“Worry weighs us down;
a cheerful word picks us up.”
“A cheerful heart brings a smile to your face;
a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day …”
This is a post I actually had written nearly a week ago. But then I deleted it. By accident. Oops! Just as well though. There have been a couple of times in the past week when I personally needed these reminders to “LOL.” Now I’m sharing from a fresh perspective about why this is so critically important. And I’m eating cheese puffs. Can life get any better?!
Is your marriage “less than ideal”?
This question came up after my first post about what to do when you’re in a bad marriage and it’s hard to see “the best” in one another. What if your marriage relationship just feels hopeless? First off, let me remind you that physical harm to either you or your spouse is NOT recommended. Plus it’s illegal to inflict physical pain upon another. You may think jail is a better option. Maybe it is. I wouldn’t want to find out through experience, however. 🙂 But there are positive steps you can take to improve your marriage today. It starts with you. You may not like what I have to say next, but here goes …
Get over yourself!
Very often, you will feel bad about your marriage because YOU feel bad about the marriage. It may have little or nothing to do with your spouse. Seriously! You’ve made up your mind that you’re unhappy, and nothing your spouse does or doesn’t do can get you out of your funk. And yet, the focus of your unhappiness is placed squarely on your spouse’s shoulders. This isn’t always the case. But no matter what your situation is, let me encourage you to take ownership of your own happiness and growth. While your spouse IS responsible to love you and care for you, ultimately you are responsible to love and care for yourself as well. Happiness is a choice that you must make daily.
CHOOSE to enjoy your life and your spouse!
Just as happiness is a choice that you make, so is the opportunity and privilege to enjoy your spouse. On a personal note, I will share that I’ve always enjoyed being married to my wife. But it was always easy; my wife is an amazing woman. Happiness has never been hard for me to find in our marriage.
But then a few months ago, I began to worry over things I had never worried about before. Some worry can be good when it produces positive changes in your life, but not when it becomes a fixation. And for a couple of months, worry consumed me, which caused me to worry my wife to death over tons of stuff. Those days weren’t much fun at all for either of us.
One thing my beautiful bride continued to tell me, no matter how much I worried her with my worry, was that we just needed to relax and laugh together. So even when I overwhelmed her because I felt overwhelmed, she was grounded enough to just keep reminding me that laughter was the key to enjoying each other. Finally, one day, I believed her. And we just started goofing off again. I chose to ignore the hurtful words and actions that caused me to worry and focused on the positives that were worth enjoying. Getting over myself, choosing to enjoy my wife and my life … wow, what a difference that made!
So start laughing out loud.
It’s hard to be consumed with worry when you are laughing. It’s hard to stay angry at your spouse (or yourself) when you are doubled over in laughter. And it’s much easier to feel great about your marriage and life together when you are doing all this laughing TOGETHER! Here are some tips that I have found helpful:
* Watch humorous TV shows together. When we first dated, one of our favorites was King of the Hill. These days, we watch a lot of Everybody Loves Raymond. This is a great way to relax and enjoy the same activity together.
* Play Scrabble or other fun games together that will allow you to talk and be silly with each other. Games are fun—especially for adults. Or discover common interests to share together.
* Find your schtick and “schtick” with it! There are some things I can say or do at any time which I know will make my wife laugh, like sneaking up and scaring her. Sometimes she laughs so hard that her cheeks hurt. That’s when I know I’m doing my job. There are things that your spouse just finds flat-out-funny. Find out what they are, and use them to make your marriage better and “funner.”
* Go out on date nights as often as possible. Once a week is ideal. But if you can’t make that happen, do it at least 2 or 3 times a month. It doesn’t have to be expensive. One of our best “date nights” was (mostly) free and wasn’t at night. We went to a free art exhibit in the middle of the day. Look for those kinds of opportunities, and just make it happen.
One more thing …
It was also suggested that I provide some links to other blogs/web sites that provide helpful marriage advice. Here are a few I’ve found useful: