Imperfections in the Happy Heart

My husband and I have been doing a lot of bickering lately. It happens from time to time in a marriage. (For most people, if you never have any fights with your spouse, share your tips NOW!)

Last night, I was really exasperated with my husband once again not being able to see my point of view. In desperation I said, “What is it? What am I doing so wrong that you can never be nice to me lately?” (Not entirely a true statement, but when you bicker, it’s exactly the not entirely true type of statements that get uttered first.)

Of course, the ideal response from my husband would have been, “Oh, I’m so sorry darling. I’ve been awful. I’ll do much better in the morning. For now, let me finish cleaning the kitchen, you go have a hot shower and I’ll come in afterwards and massage your shoulders.”

Are you surprised that this was not his response?

Instead, he was brutally honest. His reply expressed his annoyance that I was always snappy and always reactive to whatever he said.

To tell you the truth. I was surprised. Mainly, because this is exactly the way I would have described him – not me! Therefore my first thought was to think if he stopped berating me all the time, maybe I wouldn’t be snapping. But just as quickly, micro seconds later, I had a Holy Spirit moment – you know when that quiet inner voice speaks the real truth to you?

The truth was, the truth is, regardless of who snapped at one another first, lately I’ve been being selfish. I have been placing my own agenda first. I have been boiling under the surface when I don’t get to do what I want to do. Silly little things like read a book or watch something on TV. I’ve been wasting time trawling the internet or playing Candy Crush. (I can’t believe how I’ve become addicted to this little game and I’m always finding a moment to try and pop a few more colourful little morsels. It’s at the point where I’m wondering whether I should delete the app altogether.) I’ve been distracted wishing that I could find time to write a blog and making up imaginary posts in my head, rather than living in the moment and enjoying the people who are right under my nose.

It’s all selfish. I’ve been all about thinking about what I want to do rather than how I can serve others. After all, being a mother requires sacrificial love. Too often these days you find encouragement to take some “Me time”. “You deserve it”, is the phrase that is whispered, seductive and tempting. And yes, there are moments of time we can use to do something for ourselves to refresh the soul.

In reality, there needs to be more encouragement for us to push aside seeking self pleasure, and laying down our own wants in order to make someone else happy. Playing in the sandpit with a child rather than sitting back and basking in the sunshine, spending a little more time to make a special dinner rather than whipping together the quickest meal possible. Taking the time to discipline by patiently and calmly correcting the behaviour rather than yelling in frustation. Tidying up before the husband arrives home so that he feels contentment as he walks into an organised home rather than checking facebook for the upteenth time. Choosing not to get angry about the mess that has just been made, but rather to be grateful for the little person who made the mess being in our life.

It’s all about priorities. If I say my family is the most important thing in the world to me, then I should have the actions to prove this sentiment. I don’t want my children and my husband to feel that I love them only when it is convenient to me. I want them to always know that they are always the greatest loves of my life.

I am not perfect. Already today I have fallen short. But I learn. I grow. I keep listening to the still small voice within and let the Holy Spirit guide and lead me, helping me to the best mother and wife I can be. It is in this service as a mother that my heart truly is happy. Caitlin’s Happy Heart is dependent not on fulfilling selfish desires, it’s by submitting to the higher calling, living my destiny to be a mother. Laying down my life in order to serve others. To do this is to follow the example which is in the gospels. And today I choose to follow it and be more Christlike.

Do you struggle to overcome selfish ambition?

So blessed to have such a wonderful family. They will continue to be my motivation to being a better person.

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  1. I recently went through something like this in my marriage too. As soon as I started being nicer to my husband, he started being nicer to me too! We get in a vicious cycle where one person isn’t nice so the other person reacts the same way, making the first person feel justified and continues, etc.

  2. I know how you feel. I find myself being selfish sometimes and then I stop and listen to myself and make a conscious choice to give more. It’s hard to do and complaining is the easy road, but it is completely worth it 🙂

  3. Thanks Caitlin – all so true in my world. And then how often I find myself complaining about how selfish I am instead of just trying harder with the Holy Spirit’s help!

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