If there’s anything I’ve learned in these 16+ years of marriage, it’s that happiness is a choice. There’s no shortage of ugly examples of marriage – lying, cheating, painful reminders that we’re just people doing the best we can to stay married. And sometimes, in the rough times, the promise we made is all that we cling to. But MOST of the time, the person we married truly IS the cause for our happiness and the root of our joy.
My husband is not perfect, but he IS perfect for me – an imperfect wife. He is just a guy, a guy who does his best to keep food on our table, a roof over our heads and a little happy in our hearts. He’s a good guy. He’s a loyal guy. He’s a big-hearted guy. He’s a funny, funny guy. He’s a family guy. He doesn’t know he’s just what I prayed for and all that I want – even though I tell him that all the time. He’s half of my heart and it just doesn’t beat right when he’s not around. He’s my guy.
And since there IS a ‘happily ever after’, why don’t we hear more from THOSE people? Instead it seems like all wives are so unhappy and it’s all the lazy, emotionally-distant slacker husband’s fault. It seems like wives are so willing to trash on their husbands, looking for their flaws, and even resigned to ditching the I do’s. Well, not all of us are.
Some of us have taken the journey from blissfully happy newlywed to down-in-the-trenches everyday life and have discovered that real life and happiness exist together in marriage. Not every day can be candlelight and romance, but every day can have a knowing glance, a sweet note, a hug and a kiss goodnight that all add up to a solid, tested marriage and a happy life. And there are more happy wives out there than you might realize.
So, how did I rebound from that not-so-newlywed reality that wedding isn’t the same as marriage? It’s one thing to spend a year or so planning the ceremony; it’s a whole other level of commitment to cultivate a life together! How did we make it 16 years and counting? Grace. A whole lot of heavenly grace. But in addition to that, there’s always a journey…
About two years ago, I realized that life had gotten rough in our house – three kids, two working parents, too little to go around and something always broken. It felt like there was always this exhausted tension just under the surface. And because we often don’t look at ourselves first, it took some time for me to realize that it wasn’t just “life” getting me down, the temperature of our marriage has a LOT to do with how I handle my role as wife. And since I’m a reader, I went looking for someone wiser than me to help me sort it all out. So, in addition to the Bible, I read an incredible book – “What’s it like being married to me?” And I realized that I’m not always the catch I like to tell myself that I am. I can turn up the squabble with the best of them. I can make my unhappy known without saying a word. It was becoming painfully clear that I had allowed myself to dwell on the hard times and I’d actually surrounded myself with women who were unhappy. They didn’t mean to, but they were feeding that restlessness in me. So, I limited my time with those gals and went off in search of a community of women who had chosen to find their happy.
Over the past year, I’ve found some really neat ladies in my church – girls I can be real with and who will remind me to pray it out and work it out. And I also became a member of the most awesomesauce club around (and if you’re a married gal I encourage you to check it out, too) – The Happy Wives Club. We’re 700,000 wives who have chosen to focus on building up our husbands, appreciating them, finding their strengths and letting the world know that happily married isn’t a fairytale. We have chosen to pour into our marriages and support each other in encouraging our husbands to be the men God intended them to be.
And what better day to encourage you to check out this community than National Husband’s Day?!
Ever heard of it? Probably not until now, but it’s a thing and it’s about to get to be a legit, actual holiday! The HWC team is forging ahead, full steam, in the coming year to lobby various government officials until at least one is found who will proclaim the fourth Wednesday of every January National Husband’s Day. Why? Because good husbands aren’t as few as we’ve been lead to believe; they just need wives who will stand up and remind anyone who will listen that marriage is where it’s at and that these men are worthy of a little appreciation.
The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s green where you water it. HWC is the source of encouragement, the tools you can put to work to cultivate the happy in your marriage.
Wish that husband of yours a Happy Husband’s Day today, and mark your calendar to go big next year!