It’s Not Your Job to Make Your Wife Happy
Are You Struggling to Make Your Wife Happy?
I hear it all the time from husbands, “I just can’t make my wife happy” or “she’s never happy.” Guys I have news for you, it’s not your job to make your wife happy.
Let that sink in for a minute.
Here it is again.
It’s not your job to make your wife happy.
My guess is after reading that statement twice in the last few seconds you aren’t convinced it’s true. Or maybe I sparked your interest but you are left wondering, “if that’s not my job, then what is?” Or it could be that a litany of excuses are popping up in your head right now and you are trying to find away around addressing that feeling you get inside that unless you can make her happy things aren’t ok.
Or worse, unless you can make her happy you aren’t enough.
My guess is that the latter statement hits at the core of why trying to make your wife happy is so important to you.
Would you like freedom from the burden of always having to make your wife happy?
Imagine feeling free from what often feels like an impossible and never-ending task. Picture yourself feeling good enough about who you are and knowing your wife feels the same way. I bet that’s a hard image to bring up in your mind.
Well I have news for you, it’s possible. You can be free from the burden of always having to make your wife happy and you can feel good enough about yourself.
And wives, let me speak to you briefly. It is not your job to always be happy. I’ll dive deeper into that in the next post.
For now let’s address the problem of happiness as a goal.
The Problem with Happiness as a Goal
How often do you hear someone say, “I’m just not happy” or “I just want to be happy”? I know I hear it a lot, and not just in my counseling office.
It’s as if we are obsessed with happiness and for many it has become the primary goal in life.
And that is problematic.
The problem with happiness as a goal is that you will constantly fail at it and ultimately never achieve it
Want to feel discouraged and feel like a failure? Pursue happiness as a primary goal in your life.
Now I can imagine what you are thinking after those last statements, “if happiness isn’t the goal then what is?”
Before I answer that let me explain a little more about what I mean about happiness not being the best goal to pursue. The problem with happiness is that it is fluid; based on ever changing situations and possessions, happiness comes and goes regardless of our intention.
Think about happiness for a second, specifically your own happiness. What do you know makes you happy? What have you pursued to attain happiness? When are you least happy? How many of those things are based on a situation or a thing? What happens to your happiness when you aren’t in that situation or don’t have that thing? Does it change or go away?
What if that situation that’s making you unhappy never changes? Then what do you do?
This is the challenge with happiness – it is fickle and fleeting and ultimately comes and goes outside of our control. Or we finally get that thing we wanted, or get to that place we wanted to be, and we find out that we still aren’t happy.
Now don’t get me wrong, some of these things and situations can bring happiness for a while, but it is never lasting. Unhappiness, disappointment, doubt, discouragement and lack of fulfillment creep back in over time and take away the happiness we worked so hard to achieve.
Another reality is that happiness can come from situations and experiences that aren’t healthy for us. It can feel really good to flirt with a woman other than your wife. You can definitely feel better about yourself when another woman gives that attention you so desire. Neither of those situations are ultimately good for you and your marriage.
The issue is compounded when you are trying to do everything you can to make someone else happy. Because like it or not you are human and at times you fail and make mistakes, and that leads others to feel unhappy or disappointed.
It’s unrealistic to believe you can do it right all the time.
But that gets to the heart of the problem from the start, if you can’t do it right all the time, if you can’t make your wife happy, then there must be something wrong with you.
This is a core belief most men have and struggle with – your sense of self and value as you relate to others, especially the ones you care about the most. So much of who we are and how we feel about ourselves is determined by outside factors. Take your wife’s happiness for example. How good do you feel about yourself when your wife is happy? How badly do you feel when she isn’t?
No matter what you do she just isn’t happy all the time. I know that resonates because I know you’ve felt and thought that a number of times.
Happiness can’t be the goal because it is impossible to feel happy all the time.
So let me go back to your previous question.
If Happiness Isn’t the Goal, What is?
It’s a great question and the answer isn’t complicated.
Your job is to provide security, safety and a sense of understanding and acceptance through your presence.
What on earth does that mean?
The reality is we underestimate, and at times flat out reject, the value of our presence as men when it comes to being a husband, a father and even a friend.
Your presence is powerful.
As a man your presence is grounding – you bring stability and safety to a relationship simply by being present.
Your presence communicates to your wife that she is not alone on this journey in life – that the weight of the world isn’t all on her shoulders, but that it is shared between you.
Your presence communicates to your wife that she is enough – that she is valued, accepted and worthy of love.
Your presence communicates to your wife that she belongs somewhere and with someone – in a marriage with you.
Your presence communicates to your wife that she is heard and understood – that you care about what she feels, thinks and has to say.
Your presence affirms to her that she matters as a person.
Being present for your spouse means you are putting her needs above your own at times, or at least acknowledging her’s along with your own and holding both in tension together. It means you are actively working against distraction, something that is increasingly difficult in today’s world.
In one sense, being present is one way to truly love another person. What better gift than the gift of presence? Material things wear down and break, vacations end, money gets spent, houses fall apart, clothes wear out and jewelry loses its luster. Presence is giving of yourself to another person out of who you are, which is bottomless. Being present means you give your time, focus and energy to that other person. That presence has the power not only to communicate value but to heal wounds.
We have all been hurt and wounded in relationships.
Presence has the power to heal those wounds.
Being present is not something you do, it is something you are.
Presence is a state of being with someone else. Empathizing with them, walking with them through their most difficult times, helping them heal and feel connected. You don’t take on their burdens, you simply show up are with them as they struggle with those burdens.
Presence also creates and deepens intimacy. Through presence you can deeply know and be known by another person.
So where do you go from here?
The beauty of presence is you don’t have to work harder or do more. Most likely you have been working too hard to help your spouse and it’s left you both feeling discouraged, disconnected and frustrated.
You can change all this by being present.
The first step is to connect with yourself and come to feel and understand your own presence. This means paying attention to what you feel, what you think and what happens inside of you. Start to recognize when you are most present and when you check out. Pay attention to what leads you to check out and start working to stay present when that happens.
The second step is to do the same with your spouse. Instead of listening to fix or focusing on making her happy, listen to understand. Let what she says impact you a little bit more, try and put yourself in her shoes and get a feel for what it is like to be her. Remind her that you are there for her, that you aren’t going anywhere and that you enjoy her presence.
In someways this is easier than it sounds and in others it is harder, mostly because it is new and unfamiliar. That’s ok, just give it a shot.
It’s really hard to be present wrong.
If you are struggling with trying to make your wife happy and being present, either with yourself or with your spouse, you would benefit from working with someone who can coach you through that and help you connect with your own presence. An experienced couples counselor can help you recognize when you shut down and what to do when that happens. I would love to see you learn about your presence and how to be present with your wife. If what you struggle with is conflict in your marriage, check out these other posts for help.
Ready to experience the power of your presence? I invite you to call me and we can talk through what that looks like (720-588-2005). Or you can schedule an appointment online today.