The honeymoon is over. You’ve settled into the routine of life. Small irritations and disappointments seem all too common. Life, and married life in particular, seems harder than you expected. And when you and/or your spouse come home after a challenging day, you’re in a bad mood.
Your mood affects your spouse powerfully. What kind of person does your spouse encounter at the end of the day? One who is chronically unhappy? Prickly? Demanding? Would you want to come home to you? Do you give the impression that nothing your spouse does is good enough, that nothing he/she can do will make you happy? Consider, what’s it like to be married to me?
Having a range of emotions, “positive” and “negative,” is healthy and normal. But chronic unhappiness becomes a major drain not only on you, but on your marriage.
One of the best gifts you can give your spouse is to choose to be happy. (Tweet that.)
While both sexes can be guilty this, wives especially can exert great control over their husbands simply by being chronically unhappy.
Shouldn’t home be a place where you can be yourself, where you don’t have to filter your feelings, where you can talk about what’s bothering you, where you don’t have to pretend?
Yes, of course home should be a safe place where you can be real. But a chronically unhappy spouse is miserable to live with. If your spouse cares at all, your mood affects him/her greatly.
This does not mean you ignore problems. There are plenty of things that can lead you to feel anxious, sad, frustrated, hurt, or miserable. This is not about pretending. But by allowing your bad mood to be the primary way your spouse experiences you, you are pushing them away.
Here are a few tips to keep you from becoming the chronically unhappy spouse no one wants to live with.
Choose your thoughts.
Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “I’ve determined that most people are about as happy as they choose to be.” When I learned that for myself, it changed almost everything in my life. You have much more ability to choose your thoughts than you probably realize.
And by choosing uplifting solution-oriented thoughts instead of focusing on problems, your feelings and mood will be more positive. Learn to feed yourself; become responsible for getting the appropriate mental/emotional/spiritual nourishment you need. And if you need some help to get some healing or develop some mental/emotional resilience, get that help.
Lead with connecting.
When you approach or respond to your spouse, make your default to lead with something positive. The first moments after you and your spouse connect again after being apart are especially important. Even if it’s just been a few hours, make the initial moments of coming back together meaningful; a warm and engaging kiss, an I Love You, a few moments of connecting eye-to-eye, a caring touch.
Problems have their place. Ignoring problems does not make them go away. Some people put on a false front; that’s not what we’re talking about. But by first establishing that you are both on the same side, connected, you will be so much more able to find solutions.
When a problem needs to be addressed, truth is important. You will need to be honest about your concerns, feelings, and needs. But once the problem has been laid out, move as quickly as reasonably possible to working toward a solution.
Remaining problem-focused makes you prickly. It pushes your spouse farther away. Inviting your spouse into working with you toward a solution brings you closer together. Solutions must be something you work toward together, rather than one spouse demanding a certain outcome. If there is a specific way your spouse can help, let them know. (If there is bad behavior going on, setting appropriate boundaries may be necessary.)
When purchasing some electronics, toys, or other gadgets you’ll notice on the packaging, “Batteries not included.” Don’t be that person.
Choose to be the person who comes “batteries included” to your marriage. Be responsible to get filled up with the fuel you need, and bring that to your relationship. Your spouse will thank you, and your marriage will be stronger.
Your Turn: Would your spouse say you are hard to please? Chronically unhappy? Do you need to grow in your own emotional resilience for the benefit of your marriage? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- Your mood affects your spouse more than you realize. Rather than being chronically unhappy, choose to give the gift of happiness to your spouse. Your marriage will be stronger as a result. Tweet that.
Feeling Disconnected from your Spouse?
Once you make the first move, how do you continue to re-connect with your spouse?
This downloadable Resource Guide will help you discover important keys to re-connect with your spouse in 4 important areas.