Marriage can be hard when you give up your identity to focus on your marriage.
In a recent article posted in Yahoo Finance on how difficult marriage is now than it is in the past based on unrealistic expectations we have set for ourselves. And I have to tell you the article was right on to a point. We do set unrealistic expectations. When we say “I Do,” or recite whatever vows we create for our wedding at that moment, we expect our spouse to be the end all be all of our happiness, but they can’t.
In the book Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz, outlined our unrealistic expectations of happiness in a story about the man who didn’t believe in love. The story was about a man who would get on his soapbox and tell everyone he could why he didn’t believe love existed, until he happen to meet a woman who shared his same beliefs. They began to spend so much time with each other that they actually became a couple. That keep their bond strong was the fact that they didn’t have to rely on each other for their happiness. If he didn’t see her for a couple of day, that was okay and vice versa.
Then one day, the man realized how happy he was, that for the first time he felt that he must be in love because of how great he felt. At that very moment, a miracle happen as a star fell upon his hands. Since, he was so happy, he decided that he give her that star to symbolize his love for her. When he put the star in her hands, she became so overwhelmed she let it fall on the ground and it broke into little pieces.
According to Ruiz, the mistake was made by him because he felt he could give her happiness. The star was his happiness and his mistake was to put his happiness in her hands. Happiness never comes from us.
I learned that very early on in my marriage. I was working for a pharmaceutical company. That job was instrumental in helping us pay for our house and pay for most of the expenses we needed for our first born child. After a couple of years at this job, I was miserable and it affected everything and everyone around me. I knew I had to make a change if I wanted my marriage to last.
So, I set my wife down and told her, that I was leaving my cushy for-profit job to start my own non-profit. And even though, the non-profit organization never got off the ground, I was able to find my own happiness as well. My wife would probably say the same thing.
I know you may be staring at the walls right now thinking to yourself, “ How did things in my marriage turn so bad, so quickly and how do I get it back?”
The first thing you must realize is that you are responsible for your own happiness. Because of that there are “3 Do Good Things” you must do in order to see your marriage start to take the path you expected when you echoed your vows.
1. Do Good Work. In an article by Engaged Marriage it states that a more fulfilling life outside of marriage will help you find fulfillment within your marriage. So how can you find the kind of work, that you can attach meaning to. It should also be work that stimulates you and challenges you almost every day to be the best you can be. If you are at stay at home parent and it’s not meaningful find something that will help you reconnect with your passions, inspirations and values.
2. Do Good Relationships! It’s imperative to create strong relationships inside and outside of your marriage. One, it will allow you to have an identity. You shouldn’t be tied to only your spouse’s friends. Our own friendships give you support, keep us from feeling isolated, and make us well-rounded people. When you find friends that encourage and support your marriage it can make your relationship even stronger.
3. Do Good Giving! According to the book, How to Save your Marriage by Ruth Wilkins, giving can help you to not obsess about the problems in your marriage by forcing yourself to mentally and or physically aid other human beings. While you are helping other human beings, you start to feel individual success because of the lives you are touching or will touch. This success will help improve your self-esteem and self-image.
If you focus on your own happiness the rest of your marriage will take care of itself.