The Link Between Love and Joy ~ Or, How An Attitude Adjustment Changes Everything


I’ve been irritable lately. Really Irritable. I have disliked the way I have felt, and how I have reacted to life’s little “irritations.” I have felt dry. Used up. The joy has been missing, and at times, I have feared it would never return. I think about myself often, more often than I should. Chronic pain and the disabilities that have come from two brain surgeries have coalesced to make me feel needy…desiring to be taken care of rather than meeting the needs of others.

But the Lord is good. He knows what I have need of, before I do. He knows that love is a much better feeling than irritation. And He knows that love and joy go hand in hand.

Last week my doctor told me my normally normal blood pressure was even better than usual (low normal). It was the second or third time in a few months we have noticed this phenomenon. I thought about it later, as I was holding my five-month-old puppy Annie on my lap. My feeling of love for her brought about a physical sensation. I felt myself relax, and pleasure hormones bounced around in my brain and flowed through the rest of my body. I remembered that studies show people who have pets have lower blood pressure.

In the months since we brought our puppy home, my husband has taken to putting on his shoes at the dining room table. We have baby gates up, and this protects him from our little furry four-legged friend tugging at shoestrings and grabbing socks. Many times, he doesn’t push the chair back under the table when he is done.

It should be noted that my husband suffers from ADHD. He also takes a high level of statin drugs since he suffered a massive heart attack a decade ago. A side-effect of taking statins is a decline in short-term memory. He has to write things down or rely on Siri. He also relies on me to remind him of little things, like pushing in a chair. He still manages to keep forty employees working seven days a week and runs a company single-handedly while taking care of me. You can tell I am very proud of him.

But I am irritable lately. I have asked him several times to try to remember to push the chair back in. He is in such a rush to get off to work that he jumps up, grabs his keys, and promptly forgets.

Yesterday, he was leaving for work, and as he came out of the dining room I noticed that chair. Again. It was sitting away from the table (I know…big deal). I felt that familiar wave of irritation. I know intellectually that he literally does not remember. He is not doing this purposely to irritate me. And yet…there are my feelings.

Suddenly, it was like the Lord Himself stopped me from speaking what was on my mind. A still, quiet voice penetrated my irritation. The words flowed into my mind like water flowing over a smooth stone in the creek near our cabin. “Love would just push the chair in for him.” I thought about the Scripture that says, “Love covers a multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). Compassion for my husband and his memory problems filled my heart. Suddenly, feelings of love replaced feelings of irritation. The sensations of love I felt while holding my puppy flowed through me for my husband. He left for work that morning with a kiss instead of a harsh reminder.

I feel ashamed of myself when I know I have been acting crabby. I know there is a reason for my feelings, but I also know that my husband needs my love as much as I need his. I’m so thankful for the gift we have of the Holy Spirit, who shines the light of truth in our hearts, and changes us, moment by moment. Love heals, and I need that…much more so than an easier life or less physical pain. My husband is and has always been my soft place to fall. I want to be that for him as well. And with something as simple as an attitude adjustment, my joy returned.

6 comments on “The Link Between Love and Joy ~ Or, How An Attitude Adjustment Changes Everything

  1. I think that you and I must be married to the same man! My hubby also has severe ADHD and has to write things down. But even with writing most things down he still forgets occasionally and I find myself having to remind him. It’s very exhausting to always be the one who “has” to “remember everything.” Be kind to yourself – You’re only human, and humans get tired. And shame is something that shouldn’t be doled out to anyone – least of all, yourself. Glad those words from scripture came to you, and calmed you down. Patience can sometimes be as elusive as a butterfly.

    • Linda Lochridge on said:

      Thanks Darlene…you are right…no shame!, and obviously, we all have our limits (I’m sure you experience this with your hubby too), but mine limit had been at the end of itself for a little too long if you know what I mean. LOL. I’m glad I sensed that thought too…it changed me.

  2. Linda Fors on said:

    I can relate to your story. My husband has always blown off my requests which has been real hurtful over the years. He would on a good day, hear my request, say ok, then do what he wanted instead. Now that he has a legitimate memory problem from time to time, it makes it real difficult for me to be patient and understanding because he still has the old patterns, but sometimes he really does forget. I just don’t know the difference. Sometimes I’m really hard on myself for being impatient with him. I want to just be patient and supportive no matter what. But there are those buttons😕 This is where Gods help is crucial.
    Thanks for sharing Linda , it helps people like me💗

    • Linda Lochridge on said:

      Linda…I will fail at this…many times. We do have our buttons and when they are pushed, our brains react before our hearts have a chance to catch up. But it’s good to have a goal…and it’s good to realize that we want positive feelings for ourselves, not negative ones. You are right…we need God’s help! Thanks for commenting Linda!

  3. I wish I’d been able to learn that lesson a long time ago. It’s beginning to “kick in” now finally, but I could have saved myself a lot of grief (and maybe a couple of marriages) if I could have understood this before. Cheers!

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