Picking Away at Happiness

heart-668592_1280Such is the nature of kids: if there is a little hole in something, they pick away at it and the hole grows bigger by the day.

I had a tiny hole in the fabric on my living room sofa. It was on the arm of the couch where someone had snagged their jewelry perhaps, and made an eensy tear in the fabric. It was when my house was busy with my 7 kids, and although I reminded them not to put their finger in it until I could repair it, it got bigger day by day. Soon a little wisp of stuffing was coming out and day-by-day that hole increased unbeknownst to me until I suddenly noticed that the couch arm looked deflated. The little ones had found it just right for their finger to poke in and pull out a bit of stuffing. Day-by-day, it had eroded.

I guess we aren’t so very different when we grow up. We marry because another person makes our happiness complete. We feel such joy in being with them, and the promise of the future is great! Then we discover a little hole in the fabric of their character or in their mannerisms. Instead of leaving it alone, sometimes we foolishly pick away at it. We mention it, make it the brunt of a joke maybe, and take mental note of it rather than forgiving or brushing it off. Every so often, we poke our finger in it and pick away at our happiness.

fabric-316777_1280I think it is a dimension of maleness to want to be strong and capable and protective of women. Boys exhibit this too, as they grow up. The hallmark of puberty for boys seems to be an awareness of their muscles and wanting to lift weights or excel in sports as a way to practice that strength. Although everyone enjoys sincere praise, men seem to particularly need to be admired and respected. We do our husbands great damage when we pick away at them, exposing their flaws and repeating their mistakes to others. What we don’t seem to realize is that we are undermining our own happiness! Just as my couch arm gradually deflated, we may discover to our great dismay that our own happiness in marriage has gradually eroded and the fault is our own. We “poke our finger in the hole” of our husband’s idiosyncrasies or flaws and do immense damage to their self-image, their feelings of love for us and respect for themselves.

I am not innocent . . . that’s why I know to write about it! It seems we women can sometimes be pros at noticing mistakes but we may be a little too quick to expose them. There is great charity in lovingly dismissing another’s small weaknesses.

To myself, I would say: “Today, be kind. Overlook other’s flaws and shortcomings. Do all you can to build up others, to see the best in them, especially amongst your own beloved family members.”

rabbit-344311_1280A few authorities on the subject;

Thumper’s mother (Mrs. Rabbit): “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”

I Thessalonians 5:11: “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another . . . “

 

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