Making a decision to leave a marriage is serious and shouldn’t be made lightly. Sometimes there’s good reason to end a marriage, but believing ‘you deserve to be happy’ isn’t one of them. Happiness in marriage isn’t something you deserve.
Staying in an unhappy marriage can affect your mental and emotional health. But you don’t have to settle for dissatisfaction and mediocrity.
You can learn to see your marriage differently. You don’t deserve to be happy, but you can choose to be.
When you “deserve” something, you have an expectation you shouldn’t have to work for it. You’re entitled to it. If you’re going to have a happy marriage, you’re going to have to work for it.
When I got married, I expected to be happy. But marriage wasn’t what I had anticipated. My husband wasn’t the kind of husband I wanted. He could be selfish and inconsiderate. I didn’t know he’d eat my leftovers I was saving for the next day or drink orange juice straight from the carton. I didn’t know he’d complain about the way I squeezed the toothpaste.
I was not happy. I’m sure he had a few complaints of his own.
Do you know what I’m talking about?
Maybe your husband isn’t the man you thought you married either. Maybe your marriage isn’t developing as you’d planned.
A good marriage doesn’t happen by accident. It happens when a couple decides they’re going to be intentional about the kind of relationship they want. They choose to be happy.
Marriage is hard work. It can be difficult. It stretches you. It challenges you. It doesn’t automatically make you happy. You’ll disagree. You’ll hurt each other. You may have financial trouble. You may lose a job. These aren’t happiness-producing experiences.
You can choose to be happy through your circumstances.
If every couple divorced because marriage got difficult, 100 percent of couples would be divorced. The couples who make it aren’t the couples who don’t struggle. The couples who make it are the ones that don’t give up. They get help. They decide to be happy.
Success in marriage isn’t determined by how happy you are; it’s determined by how well you handle conflict.
When “you deserve to be happy” is the expectation, it’s easy to bail when you’re not.
Stop thinking of happiness in marriage as a right and see it as a choice instead.
When we learn to let go of the myths about marriage and embrace the reality, marriage is a lot more fulfilling.
‘You deserve to be happy is just one of the lies’ about marriage. Here are four others.
1. You do your part; he does his.
2. You’re a mother before you’re a wife.
Raising kids is a temporary gig. You’ll be a wife long after your kids are grown and gone. Your husband should be a priority. Sometimes marriages fail when the kids leave because the husband and wife have been focused on being parents, they’ve forgotten how to be husband and wife.
3. If it doesn’t work out, move on.
Ending a marriage might seem like the easiest move. In the long run, it’s not. First, you’ll have all the emotional baggage of a failed marriage. Then, you’ll be taking the same issues into the next relationship. And your new partner will be coming with issues of his own. Work it out if you can. Get professional help if you need it.
4. You should marry your soulmate.
You don’t marry your soulmate. Your husband will become your soulmate over time. Just because he doesn’t instinctively know what you need doesn’t mean you don’t belong together. It means he can’t read your mind. As you share experiences and triumphs, your bond will grow stronger.
You don’t deserve happiness; you choose it. Debunking these common myths and developing a new perspective on your marriage will make you happy.
Need skills to build intimacy?
- Get on the waitlist for my next group coaching session–Change Your Mind; Change Your Marriage.
- Visit my website, like my Facebook page and join my private Facebook group.
- Check out my FREE resources and download How to Be A Wife No Man Will Ever Want to Leave.
- Apply for private coaching with Sheila.
Also known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls understands how tiring a tough marriage can be.
She went from the brink of divorce to having a thriving marriage by translating timeless truths into practical skills. She’s helped women just like you turn their men into the husbands they want.
She and her husband Kendall live in Minnesota with their five children and their Black Lab, Largo.
In addition to coaching, Sheila is a member of the MOPS Speaker Network. Her work has been featured on the MOPS Blog, The Upper Room, Grown and Flown, Scary Mommy, Beliefnet, Candidly Christian, Crosswalk.com, The Mighty and on various other sites on the Internet.