why God created marriage [and where to turn when you aren’t happy]

Written by Duane Scott

GENERAL EDITOR I'm a writer, nature lover, a friend, a singer (in the shower), a Cheetos lover and a Snuggie hater. And God and I are buddies.

June 1, 2012

I don’t know what is wrong, but I can see it, feel it, yet I don’t truly ask.

She smiles fake and I ask if work was difficult, ask if she’s tired. Typical questions.  Easy questions, yet I stop asking before I hear the real answer; the answer of what’s causing the tension in the air.  I reach for her hand, hold it in mine but it feels stiff, like she’s not really there anymore and I worry a little more.

I tell myself again, like I do everyday all day long that my Jesus has broad shoulders. So why, I ask myself,  do I always feel it my duty to allow the day’s troubles to weigh heavy on my shoulders, and mine alone? 

Like my dad the other day, the way the stress rises so I just walk out the door and do the work because I’m so, so tired of being drug around the fence and back by everyone’s drama and grumpiness.  I walk straight into those pig barns, puffing on my Albuterol inhaler so I don’t collapse from the dust and ammonia in the air, but I do the work because I simply can’t take the noise of everyone stressing on me.   Within minutes, I’m joined by my dad and we work a while until I start rubbing my eyes and I can feel my throat closing and please, just let me close my eyes here for a minute to catch my breath, but there’s no breath to catch because I simply can’t breath.  My dad knows this, too.  He remembers the time I was determined to help him and collapsed blue-lipped on the stairs when I finally made my way to the house.  He tells me I have to go, now, yells it at me over the screaming of the pigs.  “Or you’ll be dead soon,” he finishes.

Ya, but at least the work got done! I want to yell back but I don’t because I’m shaking and sweating yet shivering cold with anger at everyone.

I climb on the ATV and make my way to the house, dreaming of the day I finally snap. 

“You think your day is going bad?” I will yell.  I’m dreaming now.  I’ll yell it loud, too.  Over and over.  Louder. More whiny each time. And then, at the end, after I’ve exhausted myself with all the bellowing, I will whisper in everyone’s ear, “Like a broken record, friend. I can go on for hours if you still haven’t gotten the point.”

I stop dreaming.

Dear Lord, I pray instead, help me be strong. Because I’m drowning here. Drowning here in this life that isn’t always beautiful unless you’re looking for it and you have to remember every minute, some days every second, to always choose joy in every circumstance. 

We’re driving together, my wife and I… and here I finally blurt it.

“I’m tired of everyone’s incompetence affecting my happiness.”

So, your job isn’t pleasant? Welcome. It’s called work for a reason.  So your computer won’t connect to the wireless router? Reboot, restart, then come talk to me.  You think getting out of bed at seven in the morning gives you rights to be grumpy to customers? Think again, pal. Espresso was invented for a reason.

Looking back, I hope I didn’t say all those things but I think I did and now tonight, when I hold her hand and it feels stiff within mine, a little part of me crumbles because I know it’s me, not her, and a little something is broken between us because she wouldn’t tell me anyway, even if she really did have a bad day.

I can’t think the rest of the evening because this is an epidemic now, this unhappiness sweeping over the midwestern states and now it’s gotten me too.

And the worst part is, I think to myself, nobody knows where to find strength anymore.

I can’t talk to Southern Gal.  She won’t talk to me.

So I turn to the One Who cares and I apologize up front for whining and I give Him permission to plug His ears but I doubt He does. And then I start. Oh my, I whine, good and proper. I beller and holler about how simply awful everything is, how everyone is so grumpy around me all the time and how hard it is to be happy but then I realize I must sound awfully grumpy ‘bout now so I start laughing because this life is just so unpredictably wild.

But then He comes quiet to me and whispers a reminder. 

“Who else can be your strength, Duane, when you’ve given all yours away and you’re needing some too?  I can.  When your shoulders are tired of carrying the weight of the world, Who better than Me, the One Who created the world in the first place, to lean on? Let Me be your shoulders. Oh, and one last thing.  That girl I blessed you with? She’s got shoulders too and sometimes, it’s okay to tell her you had a bad day.”

I start laughing again because I think I’ve discovered something.

Maybe this is why God created marriage.  So someone else, besides Him, could listen to all the whining going on.

(I love you, Southern Gal, now and forever.  I’ll whine to you if you promise to whine in return. Oh boy, what have I gotten myself into? And… what about you, friends? Do you ever get tired of people complaining to you?)  


  1. David Rupert

    Duane, I feel this way too. I think when we are men, who are sensitive to others, it is a weird place to be. We have the strength to fix things and to lead AND the nature to pick up on the feelings and struggles of others. It’s  a burden that can crush, taking away our breath. But it can also be a tremendous gift in relationships, in marriage, and in life. 

    • Duane Scott

      Thanks for your thoughts, David. 

      I honestly hadn’t considered this a strength. It was more of a responsibility for me, I guess but like you said, it can crush a person and it finally did. 

      I’m naturally a happy person but sometimes it feels as though others and other people’s problems have the ability to set my happiness meter. 

      I guess the only TRUE way to overcome this is admit we are weak too sometimes and we don’t have all the answers, but God does. 

      Thanks for the encouragement! 

  2. Julie

    My DH and I are very sensitive to each others moods. Of course we work with each
    other 24/7 so we know already if its been a rough day.I think the biggest thing
    that men need to learn in marriage..is that we just want you to listen, not to fix it.
    Unless we ask you to of course! The biggest thing i have learned is that he is and
    will always be my best friend and I can tell him anything.

    • Duane Scott

      See, this is where I went wrong. I quit listening and truly caring because it became my problem at that point. 

      What’s your secret to being able to work together with your spouse?  I don’t think every marriage is strong enough to do that today and although SG and I have never tried it, except on Saturdays, I wonder if we would be able to do that? Maybe together, the world wouldn’t have so many problems in need of fixing! 

      • Julie

        Mainly giving each other space when we need it. DH is a micromanage…so when I see him doing that I know he is stressed about something. We have worked together since 1993. We have fought..argued..cried..
        Quit..and started over..our rule is we both can’t quit on the same day. It gets easier year after year… dating exchange other helps. No work talk allowed.

  3. Kelli Woodford

    There’s something sacred in a marriage where two people will not only know eachother, but allow themselves to *be known*.  Good, bad, and ugly.

    It’s God’s job to fix my husband . . . it’s my job to just listen.  And love.

    • Duane Scott

      Yes, Kelli… such good thoughts.  

      You’re a jewel. You know that, right? 

      I realize now how I’ve quit listening and how this could be such a negative effect on those around me. 

  4. Sheila Seiler Lagrand

    I was reared in a household where one doesn’t complain unless one’s listener(s) can do something to resolve the problem. 

    Acceptable: “I’m freezing. Would you please close the window?”
    Unacceptable: “My office is freezing. I was SO cold at work today!” One outcome of this upbringing is that whenever someone complains within earshot, I begin trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do about it. It’s tiring. 

    • Duane Scott


      Is that a healthy environment? 

      I “thought” I was raised that way too! But lately, everybody in my family hasn’t remembered that not all the problems in the world need to be discussed.  Sometimes you have to be happy in spite of all the problems and just cram all that negative down, down, down… Not always healthy, I know, but sometimes maybe appropriate? 

      • Sheila Seiler Lagrand

        The me incessantly trying to figure out what this person expects of me (beyond listening)? Not so healthy.

        I think Philippians 4:8 is a good guideline. 

        I’m bothered less by people sharing about hurts/disappointments/anger that seem “significant” (to me! Because you know, my judgment is perfect, right?) to me than I am by the ones that seem petty (to me!). 
        My goal is to not sink into whining myself (and oh, how I fall short, especially in these days) and at the same to give grace to others around me who do need to express their negative feelings. 

        Some days it does make me tired.

        • Duane Scott

           I know what you mean. Petty problems seem whiny. Significant problems SHOULD be shared.

          However, if you’re like me and have a “i’ll do it myself” attitude, it seems all things come across as whiny. (so I echo your thoughts because this all comes down to what I think (to me!))

          Isn’t there a book on Phillippians 4:8? The Happiness Principle? Or something? I can’t remember. Written by a Newberry author.

          I need to read that book again.

          And maybe pass it out to everybody whining. 🙂

  5. Lori

    Duane I just know you will be getting quite a few comments today, because, really we are all feeling the same. We are carrying our particular loads and to us they weigh as much as the world. Especially when it’s someone close, we don’t want our load to spill over onto theirs because we know how much they are carrying too. Then we all walk around alone and silent and about to burst at the seams. My dear friend right now feels much like you described in this post…..with caretaking 24/7 she finds it very tough to hear about how someone’s vacation just didn’t go right when she is really wondering if she will ever get a day away from home again. It’s tough Duane, but you have a good thing going with Southern Gal from what I can see. You will be just fine! Lori

    • Duane Scott


      Thanks for commenting!

      Oh, and your friend… it must be difficult! I can totally relate because recently, I was talking with extreme passion about my upcoming Zimbabwe trip and being polite, I asked the person who I was talking to if they had any trips coming up.

      Yes, they were flying here and there to this beach and that and spending all kinds of money on themselves and when I presented the idea that they check out what we will be doing in Zimbabwe and how $20 could give a kid a pair of shoes, they said…

      “Money is a bit tight these days but I’ll think about it.”

      I wanted to say more but I didn’t. The good Lord gave me the grace to just nod and smile even though I was screaming inside.

      Tell your friend I know her pain! And be there for her, Lori. Listen to her. It’ll help!

  6. Michelle Buck

    Duane — I am learning how to be less negative lately.  I grew up hating the world, I think, from an early age.  Blame my parents.  Blame society.  Today I blame myself.  But I am a cynic by nature.  My jokes are pure sarcasm.  And I am the worst at ranting about life.  I’ve been learning to 1) Tell it to God.  He does care.  He does listen.  And He never tires of hearing it.  And 2) Finding things to be happy about.  It’s hard when you have lost so many people in your life like I have. It’s hard to find the good in things but they are there.  As for marriage, it has its ups and downs.  There are times when I wish my husband would just shut up about his life and there are times when I wished he be more open.  Somehow we get there, but its a cycle.  14 years later and we are still there for each other — maybe not in the way Hollywood portrays it on TV, but still…we are there.  We have each other.  Even when all is silent between us, simply holding a hand means a lot.  I have a lot of people telling me their sob stories too…so yes, I do get sick of it.  But then I’m the worst of those kind.  So I’m a hypocrite for saying I’m sick of it. LOL.  Hang in there Duane. You are a blessed man.  Never forget that.

    • Duane Scott


      YOU should’ve written this post! Look how easy the answer is!

      1. Tell it to God.
      2. Find things to be happy about.

      So easy. I spent 750 words trying to come up with an answer. You? 10 words.

      Good job. And thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Brenda Coats

     Sounds to me like you both had a bad day, and each of you were hesitant to “explode” about it to one another. I don’t see that as a bad thing. Practice at expressing your heartache without saying hurtful or harmful things to one another (because the truth is that it wasn’t an issue between the two of you). In other words, learn to talk to your spouse. She’s your support system, and I’m betting SG really wants to help. And needs your help in return. Marital support systems are beautiful, once you learn how to operate them. 🙂

    • Duane Scott

       That sounds about right, Brenda.

      She’s going through some extreme difficulty at work.  I, on the other hand, am not even in school and life is good and all I do is read and write and be irresponsible.

      Like not getting the plaque hung in the living room.
      Or not spreading the mulch in the flowerbeds.

      So ya, maybe this IS something between us and I’m just not getting the clues because I’m so busy trying not to listen anymore.


      • Brenda Coats

         Well if there’s anyone you should listen to … it’s her! 🙂 Now go spread mulch and hang a plaque! 😀

  8. Amy

    My husband doesn’t pick up on those clues, that I have something bothering me and need to talk it out. If he does and I do, he usually says nothing. Or the wait before his sensible reply is so long that I think he is not going to reply. And that’s okay. It doesn’t need to be his job. He has plenty to be responsible for! God has blessed me with others to pick up on this, my best friend after only a sentence or two will ask, What’s the matter? You should call me!
    And other times my husband does notice and ask what is bothering me and some of those times I don’t want to talk to my husband about it! I’d rather tell my friend and my husband will laugh and say, Good! Is he online? Tell him!
    But I think it takes time to figure these things out and to know when it is your job to listen, or fix, or leave it to someone else who can.

    • Duane Scott

      How nice that you’ve got a system worked out for when the whining begins. 🙂

      I wish I were the quiet, well-thought out response type of guy.  Maybe I am more than I think. I’m going to give that one a try. Just in quietness, respond to whatever I’m facing. If I don’t get agitated, no happiness should be compromised. 😉

  9. Dav-45

    Are we not unable to sin? Make our own stupid, repetative decisions? Need a good “letting out & letting God”? There are times I just get tired of “being the strong one”, the “doer”, the”fixer”, the “dragon slayer”…& oh so tired of apologizing because I need help where I didn’t before or “they” are grumpy, moody, frustrated, unhappy…& it’s then I whimper “Where are You Lord?” & He answers “Where You left me. Now come back to the fig tree & let me talk with you.” And I do He does and joy returns.

    • Duane Scott

       I feel you, Dave.

      But can you explain the first part of your comment?

      “Are we not unable to sin?” -Yes, we’re able to sin. Are you talking intentionally?

      • Dav-45

        I meant we all sin period…& some days it’s hard to see our part. We fixers, burden bearers tend to forget Jesus is the fixer, not us. That leads to our taking on His role. And Duane, this Donna.

  10. Eileen

    Duane, I have a sign hanging in my home office that was passed on from a friend of mine whose kids are grown up.  It reads, “Thou Shalt Not Whine”   Would  you like to borrow it?? 😉 

    But seriously,  you are correct, you don’t have to carry the whole world’s burdens. It’s just not possible.  Glad you chose to let Him carry it for you!

    • Duane Scott


      I will borrow it. And I’ll hang it above my desk to prevent further whiny posts like this one. 🙂

  11. Cris Ferreira

    Beautiful and emotional, Duane. That part about God’s reminder was so touching!
    Regarding your question, I am single so I don’t think it is appropriate to talk about marriage (I don’t have any experience in that area). But about relationships in general, I think it all depends on our own state. If I am OK (happy, satisfied, up), I can hear a lot of complaining and actually try to help the person, try to be understanding. But if I am down myself, it bothers me, sometimes a lot. It seems that I get more selfish when I am down or troubled. Weird, right?
    I am so grateful that God is so understanding and He loves us even when we are behaving like spoiled brats…

    • Duane Scott

      Ah, I see that side of the coin, Cris. 

      Do we try to hoard the limited strength we have in ourselves? 

      When really, all strength comes from God? 

  12. Jess

    A paster once said there are three views of marriage: for Convience, as a Contract and for a Commitment.  My first one was for convience and very short.  This one is a commitment. 27+ years ago we burned the bridge that’s on the road to divorce court and must continually commit to each other.  Doing so isn’t always comfortable, but always necessary, and always worth it.

    I’ve learned there were some people, and activities, in my life that aren’t healthy to me, thus to us, and had to remove them from the my circle.  Roses must be cut back for the bush to grow and thrive.There have been jobs that always came home with one of us that had to be left.

    You and SG are CO CEOs of “Scott Marriage Inc.”, and God is the Chairman of your Board of Directors. Love, respect, commitment, honoring God, helping others and happines are your companies (personal/relationship) core values. How you accomplish that is your business (life) plan.

    One step at a time.  One hug at a time.  One “I love you” at a time. One “Dear Heavenly Father…” at a time.

    • Duane Scott

      If there is one thing I “get”, it’s business. 

      “You and SG are CO CEOs of “Scott Marriage Inc.”, and God is the Chairman of your Board of Directors.” — just makes me smile. 

      And this: “One step at a time.  One hug at a time.  One “I love you” at a time. One “Dear Heavenly Father…” at a time.” — would you mind providing me a link back to wherever you are so I can read more lovely words of yours? 

      Thank you! 

  13. HopeUnbroken

    yes.  and yes, and yes, and yes. 🙂
    the problem is, nurses get complained to a lot.  both by patients AND friends.  we are the listeners.  the go-to people.  to be heaped upon.  
    and the problem comes when i let that build and it comes pouring out onto the head of my unsuspecting husband, almost as if HE is the enemy 🙂  pour guy is getting better at predicting and preparing for those moments.  and over the 17 years of our marriage, he’s figured out how to draw me near rather than push me away, offering the comfort and respite i need in those moments.  
    and then i’m fine.  just. like. that.  it is a beautiful working out in this thing called marriage, and something that takes time and understanding and commitment and hard work.  
    but it’s not nearly so exhausting as all that whining. . . . . 🙂  or maybe i’m just getting less tolerant with age!
    loved hearing your thoughts on this, duane!

    • Duane Scott

      Yes, nurses DO get complained to a lot. However, those problems can be taken with a grain of salt because the patient isn’t feeling very well. 

      Predicting and preparing for a whine blowout? 

      Sounds like a storm one must need a storm shelter or underground man cave to hide in. 🙂 

  14. Shanyn Mystic

    Duane, my friend, you hit one outta the park with this one.  My goodness I don’t even know where to start, except to offer my friendship and prayers.  I hear you, and sometimes I feel that withdrawl from my hubby and wonder where we go from that chilly spot.  Warmth all around and right there, between us is an icy echo.  Your love for your Southern Gal shines, as does your love for the Lord. Bless you my friend.

    • Duane Scott

      Thank you, Shanyn… for your prayers and well wishes. 

  15. Ruth Johnson

    Hey M, it’s Ruth of the old Meditations from the Cardinals’ Nest days. Just wanted to let you know I read and sympathize. I think most of us these days – especially in our culture – are very whiny and yet hate to hear others whine. It’s easy for us to hear others’ grumpiness, see their weaknesses, and so forth, all the while thinking they are missing something and not pleasing God with the way they live, even as we are doing so ourselves! I’ve been facing LOTS of anger and bad attitudes lately (complaining, judging, not trying, getting defensive and arguing with everything); I’m bewildered about where all this is coming from and hating that it’s a part of my soul and life right now. But I feel, so gratefully and joyfully, that God is working through the trials – purging dross and purifying gold with His consuming fire. 

    Ever since Jesus went back to God, this world has been getting closer and closer to the end; the devil is working harder and harder, ESPECIALLY at those who claim to be God’s; and confusion, anger, rebellion, dissatisfaction, wandering, etc. are escalating. There are so many areas of my personal life, the lives of my family members, and the lives of others far from me that testify to this. I pray we will cling to God, seek Him, listen to Him with less and less hesitation, love Him and each other more, and pray for Him to “come quickly.”

    • Duane Scott

      Ruth! So, so nice to talk to you! 

      I think I got an email from you a while ago and I was so busy with finals that I couldn’t reply.  My inbox got so overflowing I finally just had to zero it one day. So sorry… 

      Anyway, Your last paragraph has me crawling toward the arms of the Father tonight.  And can I say? It is true. So very true. 

  16. pastordt

    Hey, Duane – we all whine from time to time. And the best place to do it is when we talk with God. Gradually, the whine dissipates to honest talk about our struggles and then God can remind us that not all of life is so bad. But that jumping in to carry the load when it really should not be yours to carry (like you in the pig barn) – well that’s not the most effective coping method, is it? 

    Sometimes all that’s really needed when someone dumps their troubles on you is to nod, sigh, say, “I’m so sorry,” offer a silent prayer (for them and for yourself!) and then move on. You’re not God, you can’t fix everyone and sometimes you do need a break from what begins to feel like a pile of problems that have nothing to do with you. So take a break from it every once in a while – and do something that speaks to how God has wired YOU. Sometimes a walk around the block, sitting in the sunshine, listening to some favorite music – is exactly what is needed to bring a few moments of respite/relief. And SG just needs to feel safe to let her own story spill out – she doesn’t need you to fix a thing. Honest – no fixing required, just sympathetic listening, nodding, um-hmming. Just that is a true gift at the end of a tough day.

    • Duane Scott

      Best advice of the day… I just want to bottle you up and shake a little bit of you around on the days I need a little clarity. 

      I have heard that sometimes the most spiritual thing a person can do for themselves is take a nap. 

      And I agree. 

    • soulstops

       Wise words, Diane…thanks for sharing, Duane…praying for you and SG.

  17. Beverley Bouchard

    This happens….rightly or wrongly we get or feel hurt/overlooked etc. We get tired and overwhelmed…we see only the problems. Its true in all of life….when we take our eyes off Jesus, it all crumbles. 

    This may help.. “Marriage is hard. In fact, God has used the contexts of marriage and motherhood to absolutely crucify my selfishness. But He designed marriage on purpose. He designed it to picture His love. Which is exactly why the enemy attacks marriage with fierce nastiness.” http://tooverflowing.com/a-simple-prayer-that-could-help-change-your-marriage/

    We have been married over 31 years…. marriage ebbs and flows, seasons of life cause hurried-ness and passing like ships in the night….but the coming back is so good. 

    (if you have to have a whiny moment or two….whine at Him, don’t let Satan get a foot hold)

    • Duane Scott

      Your comment was beautifully written, Beverley… like poetry, it flowed from your fingertips and heart. 

      And I find myself there, nodding in agreement with your quote about marriage. 

      I’m stepping over to look at that link. Thank you, thank you! 

  18. Larry Homan

    Duane, I feel your pain, bro. I have a natural tendency toward pessimism and always seeing the negative instead of the positive in any given situation. I have, for many years, been a very critical person. Unfortunatley, mostly to my family. Since I have known Christ, it has gotten better. But I often find myself reviewing conversations I’ve had with my wife or kids and realize I was saying hurtful things or using an angry tone of voice with the very ones I should be treating with respect and compassion.

    God has blessed me with a wife I don’t deserve. I often try to give advice when it is not asked for and stop listening far too soon, instead of allowing her to voice her opinions and just listen to what she has to say. She has been so patient with me over the years. We just celebrated our 9 year anniversary. I have been self employed for the past 3 years and it has caused considerable strain on our relationship.

    But I can be taught. And with God’s help, I am learning and growing through this time of transition… and so is my wife. I have seen tremendous growth in her since I was let go from my job. God has used our circumstances to get our attention and grow us closer to Him. I find that during the times of trial and tribulation, we will grow the most. God allows those things for His glory, that we may glorify His name as we turn to Him for strength and support, never frgetting who is REALLY in charge…and it’s not us.

    Allow this time of trial to bring you closer to Him, and closer to your wife as well. Blessings, brother.

    • Duane Scott

      It’s amazing Larry, that women put up with us at all. 🙂 

      Thank you for your words.  Self-employment is difficult! Lots of extra stresses… keep your eyes on God and those stresses aren’t nearly as bad.  

      I’m learning that, slowly… 

  19. Nikole Hahn

    Soooo….did you guys kiss and make up????? 

  20. Denise

    The way I see it, I’m thinking folks don’t get near enough fiber these days which can make them a tad grumpy. In addition, there’s a tremendous amount of fear, stress and pressure out there from bad nutrition to economic pressures. The world is in need of a Savior and those of us who know Him, need to set an example as to where we get our peace from. Marriage is about communication and trust just like any other relationship. So what is the answer that you are looking for? You can’t always be there for your wife nor she for you and that’s the way God designed us. Why not just ask her if she would like to pray together with you instead?

    • Duane Scott


      This has me cracking up today.  Although you have some very good thoughts, what is it in fiber that makes people happier? Is there science behind that? 


      • Denise

         I figure they might just be grumpy because they’re not “regular”. Pipes are clogged. 🙂 LOL!

        • Duane Scott

          Could definitely be a reason. 🙂 

  21. Zee Kleshchar

    Been there, done that. And the toughest thing for me is trying to listen (since I’m not good at talking, the least I can do is listen) and make everyone happy and… one just can’t make everyone happy. It isn’t possible. So I end up grumpy as well, mostly at myself because I failed and didn’t do what I thought was my job (making everyone happy…)… 

    Thanks for sharing God’s whisper, Duane. I needed that. 

  22. JourneyingSue

    Hi Duane, I just found you from reading your guest post on one of my followers blogs.  Anyway….I really enjoyed reading some of your posts.  I clicked on this- because I NEED to find out where to turn when marriage isn’t well, what I expect.  I know the answer, but it was so good to see it in print here…turn to the One who cares and apologize for whining!  So true.  So hard.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

why God created marriage [and where to turn when you aren’t happy]

by Duane Scott time to read: 5 min