Rise and whine

I hate mornings.

Even as a child, when my mom would nudge me from my dreams by singing, “Rise and shine and give God the glory, glory,” I’d press my hands against my ears and refuse to get up. I had no idea how to live out that song.

I never considered this to be a problem until I got married. Much to my annoyance, my husband, Jeremiah, savours mornings. When the alarm beeps, he springs out of bed, eager to begin the day. He’s bright, perky and has perfect eyesight. Meanwhile, I’m dishevelled with tangled hair. I can barely open my eyelids, and when I do, I run into things because my contacts aren’t in yet.

But the absolute worst part about mornings is that my husband loves to talk. “How are you doing? Did you sleep well? What do you want for breakfast?”

“Jeremiah, please,” I whined one morning. “I can’t handle talking this early. Can’t you just leave me alone?”

“You woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

I rolled my eyes and crossed my arms. “Why are you always so annoying?” I said. “I don’t like talking in the mornings. Do you not get it? Give me a break. I can’t handle you!”

His forehead wrinkled, and his ears turned red. “Stop it! Cut it out, Samantha!”

I ignored him and stormed into the bathroom. He followed me. “You’re being ridiculous!” he said.

“I couldn’t care less. I hate the morning, and regardless of how early I get to bed, I’m still tired and can’t wake myself up. What’s worse is that I’ve told you over and over to give me time to wake up!”

“You can still control what you say. Being tired is no excuse for being selfish and mean!”

“You can control yourself by being quiet!” I yelled.

I looked in the mirror, and he stared at me, shaking his head furiously.

“I’m not dealing with you like this!” he said and left the bathroom.

Opened eyes

This dialogue recurred several days of the week. Over time, however, God opened my eyes to how my morning behaviour was harming my marriage. Jeremiah told me that my careless words hurt him and that he wanted to distance himself from me when I treated him that way. I thought long and hard about my attitude and realized I’d deceived myself into thinking I could talk to him any way I wanted.

I expressed my frustration about his asking me questions in the morning. He understood and said he’d work on it. We prayed that God would help us love one another despite our differences.

A fresh start

Another morning arrived, and the alarm beeped. I turned over and stuffed the pillow on my head. I thought about controlling my mouth and being patient, and I worried that I’d fail. As I stepped down onto the floor, Jeremiah walked toward me. Relaxed and quiet, he whispered into my ear: “Good morning, Honey. I . . . “

“Don’t say anything,” I interrupted.

I paused for a moment, closed my mouth and stood still. I thought about my words. Was my tone of voice necessary? He wasn’t talking too much – just greeting me. He was being sensitive by whispering. I looked into his eyes, and my tears welled up. I glanced at the floor, feeling tense.

“I love you. That’s all,” he said.

“Oh, I’m sorry for my attitude, Jeremiah. I’m just a mess; there’s no excuse for it. Thank you. I love you.”

I gave a playful frown but a smile shined through. I received his warm embrace and wrapped my arms around his waist.

For once, I felt victorious because I’d responded well to him. The Holy Spirit was in me, helping me to keep from saying foolish things. Jeremiah was happy, too, that I chose to think before speaking, and he praised me for doing such a good job.

Unity, love and respect

We’re a little over a year into our marriage. Every day we wake up with opposite moods, but instead of focusing on our differences, we strive for unity, love and respect.

Don’t get me wrong – I still hate mornings. But choosing to love my husband makes them a lot less miserable.

Samantha Krieger is learning to start her day with a smile in Dallas, Texas.

© 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

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