I understand that for the most part they are reflecting on the fact that their partner is not pulling their weightin the marriage. However, our culture tends to push this idea that my spouse has a responsibility for meeting MY needs. This simply is not the case. The way I see it is that I have needs for healthy functioning, my spouse has needs for healthy functioning, and our marriage has needs for healthy functioning. I am responsible for meeting my needs and doing my part in meeting the needs of the marriage, but my spouse is responsible for meeting her own needs.
Please let me explain. In our culture we often hear various versions of this phrases – you need to find someone that will MAKE you happy. That’s a tall order! The only person we are equipped to “make happy” is ourselves; and that is hard enough. So, to be expected to make someone else happy is unrealistic and, therefore, puts undue pressure on the individual and the relationship. What if two people, on their own accord, worked diligently at being happy people? How much more equipped would these two people be in creating a happy marriage without the stress and pressure of making each other happy?
Our culture even has expressions that reflect the idea of incompleteness, such as, my better half or the missing piece of my puzzle. The movie Jerry McGuire has a famous line that seemed to really resonate with the public – you complete me. No, Jerry! We do our spouses a disservice to believe we are the lesser half of the whole or an incomplete person without him/her. To be with someone notbecause we needto be, but instead, because we want to be is a much healthier and more meaningful mentality. Therefore, I have two challenges for you. First, spend some time thinking about how you can take better care of yourself. In other words, how can you meet your own needs in your pursuit of happiness? Taking care of yourself for the sake of others is not selfish, but actually a very selfless act. You need to be at your best for the sake of those you love and love you. You’re not as valuable to them if you are simply treading water or running on fumes. Secondly, I challenge you to spend some time thinking about where your responsibilities lie in doing your part to create a healthy, happy marriage. What’s your role concerning communication? Conflict resolution? Intimacy? Household responsibilities? Etc.
If you find yourself really struggling with creating a happy life and/or happy marriage, then it just might be time to seek out a professional couples therapist. Sometimes it is simply hard to see the forest for the trees. A professional counselor can help you maneuver through the woods in effort to get you on a path that leads to individual and relational happiness. I wish well in your efforts to unburden your marriage and your spouse by relinguishing them of the expectation that it is their job to make you happy and/or meet your personal needs. God bless.
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