Husbands can help you to be happy, but you must be sure you are doing your part in order to get the best from them.
Our expectations are the single biggest factor in our happiness. They influence not only how we feel, but they also influence how we behave. For example, there is a big difference between women who have been married before and women who are married for the first time. Newly married couples go through a honeymoon period, followed by a disillusionment period. Getting married has many major adjustments that they just don’t expect. Women who remarry have more realistic expectations and easier adjustment. They will be more accepting of small differences and less prone to try to “fix up“ their husbands into their ideal image of what a married man should be. Here are your first two keys to enjoying your husband:
- Have realistic expectations
- Don’t try to fix him up
How to adjust your expectations so you can be more happy with your husband
I’m not talking about lowering your expectations, I’m talking about changing them. The best expectation to change is that it is somehow your husband’s job to make you happy. The main reason that is a poor expectation is that he can’t. When you are happy, you will enjoy your husband more. When you are unhappy, you will enjoy your husband less–no matter how much he does for you, no matter how many nice words he says to you, and no matter what promises he makes. Not only that, but your unhappiness will pull him down just as surely as his unhappiness would pull you down.
It is not his job to make you happy
We marry to share happiness–not to become happy
What this means is that if there is something missing from your life that you need to be happy, it is your job to work on getting it, so that you can share your happiness with your husband. Ideally you would do this before even seeking a marriage partner. If the only way you can be happy is by being with your husband or having him do things for you, then you are also going to blame him every time you feel unhappy. It is going to upset you when he does something without you and it is going to upset you if he is happy and you are not.
Two more keys to getting the best out of your husband:
- Have a fulfilling life apart from your husband–friends, hobbies, career, relationship with God, etc.
- Share your happiness, rather than your problems, with your husband.
If you think back to your early dating days, wasn’t this what you were doing? Remember how much both you and your husband looked forward to being together? The idea that we need to bring our problems to our spouse is not one that works very well.
Your husband did not cause your problems
If you are lonely, your husband did not cause that. There are plenty of people in this world to connect with. Are you unfulfilled? Your husband didn’t cause that either–there are plenty of things in this world to do. And your husband cannot stop you from doing any of them. Are you feeling stuck? Your husband is not keeping you stuck–you have choices. This leads us to the next key:
- Take responsibility for your past, your present, and your future.
You chose your husband when you could have chosen someone else. You have chosen how you treat him, which influences how much he desires to be with you. You are choosing to be with him today and how you will respond to him the next time you see him. You have a lot of power to completely change your relationship, just by changing the way you interact with your husband.
Choose to behave in a way that creates love, makes him enjoy talking with you, and earns you respect
We create love not by demanding it, but by loving first. How loved are you making your husband feel with your words and actions? How consistent are you in doing that? Those two answers are going to determine mostly how much love you get in return. How much do you show interest and empathize and agree with him? Do you treat him the way you would if you were single and first dating him? Are you talking to him the way another woman would if she were interested in having a relationship with him? Respect is earned not by complaining or controlling, but by using proper boundaries. By refusing to put up with mistreatment while also NOT arguing. You will never get to respect by arguing. If you have a problem with arguing, I recommend my book, Connecting Through Yes!
Failure to be loving and to use good boundaries are the most common reasons for unhappiness in marriage
My coaching clients work on precisely these two things. It is really hard to be loving if you are angry and resentful, so having good boundaries to deal with the bad behaviors is essential. You will not be a victim of bad behaviors if you have good boundaries for stopping them. And, you won’t get so much bad behavior from your husband if you can help him to enjoy you again.
Relationships can NEVER be put on hold for children or career
Many women have the unrealistic expectation that they can neglect their husband’s emotional and physical needs while they focus on raising their children or developing their career. This is no more true than thinking that you can neglect your car’s need for gas and oil, or neglect the IRS’s demands that you pay your taxes. Having children or career does not relieve you of the responsibility to love your husband and maintain your relationship with him. If you do not, then you are not likely to have a husband by the time your children reach 10 years old.
Basic maintenance of a relationship includes these three things:
- Going out on a date once a week (one on one, without the children)
- Spending one on one time together every day
- Have a sex life that is enjoyable to both of you
Many women have been unwilling to use a babysitter for their children only to end up with a husband who starts dating someone else. The risk to your children is far greater if you don’t use a babysitter than if you do. And, do NOT let your children sleep with you. This alone has led to the end of many relationships.
Becoming happy again does not mean ending your relationship
It usually means becoming more like the woman you were when you first got to know your husband. The woman who believed in herself. The woman who loved her husband more than she needed him. The woman who could pick up the pieces and move on if she had to. When you are that woman, then you will be in a better position to get what you want out of your life and to share your happiness with your husband rather than expecting him to make you happy.
There is a big difference between loving someone and needing someone
They are not the same thing. When we need someone, we can’t be happy without them. This is much like an addict not being able to feel good without a drug. You will spend most of your time not feeling good, but just avoiding feeling bad. You will end up making your husband feel like he is not good enough for you or make him feel tired having to take care of your insecurities. Men don’t like that job. Men want to enjoy their relationships just like women do. Loving someone is more like the person who likes to have a nice cold drink on a hot day. They don’t feel miserable without it (no addiction), but it is so good when they have it. If your neediness is making your life or your husband’s life miserable, I recommend you start with this book: Overcome Neediness and Get the Love You Want. You will find many things you can change about yourself to help both you and your husband be happier in your marriage.