#1 Way to Make Your Marriage Happier

#1 Way to Make Your Marriage Happier

This is What Oprah Meant When She Said Remember Your Spirit

Shana was upset with her husband when she got home to find the kids eating candy and playing on the iPad while he worked in the yard.

“I just can never count on him when I want to go out. He says he’s taking care of the kids and then I come home to this!” she seethed.

Meanwhile, Jessica was just as upset with her husband, who moved the computer and a huge pile of cords into their bedroom, making it look messy. “Why can’t he understand that I like things to be tidy and organized?” she complained.

Karen was equally irritated about her husband coming home from work an hour later than he said he would. “He always does this!” she told me, “I’m just going to tell him how inconsiderate he is.”

Of course, it’s easy to see ways that each of those husbands had been irritating or irresponsible, but it turns out, that wasn’t the real problem.

In each of these cases, there was something else contributing to the tension in the relationship, and it had everything to do with Shana, Jessica, and Karen.

It just wasn’t obvious to them at first–not until I asked each of them this revealing question…

“What have you done recently to make yourself happy?”

“Well, I was sick, and we had houseguests,” Shana admitted, “So I’ve been running ragged lately. I guess that’s why he’s getting on my nerves so much lately. I’m just out of patience at this moment! I need a break.”

Jessica said almost the same thing. “I’ve been having to work more because of a change in my department, and I haven’t had time to do anything for myself,” she told me.

Karen had just moved and was so busy trying to get everything put right in the new house that she felt she couldn’t just relax. “I know I’m exhausted but I just can’t stop when I know there are still boxes to unpack,” she said.

Sometimes life gets busy, or you don’t get to sleep, or it’s way past time to eat, or your kid doesn’t go to school and your day gets thrown off.

That’s the time your husband is most likely to seem annoying.

And he may be. Sometimes husbands do things that drive you crazy. They even exercise their right to be wrong at times.

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And that can be irritating.


You just had the best time talking to your girlfriend on the phone. Or you just went for a walk on an unseasonably warm day, or had coffee and a scone while playing on your phone, or window-shopped at your favorite store for 20 minutes. And that filled you up.

None of those activities will change your situation, true.

You may still be unhappy that the kids have only had Nerds candy for breakfast, or that there’s an ugly computer in your bedroom, or that your husband was late coming home.

But here’s the big difference: if you’ve just made yourself happy by investing the time and energy to delight yourself, you’re more likely to laugh at the situation instead of wanting to scream.

You’re also going to be able to avoid creating another problem: a conflict in your relationship.

Actively replenishing my spirit by doing at least three things a day for my own happiness is like insurance.

It protects me from feeling so frayed that I say something snippy or sarcastic, or roll my eyes.

That’s not the wife or woman I want to be.

It’s also insurance against the familiar thoughts that swirl around in my overextended head, like, “I’m so much smarter/more efficient/practical than he is.”

That kind of thinking always left me feeling lonely and overwhelmed.

But with the so-happy-I-can’t-stop-smiling feeling I give myself every day now, I’m not even tempted to go there. I’m empowered to choose the dignified, vulnerable, respectful approach most of the time.

And then my husband responds to me better.

In order to have a happy relationship, you have to make yourself happy first. Click To Tweet

So I make it a priority to play volleyball, talk to my friends, play games on my phone, journal and nap because the happier I am, the happier my marriage gets.

It all starts with replenishing my spirit with self-care every day.

How do you replenish your spirit? What are the activities that delight you and bring you joy?


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