Why do so many of us buy into the myth that marriage should make us happy?
Glad to see how the marriage has evolved.
It used to be much more transactional – mostly happening to promote economic benefits or social standing or to produce children, but nowadays people typically choose to legally commit to each other for much nobler goals.
More and more people marry with the intention of experiencing lasting love and companionship.
Unfortunately, many women I know to get married and somehow, perhaps unconsciously, expect their husbands to make them happy.
When things get tough – and they always do – rather than looking at where they might be going wrong, many women point the finger at their partners.
They blame them for the problems in their relationship.
“If he would just pay more attention to me, our marriage would be great!” or “If she just helped out more around the house, things would be so much better.”
Frustrated and hurt, these women compound problems in their relationships by judging and criticizing their partners.
Then the punishment increases and they withdraw and retain affection, and attention.
“He can make his own damn dinner!”
“Your clothes can mildew in the washing machine I want the hell to go!”
“I don’t give a damn what he does.
I’m right and he’s wrong!
So many women sit on judgment and righteousness while their relationship slips.
They expect a near-perfect image of themselves, someone who agrees with them and who behaves the way they want them to behave.
These women let their hurt and anger get in the way of their relationships.
Small resentments turn into poison darts.
Dishes over the dishes become biblical.
But fights are almost never about the dishes.
Fights are about not feeling well taken care of, about feeling taken advantage of, about not feeling heard or seen.
They just don’t feel loved or appreciated enough by their spouse.
Often these women – even the strongest, smartest, and most independent – strangely believe that if they inflict enough pain back on their partners or have enough control over them, they will suddenly get what they want.
Instead, the opposite usually happens.
Their partners – not feeling loved enough and tired of feeling annoyed, controlled, and criticized – do the opposite.
They withdraw and hang up.
And the cycle of drama and dysfunction only gets more vicious and prolonged.
It becomes uglier and more painful.
It’s like that old prophetic sticker: the beatings will continue until morale improves.
But morale never improves!
Treating someone badly is never going to give you what you want – at least not in a healthy relationship based on trust and security.
You can fight.
You can scream.
You can deny it.
You can sit there in your judgment, running the narrative in your head over and over again about how you are right and how he is wrong, wrong, wrong.
What a selfish idiot he is.
A frustrating idiot.
An indifferent maniacal ego.
But Let Me Ask: How Is This Working For You?
Does it really give you what you want?
I know this unhealthy and dysfunctional pattern all too well.
I used to be that woman who felt hurt, angry, invisible, and inaudible.
I also didn’t feel loved enough by my husband.
What did I do?
Looking back, I admit I did something crazy.
And that sucks.
Why did I always think that punishing my husband by pulling away from him and harboring resentments would NEVER give me what I wanted?
How could I think that punishing him and pulling away from him would give me more love, attention, love, and affection?
This is self-sabotage.
Why do so many of us do this?
Why did you do that?
Miss, If You Want To Be Happy In Your Marriage, Make It Your Job To Make Your Husband Happy.
Stop waiting for someone to go first, comfort your hurts, love you perfectly, make you happy, or – God forbid – “complete” you.
My marriage has brought me to my knees.
I was with someone who was brilliant, generous, funny, charming, and more.
But, Jesus, how we push each other’s buttons.
The pain I felt in our relationship as a result was excruciating.
After FINALLY discovering that punishing him for my hurt gave me the opposite of what I wanted, I came to the last possible conclusion.
I decided I needed to change.
I decided to try more love and tenderness and less judgment and punishment.
I decided to do everything I could to make him happy and to feed and nurture our marriage.
A mentor of mine said something brilliant to me: “Trying to change another person is an act of aggression.
Trying to change yourself is an act of love.
It took me a long time to understand this and act accordingly.
I Now Know That Love Begins With Me. And That Changed Everything.
I decided to put 150 percent of myself into our relationship and not sit around waiting for love to wash over me.
I stopped waiting for someone to make me happy.
What happened as a result was brilliant.
I started tuning into my husband a lot more actively – prioritizing him, touching him often (holding his hand, sitting closer to him, hugging him, rubbing his shoulders, etc.), more actively praising and appreciating him, and – crucially – not letting my ego get the better of me and not letting my need to be right lead to Armageddon.
As a result, I was able to get the best out of my husband.
Our relationship has become light-years better and I feel so much happier and empowered.
Now, it must be said: If you really make it your job to make your partner happy and he exploits your efforts or never truly reciprocates – never finding his love with love – you may be in a scenario where either break up is possible.
Despite all your best efforts, you may be with someone who is unable or unwilling to love you back and you will likely need to end the relationship.
If you’re willing to do the work and put the love in; If you’re willing to open your heart and mind to the idea that love starts with you, and it’s your job to make someone else happy, radical acceptance can transform your relationship too!