Annoyed or Joyed

By RozeLee Rugh
In eLetter
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I opened the dishwasher and was instantly confronted by my own irritation. My husband has this annoying little habit of placing the cereal bowls flat on the upper rack. After six of them are spaciously arranged, there is very little room for anything else. I started the arduous task of rearranging them so the rest of the dishes would fit.

This wasn’t the first annoyance of the day. Thirty minutes earlier, he had paused my music to tell me about his latest golf lesson. Later, as I was reading, he turned off the overhead light because he prefers lamp lighting as the sun goes down (never mind the fact that I needed the extra light to see the small print I was reading.)

You don’t have to be married long to discover that we invade one another’s worlds with annoying habits. Things that used to be amusing about your spouse can become irritating. And as the years pass, many of these things don’t go away. But I was reminded this week that all these annoyances have a flip side of blessing and goodness. These irritations are actually opportunities to tap into joy because they point us to the joy that God Himself experiences when He thinks about our spouse. When we take joy in who He has made our spouse to be—their personalities, preferences, talents, and the manner in which they love and serve us—we immerse ourselves in the joy that God has for our spouse.

Philippians 4:8 reminds us to set our minds on what is true and noble, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. When God thinks about us, He thinks about the excellent and admirable things that He created within us. I’m convinced that we can let God transform us to think this way too. When we seek to focus on the good in one another, He can move us from ANNOYED to JOYED.

Tom might not load the dishwasher in my preferred manner, but it is such a blessing that he wants to serve his family. He may turn off my music and interrupt my zen, but I am fortunate he wants to chat with me about the things that excite him. And his desire for softer lighting creates a more restful ambience as we wind down for the day. These are things about Tom that make God smile. And when I take time to move from annoyed to joyed, I more clearly see God’s creative genius in crafting Tom’s heart, personality, and character.

Tom and I have been married more than 30 years and I still get irritated at myself about how annoyed I am with Tom. But the blessing and goodness is that I am more aware than ever that God has more to do in my heart. He is still at work and I am so thankful for how patient He is with me. That’s something that can fuel my joy!

P.S. After many years of marriage, I have found that it’s a lot easier to move from annoyed to joyed when Tom and I are enjoying our friendship—having fun together, laughing, and sharing moments of connection with others. On Friday, August 5 IBC is hosting a date night for engaged and married couples. We’ll have drinks, appetizers, games, giveaways, and of course opportunities to connect with your spouse. Plus, free childcare. Plan to join us if you can!

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