As holidays jingle into life, a time intended for joy often morphs into flashbacks of disappointment and hurt for many. What a shame so many relationships suffer this time of year.
Nerves are shot. Irritation levels soar. People everywhere disappoint.
So what does it take to be happy? What does it look like?
Sure, we envision a smiling couple holding hands. We see them cuddled before a crackling fire, with wine glass in-hand. We think of man and woman embraced in a hug before the ocean. It’s easy to be happy that way.
But life is not a series of hand-holding in calm, picturesque views. Often, life is grand chaos.
It’s work stress. Financial worry. Out-of-control kids. It’s Jimmy being sick, Timmy in trouble at school, Johnny’s angry again, Cindy is hormonal and the dog just barfed. And to top it all off, your spouse is grumpy and wants nothing to do with anyone. Especially you.
That’s a more common picture of life. If that’s not your day-to-day, then congratulations on your empty nest and/or retirement. Because for most of us, that’s the true picture.
So how can we possibly be happy when this is reality?
We hear it often, but it’s pure truth: happiness is a choice. And it occurs in its most genuine form only when upheld by: Grace. Self-honesty. And loyalty.
So what the heck do I mean?
Grace is a trio-combo of humility, understanding and forgiveness. It’s patient acceptance. We may not particularly like certain behaviors in our partner, but we must accept the behaviors’ existence (obviously as long as they’re not dangerous or damaging). We’re talking annoyances here; the pithy little digs that start arguments. Remember, we cannot change others and we cannot allow others to squash our spirits. But when we choose love, we can accept these less-than-ideal-to-us circumstances. Forgive and seek to understand. And if we try, but can’t understand, simply accept. No matter how well we know our partners, we’re not walking in their shoes.
You’re not always a prize to be with. And neither am I. So, you’re upset with your partner. You feel so strongly about what he did or said (again) and you’ve had it. You proclaim you’re no longer happy. (And, why make this proclamation? To vent? To seek resolution? Or worse and most damaging, to threaten?) Think about it. Get over your own self-importance, communicate with patience and start forgiving one another. Loving one another. Love is all about equal acknowledgement and importance, friends.
Love is a choice. She is imperfect. And so is he. You love each other for your common ground, similar values, quality character and because you feel you’re a great match most of the time. But you must also accept one another’s imperfections—you BOTH have them. And one does not have more imperfections than another in most cases. Some are just louder than others. Stick together. The grass will not be greener elsewhere; it might feel softer at first, but before long it’ll be wild with weeds.
So, remember, love is work. Love is acceptance. Love is gracious and kind. Love accepts what it may not like. Disagreements may occur, but love itself is steady. It’s healthy to disagree; it’s not healthy to isolate, yell or ignore. Talk. Hug. Look one another in the eyes.
When’s the last time you really looked one another in the eye?
Love is precious. Fight for what’s right. Accept what is not (except in extreme circumstances). Hold your partner’s hand and know by choosing love, it’ll all be alright.
And if you can each choose happiness within, then secure, confident happiness as a couple grows and glues your souls for eternity.
Want happiness? Just. Love.