole lot.
Now, imagine that you child came home and told you one (or all) of the following. “Today someone screamed and yelled at me”. “Someone called me names, made fun of me, and told me I didn’t do a great job”. “I was assaulted, hit, kicked, and spit on”.
I don’t know about you, but I’d be livid!
That’s how God feels when we do those things to our spouse.
In Galatians it says that in Christ Jesus we are all sons of God through faith. Imagine how it must hurt God’s heart to hear the hateful things we say or watch the hateful things we do.
Want to bring joy into your marriage? See your husband as God’s son first, and the man who left dirty dishes on the counter second.
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