After some trial and error, my hubby and I have a blissful, happy marriage, and we both know why. We share a basic understanding that goes something like this:
It’s not his job to make me happy, and it’s not my job to make him happy.
Happiness is an inside job
Some of us want our partner to be responsible for our well being. We blame them for our misery and credit them with our joy, when the truth is, our misery and our joy are far beyond their ability to control. We need to find those things within ourselves.
Our approach is simple. We figure we’ll have 80 or 90 years here on planet Earth in this lifetime. We further figure we have the absolute right, maybe even the obligation, to live those years doing what we most want to be doing. If that means I spend all day planting flowers or writing words, and he spends all day welding metal and souping up cars, that’s okay. Nobody is going to give anybody any guilt about how we choose to spend our time.
I can be happy doing my own thing, and he can be happy doing his, and it’s sincere and deep and real.
Our time together
As a result, when we spend time together, we enjoy each other immensely. We don’t spend our time together complaining about the time we didn’t spend together or giving each other grief over stuff. We don’t bicker, we praise. We talk about our lives, our projects, our dreams and goals. We have fun together. We uplift each other and never tear each other down. And there is never any of that accusing going on. “You made me feel bad.” No one can make me feel anything. I choose my own feelings.
Focus on the good
If we pay attention to every little thing our partner does that irritates us, we will draw from them more things that irritate. And those little things will grow into big things, and sooner or later, the relationship will become one of misery.
What’s sad about this is that the same person doing all those irritating things, was also doing lots of wonderful things, and behaving in lots of wonderful ways. Nobody is all one way or the other. Everyone has good qualities as well as less than ideal ones. And this person must’ve had some too, or we’d never have fallen for him.
If we do the opposite, focus on the things we love about our partner, and ignore or laugh off the things we find irritating, those irritating things shrivel and die from lack of attention. And the good things grow and multiply.
Decide to make it work--then make it work
Any relationship can benefit from these simple practices. All you have to do is decide to to try, and then go ahead and do it.
- Praise instead of criticizing. Respect your partner’s right to spend time doing what he loves, with or without you.
- Claim and exercise your right to spend time doing what you love, with or without him.
- Don’t hang your happiness and well being on his shoulders. That’s your job.
- Don’t let him hang his happiness on your shoulders. That’s his job.
- Focus solely on the things you love about this person.
- Focus not one single bit on things that irritate you about this person.
- Relax and don’t take things so seriously. Life is supposed to be fun.
Happy Valentine's Day