We know what makes us unhappy. We can rattle off a list of 10 in under a minute. What are your pet peeves? What really gets you going? What sends you over the edge?
Can you do the same for what makes you happy? Can you rattle off 10 items that make you happy in under a minute? Possibly. Now can you tell your wife/husband that? And will they actually listen? Will they listen enough to recall your “happy items” and make sure you are able to experience those things? Perhaps “a clean house” makes you happy. Will they do their part to help keep the house clean just because it makes you happy? Or will they leave that entire task up to you because, after all, it’s not on their happy list.
I’ve always been under the impression that as long as I didn’t do too many of those items on my husband’s “unhappy” list that we’d be OK. That we would be able to survive. That we would be happy as long as we could tolerate those things regardless of how annoyed we would get. And that’s just it…. they are things that annoy us. They aren’t deal breakers. Or are they? What if someone perpetually did those things on the bad list because that is just how they operated? They didn’t do it to piss you off but rather it’s in their DNA to do those things. I’ll still use the clean house example. What if you lacked the ability to organize things and everything what just sort of thrown around. You can function through it but your spouse finds it incredibly annoying. And eventually they can’t stand it and because you aren’t putting any effort into changing that behavior they start to look at it as they are not respected enough for you to work through it. If you really loved him, you would figure out how to change this behavior.
After talking about our relationship and the fact that we don’t make each other happy, I’ve started to realize that I don’t know how to make him happy. I don’t know how to be the wife he wants me to be. I didn’t know I wasn’t making him happy. All I knew is that I was unhappy and by default that made him unhappy. And he wasn’t miserable just because I was or that he made me that way. He just didn’t understand why I would be so unhappy. He gave me everything and then some and yet my selfish, ungrateful, miserable self wasn’t happy. That’s what made him upset. We’ve been in a downward spiral for a few years now. I thought I did everything I could to make him happy and it just wasn’t good enough. I know I’m not perfect but I was trying. Hard.
All I ever wanted was to have a husband who loved and respected me. I never asked for one to be our sole provider; one that would ensure we never would go without all un-necessary material possessions. I didn’t think that was too much to ask for. I struggled with this so much. I’ve told him about it a million times. He said he would try harder. But he didn’t. He left more for work and left me alone. A lot. Hell I almost delivered #3 without him. He hunted a lot and left me alone. I was always alone. I was alone physically and emotionally. I thought if I could just try harder for us that it would make him love and respect me more. But that never happened. He never loved me more and I could not see one ounce of respect. I spent so much energy wanting him to love me and SHOW it. Tell me and mean it. Something. Make my efforts worth while. I received, what I felt like, was nothing. Nothing but the same bitter man that comes home, shrugs off a kiss to his wife and runs to the kids. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Turns out he has no idea how to make me happy. Turns out I have no idea how to make him happy. Neither one of us know whats on the other person’s happy list. We know about half of whats on the unhappy list but that’s about it. You would think after knowing each other for 10 years that this wouldn’t be an issue. So I’m making a list. I’m asking him to do the same. I asking him to help me experience my happy items and I’m going to help him experience his happy items. I suspect it won’t be as hard as we think if we are both trying.