Your life just isn’t as happy and carefree as you think it should be. It’s your husband’s fault, it’s your husband’s job’s fault, it’s your job’s fault, and it’s your children’s fault. But it couldn’t be your fault, could it?
You just want to be happy. You just want love. You just want to be appreciated. You just want to be acknowledged for all you do for the family. You just want a perfect life, darn it! Is that too much to ask for all you do and all you give and how serve everyone else!
Yes, yes it is. There will be days when others acknowledge how much you do for them and thank you for it, but it’s never going to be the norm.
The reality is that your life is what you make of it. It’s largely about the perspective that you bring to the table. Your approach to your reality affects everything, including your marriage.
Maybe you thought that your life was generally unhappy and difficult in the early part of your life because you were single. You just needed to find a soul mate and then your life would be rainbows and unicorns.
If that was your mindset, it didn’t take long after the honeymoon to realize that your new spouse wasn’t the answer to all the problems of your world. (In fact, this new spouse of yours actually added quite a few more issues for you to be ticked off about.)
Listen, it isn’t your spouse’s responsibility to bend over backward every day to make your life perfect, or even to make it happy. Yes, he can contribute to your happiness, but he can’t manipulate your feelings and force you to choose happiness. And it really is a choice.
Perhaps the mindset of what marriage actually is and what it “should be” is out of whack for you. If you have seen yourself as a victim your entire life (i.e. life’s not fair, life is so hard for me, nothing ever works out for me, I just can’t get ahead), then don’t be surprised that your marriage doesn’t fix those things for you. Your marriage may have given you a new person to blame (i.e. your husband instead of your boss, or your mom, or your ex-boyfriend), but the true problem still lies within you.
No one can make Eeyore happy. Eeyore likes being Eeyore. People with victim mentalities often feel safer and more comfortable with their victim mindsets. They fear being happy because something may happen that makes them sad again. Better to just stay down in the dumps. They like the idea of other people in their lives trying to cheer them up, doting on them to improve their mood. Certainly they like the people in their lives listening to their sob stories.
But those listening ears have a limit. They will get weary of hearing about the daily gloom. They will get tired of asking how you are only to hear, “I’m surviving. I’m hanging in there.” I’m not saying that you should lie or put a plastic smile on your face and say, “I’m fine.” Certainly we should be honest about how we are. But dig a little deeper. How are you, really? Are you really “just surviving?’ I doubt it. You’re likely doing better than 99% of the people on the planet. You have much to be thankful for and grateful about. But instead, you’d rather let people think you’re “hanging in there” as if you’re about ready to draw your last breath.
Yes, the Eeyore-esque Victim will someday realize that she just doesn’t have a lot of close friends. Her spouse seems to change the subject a lot when she moans about her difficult life, difficult job, lack of success, etc. She just can’t figure out why he won’t listen…every day…year after year…to the same old complaints. She just assumes it’s because he isn’t a very good husband. She should have married a better listener, someone who really understands her and wants to help her through her many trials and tribulations of life. Or, she just assumes that the world is a hard, unfair, difficult place to live, so why should her marriage be any different. *Sigh. *
The truth is, when you’re always a victim, you’re in danger of making your spouse resent you. It won’t be long before your spouse is simply worn out from hearing about how terrible your life is. What’s more, your spouse will soon start to feel one of two emotions. First, guilty that he just can’t measure up to your ideology of what a perfect spouse/life/marriage is. Second, angry because you’re such a whining, childish brat who is never satisfied with any of the efforts he put forth to please you.
Both of these emotions are dangerous. Your spouse needs to feel like he has a significant, positive role in your life. If he only ever feels your hopelessness and despair of life, he is going to feel helpless and be much more prone to seek numbing or escape routes. He may numb through eating, spending, drinking, or criticizing you to defend himself. He may escape by picking up friends or relationships that make him feel appreciated and wanted, being away from home as much as possible, or always being glued to the tv–totally tuning you out.
The bottom line here is that your attitude towards life can really work against you. When you’re married, your attitudes and perspectives affect someone else every day. Some couples think they have a marriage problem, but it is really just an individual’s problem that is affecting the marriage.
Think about the conversations you typically have with your spouse. Are you often telling him about all that’s wrong in your life? Are you typically criticizing your job, his job, your boss, his boss, your finances, you lack of time, etc.? Do you consistently complain about the kids, your friends, his mom, your life, etc.? Do you consistently approach your life with an “I’m just barely surviving” attitude?
Unhappy is unattractive. Look at yourself in the mirror with a downcast, moping face. Now look at yourself in the mirror with a bright-eyed smile. Which is more attractive? With which one of those faces would you want to live?
Happiness is a choice. Gratefulness is a choice.
For the next 10 days, try to catch yourself when your words and attitudes become negative and pouty. When you hear yourself complain, think of 10 things you are grateful for. Write them down. Read your grateful list daily. You will be surprised how quickly you have hundreds of things to be thankful for.
You must swap out the negative behavior with a positive behavior if you want to change your perspective on life. It isn’t a waste of time. It might just save your marriage.