My Secret To A Happy Marriage
While I did in fact hit the husband jackpot, I had made massive changes in my life before we met that ultimately contributed to an incredibly fulfilling love and relationship.
The best way for me to tell you how to build an amazing marriage is to tell you a few of the nine-hundred-million ways I completely f-ed up every relationship before I met my soulmate.
Can you relate to any of these thoughts?
- Why is it so hard to take the gd trash out.
- When he goes out to golf/fish/drink/anything all day I feel like it’s more important than me.
- Why is he on his phone so much, is he talking to someone else? Maybe that’s why he’s not coming to bed with me at night.
- I want him to WANT to do the dishes with me.
- Apparently I’m the only one who can do laundry around here.
- Clearly football comes before doing one simple thing I asked him to do a week ago.
- Does he even care that I’m stressed out?
- Why won’t he talk to me?
- He’s being such a dick right now.
- He’s never romantic.
- He never wants to do anything I want to do.
- If he really cared about me he’d plan a vacation/date/anything.
- Why won’t he support my career/family/money goals?
Guess what every one of those thoughts did for me? It was a first class ticket to hell. Or, at least what I thought was hell because HE didn’t, or wouldn’t, do the things I wanted and thus, I was one unhappy B. I. T. C. H.
There was only one way out of that mess. And I did it. I became the person I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Moody, short, distant, manipulative, controlling, pissed off (all. the. time.) and worst of all, I couldn’t see that I’d given 100% of my power away thinking HE was responsible for how I felt. I was miserable.
The fact of the matter was I had an ultra-complicated, super-intricate and detailed (af) MANUAL for whomever I was in a relationship with. My “Secret Manual” stated: if he really loved me he would do things to make me feel safe, important, excited, cared for, fulfilled, whole. There’s just one little problem with my Manual – nobody knew it existed and (shocker) I was perpetually very unhappy with our relationship.
Where does the Manual come from?
Life. The same way we have all experienced life – the good, the bad, and the ugly – we’ve all drafted an unconscious Manual that outlines how OTHER PEOPLE are supposed to act, what they are supposed to do or say, and how their choices or behaviors will affect our happiness.
The truth is, you don’t have control over another person and, to be honest, there’s NOTHING the other person could do to make you as happy as you want to be. Ever. EVER. Your partner certainly has the ability to contribute to your happiness (or unhappiness) but if your emotional life is tied to someone else’s behavior you’ve given all your power away.
He is not responsible for your happiness, and you are not responsible for his.
So let’s go back to that original list of negative thoughts at the top of this post. If you’re thinking “when he goes out to [fill in the blank thing that takes him away from you] all day I feel like [said thing] is more important than I am” you’ve let your ability to enjoy your day be determined by your partners decisions, choices or actions. I’m not suggesting you have to LIKE that he was gone all day, but letting his decision (that you have no control over) affect you is where trouble starts.
Don’t get it twisted – you have every right to make a request of someone. Your request could be: please don’t slam the door, please take the trash out, please come home after work, please help me with the housework, please chew with your mouth closed, please help me do the dishes, please drive slower, please plan a date night, please spend more time with me – you name it, you can request it! But, if THEIR capacity to meet YOUR need is directly tied to your ability to be happy, we’ve got a problem sis. When you can consciously remove your need for someone else to perform a particular action, or provide you with something in your secret Manual for you to be happy, your world will spin on its head.
The Secret Sauce
Putting the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket then wondering why it’s not working is like being pissed off when the cookies aren’t baking but you haven’t turn the oven on. It doesn’t work and you’re inevitably going to be disappointed.
A happy, resilient, safe and fulfilling relationship begins when you take full responsibility for YOUR thoughts, YOUR feelings and YOUR behaviors AND it will create dramatic results in your life. My happiness is NOT dependent on my partner making me happy. That’s my job.
Maybe today was a hard day. You’ve been up since 5am, spent the entire day in meetings trying to communicate with people who clearly missed the class in school about common sense. You fought 2 hours of traffic, missed lunch, and didn’t pee all day. Yep, I agree, that’s a shitty day. It would be wonderful if your partner had thought ahead about what to make for dinner or, ran an errand that needed to be completed, but, let me offer you this: if he didn’t do those things, how would it affect your mood? Is it fun to be pissed off and in a shitty mood when you get home to your husband? Not really. Does anyone benefit from your unhappiness? Probably not. It only creates tension and frustration in your relationship and it certainly doesn’t foster healthy communication to make a respectful request in the future. Ask for 30 minutes to yourself. Sit quietly, go for a walk, take a shower, pet your dog, do anything you want because when that 30 minutes is over, you need to be a good partner. It’s not his fault you’ve had a long day. Don’t let the rest of your evening and the precious little time you have with your husband suffer because you had a shitty day.
After a buck-tillion screw ups in relationships with perfectly wonderful people who I, unknowingly, had a Manual for, I took my power back and held ONLY MYSELF accountable to make me feel happy, fulfilled or safe. Game changer!
The secret to a happy and thriving relationship? YOU! When you stop making your partner responsible for your happiness you rise up stronger than ever. Only then will you truly be able to fulfill one another living a life you deeply cherish resulting in an amazing and happy marriage.