If You’re Happy And You Know It…

family My husband and I had a discussion the other night about happiness. As it turns out, he genuinely thought I was unhappy. And as a result, he was feeling unhappy.

“Why on earth would you think I’m unhappy?” I asked, stunned. “Every day, I talk about how much I love our house and our children.”

“Well, in the evenings after I’m done working, you always seem grumpy. You never smile or say lighthearted things to me. You sure don’t seem happy,” he replied.

And that’s a big problem, because husbands often derive a degree of their own happiness from their spouses; they assume that if they are doing their job well and providing for their family, their spouses will be happy.

I am happy. I am, and I was. But what I wasn’t thinking about was that my husband is really seeing me at the roughest part of my day. After dinner, when the kids are in that winding down but still wound up, tired but not sleepy, whiny enough to make your ears bleed, part of the day. I can’t be mean or grouchy with my kids. So I turn it on my husband. And that was what he was seeing–my daily dose of “Is it time for the kids to go to bed yet?” It wasn’t fair to him. He didn’t do anything wrong and he deserves to see the best part of me.

Now, when I feel like I’m getting snappy, I take a moment to myself, breathe deep for ten counts, and plaster a smile on my face. Making a concerted effort to smile and speak softly has made a tremendous difference. I’m not saying be fake or insincere. And I’m not advocating lying either. But if you love your spouse–and I really hope you do–doesn’t he or she deserve your best? Remember how you behaved around your loved one when you were dating? When you were trying to get him or her to like you? How about a wooing revival? I’ve found that the more affectionate I am toward my spouse, the more he reciprocates.

If you’re happy and you know it, you gotta show it.

Likewise, cultivating a spirit of gratitude has helped me to feel more happy. When the kids are chanting, “Mommy, mommy, mommy,” I try to remind myself how grateful I am to have them and enjoy their trust and attachment to me. When the house is a mess, I’m still grateful to have it. When I feel chunky, I’m still grateful for my overall health. When my husband is super busy with work, I remind myself that it’s great he has a good job. When I feel overwhelmed with projects, I feel grateful for having a full life and lots of interests.

I want my husband and everyone else to know that I am happy in life, and I want them to be too.

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