The Happiness Connection  

A marriage with self

There is no accounting for who you feel chemically attracted to. I swore I would never go out with anyone under six feet, and yet I married a man who an inch taller than me.

He is well under my stated minimum height requirement.

I’m sure many of you can relate to this phenomenon. Whatever you thought was important stops being important when your hormones get involved.

I’m not here to discuss chemistry. If you have ever been in love, you know what I’m talking about. That desire to be with someone, not because they tick all the boxes, but because you can’t control the flutter of your heart or your insatiable desire to be near them.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you will know that I believe there are many people you could have a passionate, strong, stable relationship with. Chemical matches are not a once in a lifetime occurrence.

Good marriages don’t come from finding the right person, they come from finding a positive way to approach and accept challenge, change, and growth within your partnership.

Although you may know with your head that great, long-term relationships take work regardless of who you are with, you may still believe in your heart that if you were with the right person, the process would be easy.

This is where list making comes into play. If you know all the best traits, you can find someone who ticks all the boxes and then life will be easy.

It’s a great theory until chemistry gets involved. I know I’m not the only person who shredded my list the minute I met my husband.

Even relationships that start out easy, may not stay that way forever. My honeymoon period was incredible, and I thought it would last forever.

Of course, it didn’t.

What do you do when you find yourself in a relationship full of strife, conflict, and frustration? Let me share what I believe changed the path of my relationship.

I started my marriage with the fairy-tale belief that my husband would make me happy. This is the philosophy that had been modelled for me and was all I knew.

My husband wasn’t interested in taking on that role, and that was the best thing that ever happened to me because eventually, decades later, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

I reached a point when I just couldn’t let my life go on along the same path for one more day. If my husband wasn’t going to step up to the plate and meet my every need, I was going to have to do it for myself.

That is the moment I turned my life and my relationship around. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I had stumbled onto the key to living a satisfying life.

I am responsible for my own happiness and you are responsible for yours.

My husband instinctively knew this. I suspect that is one of the things that made me so angry in our relationship. He would decide what he wanted and go get it. I thought he should be figuring out what I wanted and then make that happen.

Making yourself happy may sound radical, selfish, or lacking in team spirit, but it is far from it. By treating yourself the way you want other people to treat you and relying on yourself to create the life you want, you are empowering yourself.

If you want to be happy, figure out what that means to you and then act to make your vision a reality.

It is common for people who want their partner to treat them far better than they treat themselves.

  • Do you get annoyed if your spouse is unkind to you and yet accept your own behaviour of self-criticism?
  • Do you want to be loved and yet find it impossible to love yourself?
  • Is self-care at the bottom of your priority list even though you expect your partner to put it at the top of his?

Expecting another person to meet the needs you can’t meet for yourself will ensure you are in a vulnerable position. You may be lucky and have a partner who is happy to meet all your needs, but what happens if they disappear from your life?

I started thinking about what would make me happy and how I wanted my life to look. I then actively started to create what I wanted.

Because I was leaning on myself and I knew what I was trying to achieve, I stopped putting all my expectations for happiness on my husband’s shoulders. As soon as he stopped feeling pressured to be my everything, he started being there for me because he wanted to, not because he had to.

I’d love to finish this column with “and they lived happily ever after” but that would be a lie.

Life is constantly changing, and we must change with it if we want to survive. Taking control of my happiness didn’t mark the beginning of never-ending bliss, but it did mark a whole new and happier chapter in our relationship.

If you are looking to start a new relationship or you want to improve an existing one, the key to success is personal development. Discover what you want for your life, what makes you happy, and what past events you still need to work through and let go. If you need help, find a life-coach.

There are many good ones around.

Instead of creating a list of what you want your current or future partner to be like, create a list of what you want to be like and how you can be happier.

You are responsible for your own happiness so step up and be the creator of your own destiny.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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