Have you ever read a book that just gob smacked you? You just knew the author wrote it for you at just the time you needed it? That’s how I felt when I began Cynthia Ruchti’s book Spouse in the House. And that’s when I realized, I wasn’t the only one who had had to adjust to having a spouse in the house all the time! That’s when I decided to have Cynthia as a guest on Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast. We talked about how to thrive in marriage with a spouse in the house. But lest readers think authors never have to revisit their own work and their own revelations, Cynthia shares more here about how she continues to navigate a marriage with a spouse in the house 24/7.
Be sure to read to the end for a book giveaway!
(If there are affiliate links in this post, meaning, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you)).
The Power of Gratitude (and Noise-Canceling Headphones) with a Spouse in the House
By Cynthia Ruchti
Let me preface my comments with this statement: I am not old enough for this. Yes, like all alive people, I’m aging. But because of unique circumstances, I calculated today that I have had a home-all-the-time husband for most of the past 22 years.
Also, I’ve worked from home or conducted ministry from our house that…whole…time.
You’d think I’d be better at the 24/7 thing by now.
Spouse in the house
My husband was forced into an extremely early retirement, then worked part-time for a while, then had a debilitating accident, then worked a much lighter part-time schedule, then retired his lunch pail (or cooler).
Every single year of our marriage, and every year of this extended on again off again 24/7 arrangement, I’ve learned something new about myself, about him, and about what works and doesn’t work when there’s always a spouse in the house.
This week, the breakthrough was the power of gratitude. And the wonder of noise-canceling headphones. Somehow God thought it wise to pair a sports-lover with a sports-barely-tolerator. No matter the season—not marked by months but by which sport is currently televised: baseball, pro football, college football, pro basketball, college basketball—few days of the week don’t offer something for a sports-lover’s viewing pleasure.
The gift of noise-canceling headphones
Hence, God’s gift of noise-canceling headphones. I can be near my husband but unaffected by the games that don’t interest me (I do cheer for several teams, so it’s not that I’m an extremist).
This week, I’ve grabbed the noise-canceling headphones during my husband’s phone calls with a hard-of-hearing friend, his phone calls that necessitated a long wait-time of unpleasant music on speaker phone, and I’ve lost track of how many games that mattered to him and did not matter to me.
Mattered to him. If I’d been motivated by “fairness” or “even-Stephen,” I might have demanded equal time with the remote, or insisted that he not enjoy those activities during the times of day that require quiet for concentration on my work.
They mattered to him. Our solution was the investment in high quality headphones. They’re an act of love, not distancing.
It’s been a big week in that arena. Two spouse-in-the-house reminders for me.
The power of gratitude
I caught myself telling God I was thankful for my husband’s diligence in taking over emptying the dishwasher. But I’d neglected to tell my husband about my gratitude for him.
Easy fix. I told him. Then told him another time that I appreciate his feeding the outdoor wood boiler and keeping our house warm in winter. Then I told him “Thanks for doing that” when he emptied the garbage, which has traditionally been his domain for more years than I can count.
Gratitude begets gratitude. And interestingly, gratitude begets hope. A little seed of tension tried to wiggle its way between us this week. I launched a gratitude missile and the tension was eliminated before it could work its destruction. I could almost hear God cheering. And I viscerally felt hope rise because I’d chosen to reinstitute an effective tool to make the 24/7-ness of our togetherness a more peaceful environment.
A little gratitude…and good quality headphones…can change the atmosphere.
About Cynthia Ruchti
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-hope through novels, nonfiction, and speaking events for women or writers. Since 2010, she’s released 37 books. Cynthia is a senior literary agent with Books and Such Literary Management. She and her husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three kids and six grandkids.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, Cynthia is giving away a free copy of her book Spouse in the House: Rearranging Our Attitudes to Make Room for Each Other.
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about how you can change the atmosphere in your home with a little bit of gratitude and you will be entered into the contest for your chance to win a copy of her book.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, June 5, 2023. Continental United States only.