My husband doesn’t make me happy. I would like to tell you that there was a time when he did make me happy, but the truth is that he has never made me happy. There was a time when I wanted to believe that he made me happy. I bet you believe (or have believed) the same about your husband, but, hopefully, you’ve finally admitted (at least to yourself) that your husband doesn’t make you happy. The good news is that realizing this important fact about your husband is the first step toward an fulfilling relationship!
That’s right, ladies! Once you admit that your husband doesn’t make you happy, you can stop looking to him to provide your happiness for you and instead start looking to the one person on this planet who can make you happy: YOU!
My Husband Doesn’t Make Me Sad
One phrase I saw repeated over and over by therapy clients was , “He/She doesn’t make me happy.” They might be talking about their partner or their parent, their child or even a friend. It caused me wonder just how other people were given the responsibility of making my clients happy. Who gave that responsibility to them? Why do people expect other people to provide them with happiness?
I expect a lot of things from my husband. Respect is a must. Support is required. Patience is nice. Loyalty is essential. Faithfulness is a necessity. But happiness? That’s not part of the deal.
Now, that’s not to say that my husband doesn’t go out of his way to do things that bring me happiness. He does a lot of things that make me feel cherished, appreciated, admired and loved.
He refrains from trying to intentionally bring me sadness, as well. But that’s not why he doesn’t make me sad. He doesn’t make me sad because I am the owner of my feelings. Only I can decide if I’m sad or happy or angry or annoyed.
What if it was impossible for your husband to make you happy or sad? What if it simply wasn’t something he had the power to do? What if you, and only you, were responsible for your emotions and you were the only one who got to decide how you felt?
Guess what, buttercup? You are the only one who gets to decide how you feel. Not your husband. Not your children. Not even your mother. Just you.
How absolutely freeing is that?
For me (and for my marriage) it was the best realization I’ve ever had!
Be The Owner of Your Own Emotions
You may be asking, “If my husband can’t make me happy, then what’s the point of marriage?” or “If my husband can’t make me sad, then why do I feel so down when he does _____?”
It’s because you are human and you do feel emotions. When someone behaves toward you in a way that is hurtful, you feel hurt. This is a good indicator of whether or not you should be around that person. If you consistently feel sad when you are around your husband, you have to ask yourself if he is a healthy person to share your life with. That is what marriage is about — sharing your life with someone; partnering with your person; having a witness to your life.
Listen to your emotions. They are an excellent compass. When something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right. It is your responsibility to move yourself from a place of emotional dis-ease to a place of emotional health. Not your husband’s.
If you aren’t happy, you need to take the steps to create happiness for yourself. Your husband can’t do that for you. If you came into marriage expecting your husband to be a constant source of happiness for you, you have put a lot of pressure on him and you have set yourself up for disappointment.
Do I Make My Husband Happy?
I know that we often go out of our way to bring happiness to our husbands. We tend more toward people-pleasing and constantly consider ways to add to their happiness. Many times they don’t even notice when we’ve gone out of our way for them. And that certainly doesn’t make us happy!
The great news is that when you stop expecting your husband to make you happy, you can also take the responsibility of your husband’s happiness off of your shoulders. Now, you can simply do things for him because you love him instead of hoping that what you’re doing will make him happy. His happiness is not your burden to bear — it’s his!
Most emotionally healthy people naturally want to do things that add to the happiness of those about whom they care. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s when you stop taking responsibility for your own happiness or when you take too much responsibility for someone else’s happiness that you will find yourself becoming less and less happy.
How to Make Yourself Happy in Your Marriage
1. Assign Positive Intent
I talk about assigning positive intent to others’ words and actions often. You can save yourself a lot of unnecessary heartache and keep your relationships drama-free if you simply assume that others’ words and actions are meant in a positive manner, or at least a neutral manner.
For example, your husband is not trying to make you crazy by leaving his socks on the floor. He is not doing that to intentionally mess with you. He’s doing that because picking up his socks is not on his list of important things to do. That’s it. No malice intended. Either remind him (nicely!) every time it happens, pick them up for him or get over it and go be happy.
2. Get a Hobby
Does that sound harsh? It’s not intended to be. It’s a very real, very helpful suggestion. What, outside of your relationship with your husband, brings you joy? Do more of that.
Practice better self-care. Reach out to others via volunteer work. Take classes to better a skill you have or to add to your education.
3. Figure Out What Your Emotional Needs Are
Simply tossing a general, “You don’t make me happy.” in your husband’s direction doesn’t help him to show you love in a way that is more meaningful to you. Tell him tangible things he can do when he wants to show you how much he cares for you.
Do you need him bring you flowers? Should he vacuum the living room? Give you a massage? Sit and listen to you talk about your day?
If you don’t know what you need from him, then how is he supposed know? Spend some time figuring out what makes you tick and then tell him. Be straightforward and don’t play coy games. If you need him to massage your right third toe while singing Let It Go in his best cookie monster voice, then tell him exactly that. Do not make him guess. That only sets him up for failure and you for disappointment.
4. Don’t Expect to Always be Happy
No one is happy all of the time. For us ladies, our hormone shifts can cause us to feel inexplicably unhappy from time to time. Do both you and your man a favor by keeping track of your cycle. You will probably notice that between ovulation and the first day of your next cycle, your husband has a much more difficult time staying on your good side. When I’m ovulating, my husband can do no wrong. A week before my period, however, nothing he does is right. I’ve learned to steer clear of him during those times when I have nothing positive to say about anything. He has learned to consult his calendar when he’s feeling unjustly accused of treachery.
You are an emotional creature. Whether it’s hormones or a major life transition or just a bad day, you are not always going to be happy. Marriage isn’t a cure-all for life’s ups and downs. Your husband, strong and brave as he may be, is not the defender of your happiness. You, also brave and strong, are the defender and curator of your happiness — and no one else’s.
This post was originally featured on Allison’s blog, Our Small Hours. Photo via.