Blog > Love & Relationships > #1 Way to Make Your Marriage Happy

#1 Way to Make Your Marriage Happy

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…

1. “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.

2. 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.

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.

3. And then my husband responds to me better.

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

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?

By Laura Doyle

Hi! I'm Laura.

New York Times Bestselling Author

I was the perfect wife--until I actually got married. When I tried to tell my husband how to be more romantic, more ambitious, and tidier, he avoided me. I dragged him to marriage counseling and nearly divorced him. I then started talking to women who had what I wanted in their marriages and that’s when I got my miracle. The man who wooed me returned.

I wrote a few books about what I learned and accidentally started a worldwide movement of women who practice The Six Intimacy Skills™ that lead to having amazing, vibrant relationships. The thing I’m most proud of is my playful, passionate relationship with my hilarious husband John–who has been dressing himself since before I was born.

24 replies on “#1 Way to Make Your Marriage Happy”

Thank you Laura – such great advice here!

So… I pulled out my trusty dusty SUP (stand up paddle board) ?. Pushed it down the beach and away we went. I saw 3 crabs, 4 beautiful stingrays and in return this dolphin who came right in to shore! I was soooo happy!

Yay! All because I replenished my spirit by doing something love – thank you for reminder!

Gemma ??

PS I’ve sent a video of this encounter to your FB page ad couldn’t copy here. G x

I do not know what makes me happy. I have depression and bipolar disorder and am very numb to positive feelings. Any suggestions?

Sara, I was also diagnosed with depression prior to learning and practicing the Intimacy Skills, so I know how painful that is. But it’s not something I ever think about or worry about now, so that’s yet another huge benefit to practicing the Intimacy Skills. Feeling truly loved every day really does heal so many things. As far as what makes you happy: It can be very small. Window shopping, cat videos, inspiring music or just music that you love. Since you don’t know what makes you happy, consider experimenting with those and more and see if it moves the happy meter a bit. You can get there from where you are. I see it all the time.

Hi Laura.
I love these counsels and blogs.
As i told you recently my husband and me we came back together.he is bipolar and we had little affection.i can tell you Laura that i read and read and apply your books and my marriage looks new.
Its amazing!! You know when he is making me a little — well i try to make myself happy. I read cooking recipes or i knit many things or i do a little jogging. I notice that i focus on me and all negativa things dissapeared. I smile a lot.i learnt to give lots of affection and how to speak ok to him from my feelings.i feel totally femenino.thanks Laura.thanks a lot.
However now i have a little problem…we have jobs in diferentes cities…do you think that i need to be there with my husband?
I am very happy with him again but i need to work again and will be ok some months distant he and me? I am a little afraid Laura.
Thanks for writing the books and encourage all womans to be femenino and in love of our husbands. Mercedes

So happy to hear your marriage looks new! Yay! It’s tough to be in different cities. I get that it must be lonely at times. For me, I try to stay very close to my desires. What do I want. And when I figure it out I try to express it without control, criticism or complaint, and that has really been powerful. So that’s something to experiment with in this situation too. You don’t have to know the solutions, just the desires.

Hi Laura.thanks a lot.i appreciate so much your counsels.
My desire is being in the same city aa my husband. But we need both jobs and i spend some months apart and i am afraid.its very difficult to be apart for job.specially now that i gain a lot in my relationship with him now that my marriage is improving a lot.
I am lost with my feelings Laura.thanks.

Mercedes, I hear your desire is to be in the same city as your husband. Why not start with expressing that and see what happens?

It’s great everyone’s taking all positives from your post, but to me it just sounds like your saying men get to act like selfish jerks and get away with it. How is that fair?

Bec, That’s how I used to look at it too, but that never got me the passionate, playful relationship I have now. I’ve found that what I focus on increases. When I stopped focusing on “unfair: and “selfish jerk” and started focusing on making myself happy, something magical happened. Now I feel like things are more than fair.

Laura, Im losing my mind! I THOUGHT I had been depressed, was I wrong! I love my husband more than words, but he recently broke my trust, again. And because of the chapters upon novels, of all the problems the last 13yrs, Im having trouble moving past it. I cant eat, sleep, work, Ive slacked on All my responsibilties. I can be happy all day, whistle while i work, cleaning, laundry, cooking, getting out of my pjs and putting makeup on like a teenager waiting for her promdate. And in a split second , its GONE. And Im sad and cry the rest of the night and push him away! Cause all it takes is One word or action or sound he says or does, ( and when Im wantin words and dnt get them) I crumble like a cookie. I love him. But how do I go on feeling this way? What if it doesnt? What if as soon as i relax, it happens again? What if he grows old of my insecurities and jealousy? What if I leave, but than am more depressed cause I miss him so bad? Im just in utter turmoil, searching for answers noone can give me. And HATING the cry baby insecure irresponsible person Ive become. Thank you for your time

Renee, I’m sorry to hear about the broken trust and problems in your marriage. This is all solvable, and I’d love to see you get some support so you can go back to being the Renee you want to be in the marriage you want to have. Consider a complimentary discovery call to uncover the best next move you can make for your marriage. You can apply here:

Dear laura. How can i take care of my self if i have 1yr old child. And we recently leave by my partener because he hate me for being nagger wife

Jenny, I’m sorry to hear about your partner leaving. That sounds so painful. I admire your commitment to getting your self-care, especially as the mother of a young child! Please check out the blog “5 Ways to Practice Radical Self-Care” for mothers at

I’ve been working on getting self care for a few years. I’ve learned that activities that are fun or relaxing don’t necessarily make me happy. And activities that are kind of challenging (like where I’m working hard to learn something ) often do make me happy. I need a certain balance.

I also think that there’s a difference between relaxing activities and activities that make me HAPPY. Relaxing makes me feel more calm, but not necessarily full.
I need both. I’ve been trying out different things to find what makes me happy, or relaxed.

Hi Laura!
Thank you for all your advice! I’m working on my SC everyday.

Any advice for a husband who’s very bossy and controlling? He has diagnosed OCD and has to be in charge of EVERYTHING!

Thanks Laura, I get what you are saying. My problem the past couple days is he irritates me so bad because he is controlling and refuses to see it. He can’t even get along with men on his job; always saying he’s not going to let anyone run over him. That attitude is frustrating to me. We listened to a Devotional this morning on being humble and he said he doesn’t know how to be humble, but he never tries because every chance he has to be humble he thinks someone is trying to take advantage of the him. I’m like so what, them thinking they are taking advantage of you is not going to hurt you. Just chill and let it go. I’m really getting tired of being controlled also. I never thought I’d see him in this different light, but he makes me tired.

Tenya, Sounds frustrating and hard to live with your husband’s attitude. I can see why you’re so tired and unhappy with him! Good news though–you can transform this situation completely with the right coaching, training and support. You can learn more about how to become a happy wife by downloading my FREE Adored Wife Roadmap:

You can fix this!

I too have bipolar disorder and am grateful for your book Laura. Self care is number one. I’ve been dealing w my brother in the hospital and self care went out the window now I need to get back on track and do more self care so I can show up happy for my marriage. This is so hard and beautiful at the same time. How do you recommend getting out of the self sabotage rut and into self care?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *