I was walking through the grocery store checking items off my list as a young woman walked past me on her cell phone. She was in a serious conversation as a little girl and a little boy trailed behind her in a single-file line. I heard parts of her conversation and the passion she felt as she explained herself to whomever was on the other end of the line. Bold and clear she said, “The bottom line is, he just doesn’t make me happy anymore.”

What? Did she really say that? It almost sounded scripted.

Realizing that I had only heard tidbits of a conversation, I realized that I truly didn’t know what was going on. But her final sentence rattled me and I came home and described the scene and dialogue to my husband.

He often balances me and is the calm to my storm. We’re good for each other so, as I began to argue my case for the “imagined” circumstance, he played the devil’s advocate. He argued that “if” this was what it seemed to be, no one should have to live in a loveless relationship. I argued that a relationship can be shaped into love. He argued that when people marry for the wrong reasons, why would they stay? I argued that there must have been some attraction to get to marriage and they should concentrate on those aspects and rekindle the fire!

I’m a “forever and ever, amen” girl. I met my husband when I was a teen and fell head over heels in love with him. We’ll be married 30 years this fall. (That seems like forever when I write it.) We’ve had our seasons of frustrations, arguing, and hurt, along with passion, love, and adventures. He’s my best friend, yet he can make me so mad! Whenever I hit a wall of self-pity, wishing our relationship was different in some way, I take my eyes off of me and look at him. He’s the same man I fell in love with.

Maybe the grocery store encounter wasn’t truly about this woman and her situation after all, but about me. The idea that someone could choose to walk away from a relationship because they supposedly weren’t finding their happiness in another made me feel momentarily vulnerable.

If we base our happiness in someone else, we will always be disappointed. Happiness isn’t found in others! It isn’t found in hobbies, nature, things, or achievements; those can bring joy and pride but not happiness.

Happiness can only be found within, in the peace that passes all understanding. It’s an attitude and a choice.

Knowing that, I let go of the urgency to argue my point with my husband. After all, I had passed my own test. I am happy. My happiness isn’t someone else’s job, it’s found within me, as I seek after God and his peace. With this knowledge in mind, I embraced the calm and put my groceries away.

Kathy Banta

Author Kathy Banta

Kathy is a wardrobe consultant at A La Mode Wardrobe Consulting. www.alamodewc.com. She is also a passionate speaker for women’s events, sharing on the topic of “Loving Who You Are,” a message of self-esteem. Kathy is also a songwriter and vocalist, and has released several CDs of original music. She has been married to Peter for twenty-eight years and is the mom of three.

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  • Nancy Holte says:

    Good word, Kathy! And, I’ve found that when I go out of my way, just a little bit, to show love and kindness to my husband, he always reciprocates. Amazing how that happens! 🙂

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