MANY FAIRY TALES END “AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER”.
But marriage is not a fairy tale. In the early days of your relationship, you probably spent more happy times together than not. Otherwise, why get married?
So it can come as a shock when you realize that you may not be as happy as you once were. And you begin to think that you may have made the wrong choice. In fact, your friends (and society as a whole) may encourage you to leave. Because “life is short.”
HAPPINESS IS A BY-PRODUCT OF MARRIAGE, NOT ITS FOUNDATION.
There are two reasons for this.
FIRST, HAPPINESS COMES AND GOES.
If you are happy all the time, that’s just your normal.
SECOND, HAPPINESS IS AN INSIDE JOB.
And in what may seem a contradiction to the above, you can choose to be happy at any time, regardless of what’s going on in your life.
There is evidence that married people are happier than unmarried ones. This is probably because the best predictor of happiness is the quality of your social relationships. In fact, research shows that people are happiest when they are having sex and talking. Benefits of a good relationship.
But focusing on your personal happiness is sure to lead to disappointment. And, if you emphasize it too much, you risk losing your marriage.
ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS I HEAR IS WHEN ONE PARENT ENDS THE MARRIAGE BECAUSE THEY AREN’T “HAPPY”.
I want to ask why they think it’s okay to risk their children’s security and emotional safety because the parent isn’t “happy”. When I’ve talked to the kids later, I have never heard one say that they are so glad mom or dad upended their lives so that they could be “happy”. And make no mistake, your children will be paying the price for your “happiness”.
Now there are some marriages that do need to end. But not as many that actually do and not because of what could be a temporary state of unhappiness.
And those children you have? They are the cause of much of your stress and distress. Again, research shows that both marital and personal happiness falls for both men and women once the first child is born. But instead of protecting your marriage—which is what your children want and need—you focus on what you’re not getting from your spouse.
YOU CAN MAKE IT BETTER
But the truth is that couples who stick it out together for at least another five years find that things improve. And, you always have the option to make your relationship better. It helps if you can put some of your focus on what is actually going well instead of what is not. If you look for the negative, you will find it. Same is true of the positive.
The choice to feed your happiness, or starve it, is up to you. But your personal beliefs about marriage and happiness may be getting in the way.
Bad Marriage Advice #1: Beware Who Is Giving the Advice
Previously Published on The Hero Husband Project