The Happiness Connection  

Marriage and sunglasses

While walking down the sidewalk last week, I caught my toe on some uneven pavement.

The fall seemed to happen in slow motion. I remember my brain trying to find a way to regain my balance and keep the inevitable from happening.

As I picked myself up, blood pouring from the gash on my forehead, all I could focus on were my beautiful, purple, prescription Versace sunglasses, lying in two pieces at my feet. I had bought them on a whim, but they turned out to be one of my favourite purchases. Ever!

A lovely couple stopped to help me and gave me a ride home. As I sat, trying not to leave blood in their car, my mind mourned my loss more than my predicament. During the next few days, as I recounted the tale of my fall, I made sure to tell everyone that my Versaces had died so I could live.

With this belief in mind, imagine my consternation when my optometrist suggested that rather than saving me, my sunglasses had been the cause of my stitches and black eye.

I tried to dismiss the thought, but my husband pointed out how closely my injuries mimicked the shape of the lens. A trip to my doctor to have the stitches removed confirmed the unthinkable.

My beloved sunglasses hadn’t saved me from injury, they had caused the worst of it.

You might be wondering how this story has anything to do with relationships and happiness. Having different interpretations for the same set of circumstances is something that fills every aspect of life, including marriage.

Disagreements arise when two or more people view the same set of circumstances or actions, differently. In the case of my fall, I had the opportunity to see my Versace favourites as the villain or the hero of the piece; the choice was mine.

Finding middle ground when you and your partner have wildly different interpretations of the same situation is a conversation for another day. Today, I want you to understand that if your interpretation of something doesn’t make you happy, you can change it.

For some people, jumping to a positive conclusion is natural, but not for everyone. The good news is that you can learn to be more optimistic. Happiness comes from choosing a viewpoint that results in positive feelings, even if it isn’t the first belief that pops into your mind.

I recognize there may be people reading this thinking that my suggestion equals choosing to live in a world of make-believe, or fantasy. If that is your interpretation of this article, you can change that too.

The words on the page won’t be different, just how you accept and interpret them.

Is the glass half full or half empty?

Both are correct. If you are unhappy thinking that you are soon going to be without refreshment, change your thoughts and be grateful that you still have more to drink and trust that more will be available when you are ready for it.

This is an age-old principle, but one that is still dismissed or overlooked regularly. It is this knowledge that empowers you to create a happier life within your relationship and is a key to success for marriages that are stable and satisfying.

Let me give you a few relationship-based examples.

When your partner is having a bad day and is grumpier than usual, is it because:

  • They didn’t get enough sleep?
  • They are trying to ruin your day?
  • Something is happening that you don’t understand?
  • They aren’t feeling very well?

Any one of these may be true or it may be something different altogether. The only answer that is likely to cause trouble is if you believe they are trying to ruin your day. This is the choice that suggests a personal attack on you.

You may never know why they are acting the way they are, so choose to believe it is something that has nothing to do with you. If you know they are striking back at you for something, then choose to believe it is because they are angry, hurt, or scared, not because they don’t love you.

When your partner doesn’t remember your birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day etc. it is because:

  • Special occasions like this weren’t important in their upbringing, so they are easily overlooked?
  • They are pre-occupied with work, worries, or health concerns?
  • They prefer to celebrate randomly not on predefined days?
  • They don’t love you?

Choose an answer that makes you feel secure in your relationship.

If it is impossible for you to choose a happier belief, consider seeking professional assistance, or examine whether there is a future in your relationship. If what I’m suggesting seems impossible, it may be time to dig deeper.

By taking responsibility for your choices, you are respecting and empowering yourself. These are important qualities to have if you want to be happily married.

Anyone who wants to grow personally needs to look no further than their long-term romantic relationship. If you aren’t a natural optimist, your marriage will give you lots of opportunities to practise this skill.

Consciously giving each other the benefit of the doubt rather hanging on to a negative conclusion will go a long way to strengthening your connection.

Even though I know my sunglasses caused the worst of my injuries, I don’t think of them with anything but fondness. I choose to believe they were protecting my eyes from the sun and unintentionally caused me harm when I fell.

Of course, glasses have no ability to think or act, with or without intention, but I am a writer and I choose poetic licence.

More The Happiness Connection articles

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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