So often we get caught up in being miserable having to do things for other people.
We all know the jokes that go around about the men who have to go shopping with their wives. Or how about the women who put up with men and their love for sports?
One of the lessons I’ve learned in my own marriage and family over the last few years is finding joy and learning to love what those I love love.
Here’s a case in point: I’ve never been an animal lover. In fact, I’ve been quite the opposite. I used to say, “If I ever got a dog, it would be because I wanted to spend money and clean up poop.” Getting any kind of animal was just never something I was interested in.
I did think dogs were pretty cool, but I didn’t want to own one. Cats, on the other hand, were one of the stupidest animals on the planet. I hated them, and I wasn’t afraid to let everyone know it.
Well, as it turns out, my third daughter absolutely loves animals and she especially loves cats. I had promised her, many years ago, that when we had a larger house and some property, that maybe we could look into getting an animal.
What do you know? She held me to it when we moved to our new house and had a couple of acres of land.
It took a lot of thinking, pondering, and, frankly, some prayer, but I decided that getting cats was the right thing to do. This was a good way to teach my daughter responsibility and let her have something she loved, even though I didn’t want it.
Going through the process, I actually learned to love what my daughter loved. Just to watch her with those cats was a beautiful thing. She poured her heart and soul into them, and they taught her a ton of things.
I’ve learned to like having the cats around, in part by looking at the positive side of things. The cats bring joy to my family. While I have to pay a little extra to feed them and they sometimes get in my way in the garage, I’ve learned to love them. What’s more, when we moved to our new house, we had a mouse problem. Guess what? Since we got the cats, I haven’t seen a single mouse, and the mouse traps I had to set when we moved in are empty.
The whole reason we have this bigger house with some acreage is another exercise in finding joy what someone around you loves. This is what Teresa has always wanted. I’m a neighborhood guy; I grew up in the suburbs and I never really wanted to take care of land or have acreage.
I’ve learned, however, to love this house and this land. But most of all, I love the gardening we do together. Teresa wanted a garden last year, and I decided that, for her, I would build a garden.
Building the beds and making the soil became work we did together. I learned to love it, and I’m looking forward to it again this year.
There’s true joy that comes from investing in what those who you love love. If you can have an open mind, learn to love what others love, and enjoy the fact that you can share something together, it will enhance your love with that person and will help you forge stronger relationships.
When have you done something for someone you love and then learned to love it yourself?