Happiness Isn’t About “Who” or “If” You’re Married
• Happiness isn’t about whom you married, it’s about who you are, and who you’re becoming.
• All of the singles are fighting to get married and all of the married are fighting to be single.
• Happiness is more about the choices you make in responding to the difficulties in life, not in the fact that you have happiness or not.
• Amazingly some of the happiest people in the world are the poorest among us. Those that have the fewest possessions might be so much more able to not have to protect their things.
• It is a state of mind, not a state of marriage that brings us the most happiness.
• Sometimes in the darkest moments, you need to bring your own light or borrow light from above.
You Are Always Your Biggest Problem
• Humans tend to fixate their power and their problems outside of themselves. We act like all of the problems are our spouses and all of the fixes need to start with them as well.
• When I say you are your biggest problem I mean, there are always 5 things that every person needs to learn to own in their own lives.
• Your way of seeing the marriage.
• Your way of thinking about your partner.
• Your feelings in the relationships.
• Your actions and behaviors.
• What you have become in the marriage and what you are becoming.
• Instead of trying to get my spouse to change something or talk to me more, I should instead work on everything I can change.
• Your Needs- Are my needs realistic for who my partner actually is?
• Are my expectations realistic?
• If these things aren’t ever changed, what will happen to me at this rate?
• As soon as you put yourself in a place where your partner’s behaviors are not able to upset your own state of peace, then you will begin to see clearly what is the next step in your relationship.
There Are No Universal Expectations
• Every relationship is different, every day.
• “You never step into the same river twice”. Even if you think your marriage is the same today as it was yesterday, it’s not, unless you make it feel that way.
• If your spouse had been working a full time job as a roofer for 10 years or as a stay at home mom. Then he either fell off the roof and broke his back, or she started suffering unbearable chronic depression, your life is going to change. An so too must your expectations.
• They might not be able to work again.
• They may be in chronic, physical or emotional pain.
• They may be meaner than they used to as they deal with their darkest pain.
• Incomes may change, chore lists may grow and you are left in a weird position.
• Should you maintain your expectations, or change them?
• If you lower them and expect less, aren’t you setting them up to take advantage of you?
• When we manage our expectations realistically (based on what is really happening), and not ideally (what should be happening), it puts us in an entirely different situation.
• If people have never been able to do something consistently in their entire life, don’t keep expecting that they’ll do it. Get real in your expectations.
• The fastest way to change a feeling is to manage the expectations.
You Can Struggle Daily and Make It Work
• It’s called learning and growing.
• Usually our struggling is directly related to the amount of learning and personal change we are undertaking.
• Based on the other steps I’ve talked about today, you can struggle and even at times be lonely and still choose to stay together.
• Remember that misery is optional and up to you.
• Many couples dealing with a difficult marriage partner, who seems to be broken and unwilling to change, can still find a lot of benefit staying together.
• Marriage is really the best training ground of how to become a selfless, positive, happy and hopeful person.
• Sometimes you need to learn what you need to learn before it feels right to move on.
When You Change…Who You ARE Also Changes
• One of the biggest learning’s I’ve had working with struggling couples is that when you actually change, and become the best person you can become, your needs change.
• When we have changed and we are in integrity with our highest values and principles, we are no longer bothered by what used to drive us crazy.
• We begin to see between the lines in our marriage. We’re not overwhelmed as much anymore by the “little things” because we now have the “bigger picture”.
• We may be more adept and flexible and able to avoid the sharp edges of our partner. We may also have learned so much more about ourselves that we no longer are operating out of fear.