Category Archives: Uncategorized

Get Engaged

A few days ago our youngest child asked his girlfriend of two years (who has been his best friend for five years) to marry him. So as to not kill you with suspense she said “Yes.” Now they are engaged. It’s a commitment to marry that person, to spend the rest of your life with them. For better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health…you know the deal. I have to say that Sally and I could not be more pleased! She is a wonderful woman of God and they love the Lord and each other dearly. It’s a great event and to be celebrated. Eventually they will be married and carry out a lifetime commitment.

This Section Has a Point

Did you ever have an epiphany? You know, a moment of incredible clarity that just took almost all of the aspects of your present existence and brought them together into one great, glorious and shining whole. That happened to me recently. I learned two things from this particular epiphany. 1) Epiphanies are not always meant to show you something pretty. 2) I apparently quit everything without finishing.

The Revelation to (not) Saint Troy

Well, I don’t quit everything, because if that were true I would not be qualified to write this blog. More specifically I apparently have a habit of self-sabotage that causes me to get terribly excited about a new life direction, I go crazy learning about it for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 years, put in a little action, then give up. It’s great fun.  You should try it sometime. Oh, wait. Based on stories from friends you may have already tried it. How sad for you (and me).

Confirmation of the Problem

This doesn’t necessarily manifest itself the same way for every person. Let’s walk through some examples and see if any ring true. Did you ever get on a weight loss plan and quit without reaching your goal? Or reach your goal and then gain some (or all) of the weight back? Perhaps you have a half written book. Did you start college or a post-graduate degree and it remains unfinished? Is there part of a jigsaw puzzle on your ping pong table next to the clean folded towels? If I looked in your garage would there be random pieces of wood that were once supposed to be a new deck or even an end table? Yep, you have the disease as well.

A Small Out

Let me ease things for you a bit. Some projects are not supposed to be finished. There are occasions where Sally and I started something and got a little bit in and knew it just wasn’t for us. There were other times when things went well for a while and then God moved things in another direction. When these kinds of events happen then it’s ok to cut your losses, learn the lesson and move on. IMPORTANT NOTE: This is not a license to give up on your marriage. I’m strictly talking about other areas here. But for areas where we need to cross the finish line there has to be a way to make it happen and to do so consistently.

It’s Time for Us to Get Engaged

The simple solution is to get engaged. To fully commit to the end goal. Recently Jon Acuff wrote a blog post titled The 4 types of non-fiction books. (And which kind to read more of in 2015.) I recommend you check it out…after finishing this post of course. :-) In the blog Jon indicates there are four types of non-fiction books (hence the title). I won’t steal all of Jon’s thunder, but the 4th type is “The books you engage with.” What the article revealed to me (which I already knew deep down) is that I have a couple of shelves filled with fantastic books, but I haven’t really engaged with any of them.

My Engagement Commitment

I’ve made a commitment to fully engage with one of these books and have already enjoyed wonderful communication with the author. A New York Times Best-Selling author I might add. Sometimes if you reach out they will respond. But if you don’t ask the answer will always be no. The author appreciated my story and commitment so much that he sent me a free copy of his brand new book. FYI if you are looking for a way to find your life’s passion in work then I highly recommend purchasing a copy of the book yourself, it is 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. Make sure you get the 10th Anniversary Edition. Love it and Dan’s podcast. Plus he and his wife of 47 years, Joanne, were recently featured on Episode 5 of the Confessions of a Terrible Husband podcast.

Wrapping It Up

The issue of being fully engaged can be related to any area of life and marriage. Recently a friend mentioned to me that he needed to pray with his wife more. That is certainly a great place to get engaged. In fact it’s so important I admitted my own failure in that specific area before I got engaged in it. Take a little time to look over your life. Find areas that are taking valuable time away from your spouse and family. Cut them loose and let them go. Then find areas that could help those relationships grow. Just focus on one or two. Then take one simple step. Commit to getting fully engaged.

Love you all!

-Troy

Like a Child?

Adults are boring.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m technically an adult and know there are many things that must be done in life that require the maturity level of an adult.

The Problem With Childishness

Have you ever know a couple of adults who just were not getting along due to some petty issue?  One person said or did something, often without thinking or even realizing they had offended the other.  As a result there is anger, miscommunication and lack of forgiveness.  People will ignore each other, try to avoid spending time together or when required to spend time together it will be terribly uncomfortable. This is childishness and it is hurtful and without merit. Childishness is rooted in selfishness. If you are a Christian then selfishness needs to be rooted out by spending time in the Presence of God. In this Christmas season don’t let time with family that you see infrequently be a time of hurt and discomfort, let it be fill with love and joy!

The Beauty of Childlikeness

I’m not sure that is is a word.  Childlikeness I mean. But I’m using it. It’s a powerful image. Childlikeness means living in wonder and awe and silliness like a child. Enjoying the discovery of new things, having fun and just being playful.  I love my wife at all times and for many things but I get a special pleasure when she is childlike. In every woman there is a 12 year old girl. She is silly, cute and a little mischevious. Being around that little girl is just fun. So. Much Fun! Inside every man is an 8 year old boy. Goofy, funny and ready to try anything…as long as he has a cape!

The Balance

In 1 Corinthians 13:11 Paul writes:

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” (emphasis added).

Childishness holds us back in relationships. Childishness is immature and always selfish.

In Matthew 18:3-5 we see the words of Jesus:

“And he said: Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

We are called to be childlike! Being childlike means we have implicit trust that God will take care of us. We believe He is in control and know He has our best interests at heart. Being childlike means we treat others as a child treats them (“whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me“). NOT as a hurtful and clique obsessed teen, but as a child who accepts everyone. Let the people who are different and unlike you into your circle. Be goofy and silly with your friends. Have fun and expect the best. Be childlike and not childish.

Wrapping It Up

If you are a wife your husband most likely loves it when the little girl in you appears! If you are a husband sometimes you need to be a little boy. Let your adulthood fall away and just have fun together. Show love and acceptance, sweetness and joy, and just be open to new experiences and events.

Most of us love a silly, funny and caring child.  There are few things more precious than the sincere hug of a child.  Avoid childishness in all forms, but be childlike in how you enjoy, love and trust others.

Love you all!

Merry Christmas!

-Troy

 

 

 

 

One of My Favorites – Repost

Every once in a while here at HappierHusband we bring back one of my favorite posts from the past.  We do this so that 1) New readers can enjoy the content they may have missed and 2) To remind all of us that truth remains even though we may have forgotten that we learned it.

The following post first appeared nearly 6 months ago, on June 27, 2014.  It was one of my first few blog posts.  It is short and to the point, but very heartfelt.  Since then we have had several friends and family members lose their spouses.  At this Christmas season I think this is very appropriate.  Please don’t overlook the importance of Before She is Gone.

Before She is Gone

I don’t want to write this post…but I will. Recently I caught a snippet of Focus on the Family on our local Christian radio station (http://wcicfm.org).  Gary Thomas, author of Sacred Marriage, was speaking and he made the following statement to women about how to value their husbands, “Ask the Lord to give you a widow’s heart, before your husband is gone.”

Of course my mind turned it around to, “Lord, give me a widower’s heart before she is gone.”  Gut punch!  I don’t even want to think about it.  The tears start to flow.  Considering how I would miss everything she brings to my heart and life. It’s almost unthinkable.  But in truth it will almost certainly happen that there will be a day when one of us is gone and the other will be left behind.

On that day will you be telling yourself, “I wish I had let her know how much I loved her.  I wish I could bring her back, even for a minute, to let her know that after the Lord she is everything to me.”?  Or will you be able to say with confidence, ” I told her EVERY DAY that I loved her, several times a day and I KNOW she knew it was true by my words and actions.  I treated her as a precious blessing, more than I ever deserved and I believe her life was better because the Lord brought us together.  I did everything I could to love her and when see sees Jesus I hope she notices even the smallest reflection of our love as a couple in His countenance.”

My friends, we treat this time on Earth as if it will last for ever.  It. Will. Not.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” – James 4:14

Your life is short and as you age you’ll notice it more and more.  Her life is short.  She is yours for a time and a brief time at that.  Love her while you can so that when she is no longer by your side you will not regret the time you wasted while she was yet here.

Now go and love your wife!

-Troy

 

I Don’t Always Get It Right

I have known since early in our marriage that Sally’s primary love languages are Quality Time and Physical Touch.  (Side note, if the concept of Love Languages is unfamiliar to you then check out The Book That Started It All.)  Recently a series of events and circumstances have crept in and started affecting our time together.  Now, my primary love language is Words of Affirmation (feel free to throw in any compliments :-)) but quality time is on the list as well.  I had noticed that I wasn’t quite as chipper as usual I chalked it up to fatigue because I wasn’t sleeping as well as usual.

A few days ago Sally and I were together just sitting and cuddling and she said “I need more of this.”  I was quick to agree and planned to make a point of being more aware of our physical time together.  Note this isn’t necessarily about physical intimacy, although that is important, but rather just about holding hands, embracing and being in physical contact.

As those of you who have been reading the blog a lot recently and or are connected to me on Facebook know, we are going through some transitions in life that have to do with non-work type business stuff.  As I was putting together a plan to work in these areas I knew I needed to set aside some scheduled committed time or it just wasn’t going to happen.  Sally and I were talking and I mentioned that I wanted to dedicated an hour every evening five days a week.  She simply said, “I can’t give up another hour with you every night.” 

Light bulb!  Now she had clearly hit, within a short span of time, the fact that I wasn’t keeping her love tank full with physical touch or quality time.  Let me tell you what I did.  I adjusted another period of time in my schedule (you’d be surprised what you can do during your lunch hour) AND committed that in the evenings we would be together more.  You know why?  Because I can cut almost anything out of my life to make sure that God is first and Sally is next.  They are The Only 2 Things that are lifelong commitments.

There are two lessons to be gained from this experience.

  1. If you are not getting what you need to feel love then ask for it!  Sally stepped out of her comfort zone and presented her needs.  Don’t assume your obtuse husband is aware of the fact that he missed the hints.  Oh, if you are the husband then you need to share and let her know, kindly and gently, what you are missing.  It’s also important to know your spouse’s love languages and work to learn them.  Go back to the post about the book that started it all as a great reference.
  2. Change what needs to be changed in any other area outside of your relationship with God in order to meet your spouse’s needs.  This is critical.

Oh one more lesson.  Never assume you have arrived.

Proverbs1618

But let me encourage you to keep striving to improve.  God will always support you in your relationship growth with Him and your spouse!

Proverbs1822

I believe in you!

Love you all!

-Troy

 

What I Do

Over the years I have spent a lot of time studying various principles of success in life. One of those principles is “To have what someone has you have to do what they did.” This applies in careers, running a business, personal growth, spiritual maturity and physical development. It’s a truism for almost any aspect of advancement.

In case you are interested in my daily habits of being the happiest and most fulfilled husband I know then this is your chance to peek behind the curtain. Thanks be to God for putting me on this path.

Before I start listing things out let me refer to a few posts that are foundational to where Sally and I are today. The first is The Book That Started It All. We didn’t have a bad marriage before reading and applying the principles from this book, but afterwards our marriage went from good to amazing! Another post and one you may be surprised to see in this list is Three Words. This one makes a huge difference in your attitude. Finally there is First Place. If we don’t get that one right then everything else falls apart. There are many others I could recommend but hopefully these three will get you set for what is to follow.

I am no super spiritual person. My life contains imperfections and flaws that God is merciful to forgive and He is working with me to remove them as I grow in Him. Don’t think as you go through this list that it is beyond your capability. I started out slowly in each of these areas and grew into it.

I’m just going to go through a typical day. I hope this helps. I’m not listing specific times of day for all activities because your schedule may not match mine.

  • Wake up and do morning devotional, Bible reading, prayer and mission affirmation.  HEY!  Don’t freak out.  Total time for this is anywhere from 5-15 minutes.
    • The devotional is usually a one page reading which connects some type of spiritual growth principle with a Bible verse and practical application.  This year I have been going through the Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer.  I usually have either a 30/40 or 365 day devotional book.
    • Bible reading – sometimes it an entire chapter and other times it’s a single verse.  Right now I am reading my way through the New Testament but not on any schedule.  Sometimes God stops me and keeps me in a section or verse for a while.  For example there are some upcoming things in our life that have not yet come to fruition and people we are praying for and the Lord has held me on Hebrews 11:1 for several days.Hebrews111
    • Prayer – Don’t over think this.  Some days it is literally a minute or two.  Other days longer.  Sometimes I am led to just offer thanks to the Lord.  Usually I offer praise, thanksgiving, petitions for others and myself AND favor.  Don’t hesitate to ask the Lord for favor in situations and with people you will encounter.  It’s quite biblical.
    • Mission affirmation – Earlier this year Sally and I went to a Personal Focus Retreat with a group from our church.  During that weekend the Lord gave me a mission for the next season of my life.  I read that mission statement at least once a day as a prayer of surrender and confirmation.  FYI I mention the retreat in a few blog posts, but Why Me? Captures some of the mission statement.
    • Throughout the day as the Lord leads me I pray for people and situations.
    • Oh, Sally and I each usually listen to some type of Christian speaker while showering.  Mark Batterson, Andy Stanley and Joyce Meyer have recently been playing.
  • Exercise & Health
    • As you may know from several blog posts, including The 1 Most Common Marriage Killing Habit, I push hard on good health.  If you read Quality Time in an Unusual Manner you’ll see about the joy to be had by working out with your spouse.
    • I work out six days a week.  SIX DAYS.  Yes, that may make me a freak, but if you get some exercise 3-4 times per week it will help immensely.
    • Depending on the day my workouts involve running, lifting, abdominal exercises, and other areas.  If you want a detailed list let me know.
    • You don’t have to do what I do for workouts, but you should do something.
    • I eat reasonably healthily.  Not obsessively.  Again, if you want details let me know as we recently made a significant change in this area to help with preventing chronic diseases.
  • Go to work.
    • I have a day job.
  • Prayer and Bible reading.
    • Before bed I spend a few more minutes reading the Bible as in the morning and praying alone.
    • Just before Sally and I get ready to turn in for the night we read a short devotional.  Right now we are reading The One Year Love Talk Devotional by Les and Leslie Parrott.
    • We pray together.  Just about every night.  The only exceptions are if one of us is travelling or is just too sick or sleepy (again, not perfect).  But in the past several months we have missed VERY few nights.  Why is this important?  Check out the powerful post Why Christian Couples Get Divorced.
  • Final notes.
    • I tell my wife several times every day that I love her.  Not once, but several times.
    • I treat her with gentleness and kindness.  She likes that. :-) Take a look at Stop Fighting! to see my heart on this issue.
    • I read a lot.  Books on personal growth, books about growing in the Lord, books on business and relating to others.  If I fill my mind with things that will help me draw closer to God and others then it will spill over in a positive way in my marriage.

To be honest there are more things I could put in this post, but this seems like a good stopping place. I hope this helps you.  Remember it is not about being impressed or jealous or envious or bragging. This is just how I live my life thanks to the Lord. If you want to be a happier husband or wife then you might consider asking God how to add some of these habits into your daily life.

Love you all!

-Troy

 

2 Challenges

I realize that today is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and many of you are travelling, or if not travelling you may be preparing for guests.  To honor your time and still (hopefully) offer some value today’s post will be short and to the point.

You may remember from the post 22 Years of Failure that until a few months ago my lovely bride and I didn’t pray together regularly.  (On a side note I highly recommend going back and reading that post.  It has a statistic about divorce and couples who pray together that will blow your mind!)  I have to say that doing so has changed our dynamic in speaking about and trusting in God.  Our trust in the Lord is a regular part of conversation now.

One thing I did as we first began praying together was to thank God for Sally.  I am now careful to do so every time.

This is important to me for a couple of reasons:

  • I want her to know I am thankful to her.
  • I want to acknowledge to the Lord that I recognize she is a gift and blessing from Him.

GiveThanks

This post is called 2 Challenges.  Over the next few days you’ll likely be spending time with loved ones.  Perhaps you don’t particularly like some of the people you will be seeing.  Your personalities are different; you don’t necessarily share the same beliefs or attitudes.  Frankly they may not like you very much either.  Still, as those loved and forgiven by God we need to appreciate every person the Lord brings into our lives.

Below are the two challenges.  You may find one easier than the other and which one is easier may differ from person to person.

  • Thank God for your spouse in prayer daily, as often as is possible do so while praying together.
  • Over Thanksgiving tell each person who shares the holiday with you some way in which you are thankful for them.

Be grateful to God and thank Him for all things.

Love you my friends!

-Troy

2X Max Power!

In one of our bathrooms the sink has this regular habit of draining slowly. Every two or three years I have to clean in out. Now, this is a do it yourself (DIY) issue…and if you remember from the Something I Hate post back in July you know that DIY is NOT my strong suit.

A few months ago the issue began again. So like a true man I decided to wait it out. You know, because some problems will eventually solve themselves. Not this one. Over a few weeks the amount of water draining slowed to a trickle and when you washed your hands the sink would quickly fill and you’d have to wait for it to drain. The trail of tiny bubbles let me know it was working, but not in a healthy fashion. We visited the store and picked up some stuff that claimed it could clear a drain in 7 minutes! Hey! Seven minutes sounds great! I’m into problems that can be solved in 7 minutes.  Looks like a solid purchase. At home I followed the instructions. Waiting the 7 minutes was a breeze. But yeah, no change. Waste of money. So I decided to give the problem more time to improve on its own. I waited a couple of weeks (or longer). It became worse. Back to the store. This time they had stuff that said it would take 15 minutes or 30 minutes for “tough buildup”. This was Max Power Gel and looked impressive. The problem we had was tough.   So tough! I gave the Max Power Gel a full 30 minutes then flushed it with hot water. A little improvement but not free flowing. Oh well, something is better than nothing. So I let it go again for a few weeks. Of course it got worse because whatever nastiness was down there quickly attracted more nastiness (remember Danger – Poison!).

Again to the store and they were selling something even more impressive. Scary black bottle with instructions to leave it in for 8 hours. So glad we have a second bathroom! This time I didn’t mess around. I used my plumbing snake (of sorts, it’s this cheapo long metal thing with a tightly wound metal spring-like contraption on the end) to clean out the drain first. Not much came out. THEN I put in the 8 hour stuff. Guess what? No go. The same as before, maybe a 10% improvement. At this point I resolved myself to the fact that I was either going to have to tear apart the plumbing and clean it out or call a professional. I was very resolved. So I waited a few more weeks. Powerful resolve. (If you missed it a couple of those sentences were sarcastic.)

One day I went in the bathroom and the Max Power Gel bottle was on the counter. Apparently Sally had found it and was giving me a subtle hint. I figured I’d give it another shot and followed the instructions as before. Run some hot water, then pour in 1/5 to half the bottle (depending on the severity of the problem). I poured in maybe a third of the bottle. Then we went and did some other things. About 45 minutes later I flushed it with hot water. Looked like a small improvement, perhaps 30%. At this point I decided to go for broke. I poured in every last drop of the Max Power Gel. It was a LOT. Then another wait past the 30 minute mark. I flushed it with hot water, but didn’t stop right away. I let the hot water just go and go and go. It looked like another 20% or so improvement at first, but as the water poured down the drain it just kept picking up speed. After a couple of minutes something came loose WAY down deep and the drain flow increased dramatically. BOOM, breakthrough! Problem solved!

It’s now a few weeks later and the drain is still working like a champ!

Ok, we are over 650 words into this blog and all you’ve gotten is a plumbing story. Let me bring it back around. Most happily married people know that one of the best ways to insure marital happiness is to pay attention to the small things every day. Things like taking a few minutes to spend just talking to each other, doing something one or both of you really enjoys or praying together as we covered in 22 Years of Failure. But every once in a while you have to take it to the next level. You need to bust out the Max Power…twice! Then you have to pour it on like the hot water. What do I mean?

Here are some suggestions: Take a trip, just the two of you and reconnect. Go to a marriage retreat to learn and grow.  Start a new venture together.  Find marriage mentors (Sally and I are certified marriage mentors in case you are looking). If necessary seek a counselor. Some problems you can resolve quickly and easily, but perhaps you need to bring out the max power and JUST CONTINUE POURING IT ON! Keep going and don’t quit until you see the breakthrough.  I made a mistake with the sink by not staying at it and it cost us months of unhappy hand washings Don’t spend days, weeks or even years of your marriage unhappy.  If you have a true problem then just throwing the occasional small solution at it and waiting and hoping it will go away may never work. Get it fixed! (Remember, you and God can fix your problems, but it’s not your job to fix all of your spouse’s problems.)

I don’t know what you are working through. Maybe everything is fine. But perhaps there is a problem. A lack of love? A loss in communication? A secret hidden sin? It really doesn’t matter what the problem is, what matters is recognizing the problem and dealing with it…at max power!

Don’t let problems fester, work through them right away.  It will often be easier than you think.

TheDuke

Remember, no matter what is happening God is with you.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23:4 (NIV)

I love you all!

-Troy

 

Avoiding the Path of Destruction

We’ve talked about Why Christian Couples Get Divorced but in this post I want to cover perhaps the most common first step down the path. In fact this first step is incredibly innocent and most people would never even notice the slight shift in their relationship that it causes.

If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

-Matthew 18:15

For those of you who have spent much time in the church you recognize this verse as the first of three where Jesus is teaching about dealing with sin in the church. In our the church we previously attended these three verses, Matthew 18:15-17 were used as a broader guide for conflict resolution among Christians.  So if I had an issue with someone else in the church the order of events should always be 1) Talk to the person directly and see if we could not work it out 2) The two of us would get with 2-3 objective others and try to resolve the issue and finally 3) Take it to the local governing body, in that case the church board.  At every stage the people involved and the situation should be bathed in prayer.  I will say I served on that board for many years and we never once had a conflict reach that third level.  The people loved God and each other in wonderful ways.

But do you know what I notice very often? I mean very VERY often?  As people we don’t want to take the first step.  We don’t want to go to the person with whom we have the problem.  We feel more comfortable talking about the person to a third party rather than to the person themselves.

Why did I title this post Avoiding the Path of Destruction?

One of the most common, perhaps the most common first step in the end of a marriage is this: One spouse talking to a member of the opposite sex about their spouse instead of talking TO their spouse. If a husband decides to complain about his wife to another woman he treads dangerously toward an emotional attachment to the other woman.  If a wife talks to another man to let him know how her husband has disappointed her and the family then she is seeking comfort in the wrong arms.

Please don’t misunderstand me. If you have concerns about your husband or wife and you have talked to them THEN you share the concerns with another couple for prayer support you are most likely in a safe place.  If you want to be sure you are safe simply ask your spouse for permission to have the other couple pray for the situation.  In addition there are certainly times when seeking solo professional counseling may be necessary.  But neither of these should be the first step in talking to someone.  After you pray the FIRST person to talk to is your spouse.

Let’s sum this up.

  1. If you have a concern, complaint or problem with your spouse, talk to them first.  Pray together and individually.
  2. If the issue isn’t resolved find an objective other couple with whom to talk together and or pray with and about the situation.
  3. Depending on the severity of the issue seek professional counseling.

Remember this admonition from 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Guard your marriage carefully. Don’t EVER talk to a member of the opposite sex about your spouse in a complaining or negative manner because if you do and don’t stop it could very well be lead down the Path of Destruction for your marriage.

Love you all!

-Troy

59 Seconds to More Joy

We do some deep posts here at HappierHusband. A few examples include What is Love Anyway? It’s All About You, The 2nd Law and The Most Common Mistake Many Couples Make. We also do some controversial posts such as The Problem with (some) Marriage Advice, 1 Most Common Marriage Killing Habit, Hard Work?, Why Christian Couples Get Divorced and Stop Fighting! Today’s post is not too deep and shouldn’t be controversial…but will increase your joy in 59 seconds or less.

This past weekend my lovely bride and I went on a driving trip to North Carolina…from Illinois. The trip was around 11 hours one way without stops. Four of us piled into an SUV around 8:00 pm Thursday night and drove all the way down to the Winston-Salem area through the mountains in the dark and rain. In case you are wondering we were checking out a company that has some VERY interesting research in a relevant problem for millions of people in the world. A different area than we have looked into before. Ok, back to the story. :-). We stayed there through Saturday afternoon, drove part of the way home Saturday (shout out to Barboursville, WV where we slept) then arrived home Sunday evening.

Due to stops and such total time in the vehicle was around 25 hours. Of that Sally and I were in the back seat together all but about 3 hours. We had a LOT of fun with the other two friends in the car, laughing, singing, keeping each other awake and learning things we probably shouldn’t know.

But one thing Sally and I didn’t do with all that back seat time.  We didn’t really talk a lot to just each other and we didn’t spend much time holding hands.

Monday night after supper Sally was in the kitchen when I walked through. Alas that was my intention, to simply walk through. But something stopped me and I took her in my arms and just held her. I really held her. After about 30 seconds I felt like it was time to let go…but I didn’t. I pushed past that feeling that was calling me to jump right back into the rush of the evening. Did we have things to do?  Yes. Did those things matter at that moment?  No. I said to her “We don’t do this often enough.”  She agreed and time stopped.

30 seconds was too short, but just a little longer made all the difference. My joy shot WAY up.  It changed my night!

Don’t take for granted that you are able to hug your spouse because someday that won’t be possible anymore. We all need to stop regularly and put in some conscious “hug time”.  It’s not about how long the embrace lasts, it’s about staying in the embrace long enough to get past the point where life is trying to pull you away.

Grab your girl (or guy for you lady readers) and slide into a smooth and gentle hug. Stay there. Don’t think about what you have to do. Don’t worry about the dishes, laundry, leaves that need to be raked or bills to pay. Just lean in, enjoy the warmth of their body, inhale the scent of her hair, breath slowly deeply and let everything else fall away.

His left arm is under my head and his right arm embraces me.

-Song of Songs 2:6

Go and hug and don’t stop until your joy increases!

Love you all!

-Troy

Last Man Standing

So today we have a special guest post!  As you know since this is the http://happierhusband.com blog my lovely wife Sally gets a LOT of mentions.  Some of the favorite posts in this area include A Different Kind of Faith22 Years of Failure and the melancholy call to action Before She’s Gone.  Sally has guest posted one other time with the GREAT article What Does She Think? which proved popular all around.   

Today the Hot Girl herself returns.  But first an interesting side note.  As I was already preparing to write a post myself for today something came up which completely threw my schedule off.  When I mentioned it to Sally she said, “I have a post partially written, want to use it?”  I was VERY excited and proud.  Then when I read it I was shocked as it was the EXACT same topic of the post that I had started.  Looks like a God thing.  So enjoy this post from my lovely bride.  Enter Sally:

The other night we were watching an episode of “Last Man Standing” with Tim Allen (whose character on the show is Mike Baxter). In this particular episode, Mike’s wife gets upset because he refuses to call her his best friend. He even goes so far as to say she isn’t his friend at all and that their marriage is more about the ‘binding contract.’ He states that his best friend is a guy who he hasn’t seen in at least 10 years and that is the ‘perfect friendship.’ She is terribly upset by this and goes out to lunch with a neighbor friend. They discuss the situation and the friend says that she and her husband are best friends as all spouses should be. Later the same day, the neighbor’s  husband spends time with Mike, and they have a similar discussion. He tells Mike basically that he hasn’t seen his best friend in over 10 years. Mike questions him saying that his wife claims that they are best friends. The neighbor replies that he just tells her this ‘white lie’ to keep her happy. Is this healthy? I think not.

I am not saying that husbands and wives have to be each other’s best friend, but I do know that honesty is one of the number one things that keep a marriage healthy. If you can’t believe your spouse, how good can your relationship ever be?

An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” – Proverbs  24:26

People can have best friends who are not their spouse, but the friend should not be held in higher priority in their life than their spouse. Troy and I have people we refer to as our best friends. I have still my best friend from high school, and we have best friends from college who are a couple that we spent most of our time with and still see often. However, none of those friends are better friends to me than my husband. He is the one who I want to see every day and spend every minute with. He is the one who encourages me in every area of life and always does his best to take care of me and make me smile. He is the one I want to help overcome any obstacle that he has in his life. HE is my best friend.

If you are not friends with your spouse, you should be. It makes life a lot easier, especially when you are together every day. Why would you even consider marrying someone who you didn’t feel was your friend?

18 Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.

Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them.” – Colossians 3: 18-19 (The Message)

 “Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

But mostly, show them all this by doing it yourself, incorruptible in your teaching, your words solid and sane. Then anyone who is dead set against us, when he finds nothing weird or misguided, might eventually come around.” Titus 2:1-8 (The Message)

If your relationship with your spouse isn’t what it used to be or you feel like you have not been friends in a while, spend some time thinking about what you both enjoyed doing together when you first met. Find time to do some of those things together. If you didn’t have common interests or can no longer physically do those activities, start putting forth an effort to find things that he or she likes to do and spend a day or an evening doing them together.  When you take the time to actually spend time doing something that even just one of you enjoys, you will find that you actually can still have a great time together.  Plus, chances are that if you do something with her that she enjoys, she might just decide to spend some time with you doing some of the things you enjoy.
When Troy and I first met, we spent most of our time playing board games alone or with friends. We also spend a lot of time playing ping-pong. We have acquired quite a board game collection over the years and get asked to bring our games to social events. Do we play them a lot together now? Not really. We play the occasional game of ping-pong with each other or Call of Duty on the XBox when the kids come home to visit. What we do for fun now is exercise together, which we never did before. He took up running a couple of years ago and then I decided if he could do it, I could do it (note from Troy, for more details on this check out DIY Relationship Drafting). After 20 years of marriage, we joined a gym and began taking classes and doing other workouts together.

What’s the point? If you put forth an effort, you can find something new that you and your spouse can do together that you both can enjoy. Recently, my brother-in-law who has been married to my sister for over 40 years decided he wanted to do something crafty and relaxing after work. He had watched her crochet all kinds of things for people for years.  So he learned how to knit on a loom. Together they are making winter headbands to help a college student so she can sell them to raise money for her mission trip, and they are having fun doing it! Their finished products are beautiful! Surely any married couple can find something to do together that can grow their bond of friendship.

So is Troy my best friend? ABSOLUTELY! There is no one I’d rather spend my days, nights and weekends with than him. Whether it is workout out, walking the mall or just snuggling and watching a movie together, he is THE one!

Don’t ever let any other friend come between you and your spouse. If your spouse currently isn’t your friend, start being a friend to them. It’ll be one of the best decisions you can make for your marriage!

Have a blessed day!

Sally