Love, Self

Why We're Often The WORST To The Person We Love The MOST

Everyone wonders about the secret to a happy and long marriage.

Love and attraction are the most important thing, along with great communication.

But the only way to keep a marriage going through both good times and the bad is if we don't take things so personally.

Too often when we see an angry look on our wife or husband's face or hear an angry huff, we tend to get defensive — and perhaps a little antagonistic — towards them, assuming the anger is directed towards something we've done.

So in our latest Expert video, Senior VP of YourTango Experts Melanie Gorman asked a group of relationship Experts what their best advice is to help lead a happier life by not taking things so personally.

The responses from our team of Experts — Debra DupreeCarolyn MeinJohn Gray, and Hans Stahlschmidt  — offer brilliant insights into why we tend to think it's about us and how to stop it.

The first step is to understand that it's most likely not your fault.

As you probably know from your own experience, things happen in life — whether at work or at home — that have nothing to do with your spouse, that just put you in a bad mood.

You walk around in a funk and you tend to be on edge. When your spouse says something — and it could be as innocent as asking, "Are you ok?" —  all that anger and annoyance just lashes out at them.

They didn't do anything wrong. They just happened to be there when your mood struck.

And while it might not be fair or right, the truth is, we all do it.

In a 2012 study, newlywed couples kept journals. On the days when there were more outside stressors, the spouses reported less happiness with their marriages, and more negative interactions with each other. 

The researchers theorized that this was because the outside stress made it harder to put energy into being healthier and happier in their relationship that day. 

So how can we try to not take it so personally?

Because let's be honest, it's hard not to take it personally when your spouse is angry and lashes out at you.

The key it to understand and step back.

What that means is understand what's really going on by stepping back for a moment and looking at the situation that's unfolding.

If there's something you've actually done or said, work on addressing and fixing it. But if there's no truth to it, then let it go and understand that it really has nothing to do with you.

You'll see that by not rising to the flight or fight mode every time your spouse is upset, by understanding that just because they seem angry doesn't mean it's because of you, will lead you to live a happier life and a happier marriage.

If you need help getting not taking things personally, finding your happiness, or are having troubles in any of your relationships, please visit the websites of our Experts and contact DebraCarolynJohn, and Hans directly. They’re here to help.