When a spouse takes the responsibility for their mate’s happiness problems are bound to arise. The flipside of that coin, and just as unreasonable, is the spouse who expects their mate to make them happy. This is an interesting but absolutely implausible belief founded in faulty thinking. First off, do you really have that much power, the power to make others happy? Some people believe so. Happiness as an attitude; it is a matter of personal choice. This is not to say that things won’t happen to you that will make you unhappy, but that is situational and involves temporary setbacks. These tend to be short-term, and you don’t live your life there.
Unfortunately, some people live their lives unhappily as a matter of choice. Your obligation is to honestly assess how much your behavior contributes to their unhappiness—things you are responsible for.
Secondly, a problem arises when we view our marriage through a filter of faulty beliefs that put our spouse in a “no win” situation. When we do not consider the validity of our beliefs, when we simply accept them as they are—without understanding they may come from dysfunctional roots—we leave ourselves open to taking things personally. When we operate in our default mode we tend to view all of life’s events from only our own perspective (healthy or not), rather than challenge our beliefs or consider the perspective of others.
We stack the deck against our spouse when we take everything personally and expect our spouse to make us happy. It’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy! Consider that maybe there is a greater call that ultimately results in happiness. Remember that your perception of the outward appearance can be skewed (just food for thought).
When you expect others to make you happy, what does that say about you? Nobody is perfect. Do you ever feel validated when someone lets you down? In other words, do get some sort of satisfaction when someone fails you (example: “I knew it would happen eventually!”)? Are you always looking for the “other shoe to drop” in your relationships? Could you ever live up to your own expectations of yourself? Although it sounds noble, “I never expect anything out of anyone else that I don’t expect out of myself,” are excessively hard on yourself…on others? Where does that attitude come from?
©2014 Eric A. Disney, Marriage by Design
Ready to Reactivate Your Marriage? Click on the “About the Book” tab to learn more about Marriage by Design: The Keys to Create, Cultivate and Claim the Marriage You’ve Always Wanted