Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Letter to Joy: On The Names I Call You

Dear Joy Babe,

I’ll never know what it feels like to go through life being named after one of the Fruits of the Spirit. No name is impervious to pokes of fun, and yours has definitely had its share of winks and giggles—not because people don't like your name, but because of its great pun potential.

People even crack wise at me about your name, as if I’ve never heard any of the jokes. It’s been happening since before we were dating. 

One time before a chapel service in college, my friends all knew I wanted to ask you out on a date. Just as they were razzing me right there in the pew about my lack of courage, the song leader stood up and opened the service with You Shall Go Out With Joy.“It’s divine prophecy, Scotty,” they said.

That would never happen to an Annabelle, or a Lillian.

Although I’ve always loved your name, I don’t call you Joy that much. I think I refrain from it because it's such a tough name to live up to. It seems insensitive to say, “What’s wrong, Joy?” when I find you feeling rather joyless. In those moments, calling you Joy seems more like irony than intimacy.

So what do I call you? My subliminal style guide is simple: 
  • I call you Joy when I’m talking to friends, family and acquaintances about you. 
  • I call you Mommy when I’m talking to the kids about you. 
  • I call you Babe in 99.9% of our casual, everyday interactions. 
  • I call you Honey when I am getting impatient with you. 
(That last one is not something I’m proud of.)

I chose to call you Babe because I want to be the only person in the world who calls you what I call you. And whether I call you Joy, Babe or Mommy, you’re still the one person on this planet who brings me the most Joy happiness. 

See? I almost slip sometimes, too.

I got you, Babe,


On Mondays, Joy (don’t miss her letter this week) and I join Seth and Amber Haines as they fight the good fight for their marriage. They call this weekly series “Marriage Letters” and pray that it encourages each of us in our own hard work of marriage. Next week's prompt is “I Trust You Because.” You can join us any time with your own letter to your spouse, whether you both write or blog or not. Amber hosts a link-up on her blog, so we hope you’ll share your letter there!


  1. You? Impatient? With me? Inconceivable.

    (I dunno - a Princess Bride reference just seemed to fit there.)

  2. As a fellow 'Joy', this is making me smile. Especially the divine prophecy part...I can't tell you how many times my husband has teased me with similar songs. And thank you for acknowledging the whole joy v. unhappy paradox...I can't tell you how many times I've had someone say to me: "Why are you sad/angry/downcast/etc, you're named Joy! You should be happy!" (And then I want to throw something and be really un-joy-ful. Hee.)

  3. "You shall go out with Joy..." Priceless.


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