Often the problem with marriages is that one person believes deep down, “I’m in this whole marriage thing ultimately because it will make me happy.”

It’s understandable how that can happen. We meet that amazing person that takes our breath away the moment they walk in the room. Our hearts race just thinking about them. We feel warm inside from a simple touch. We feel so happy being together. Even apart the glow remains. Our friends exclaim how happy we look. We beam because we are in love and we do feel happy.

We agree to marriage because we are consumed with this feeling. It is so strong that we want to do something with it. Binding ourselves to this person that makes us feel so wonderful feels like the natural thing to do.

We want this forever. This person. This love. This joy.

We want the storybook Hollywood blockbuster movie where we get to live happily ever after.

Unfortunately, that feeling of love-induced euphoria can’t be unceasingly sustained. Eventually, we return to life’s routines and incorporate new ones. Kids, perhaps. Challenges. Struggles. Hardships. Differences.

Then we wonder where the glow went? We start to question and accuse.

You are working late all of the time. I’m supposed to be happy.

You aren’t helping with the kids. I’m supposed to be happy.

You don’t always agree with me. I’m supposed to be happy.

I feel lonely. I’m supposed to be happy.

I feel lost. I’m supposed to be happy.

Maybe it’s because we expect that the other person should automatically know how to make us happy. Maybe it’s because we believe they aren’t even trying to make us happy. Maybe it’s because we’re scared to say what some of our needs are that would make us happy.

Maybe it’s because we weren’t a very happy person in the first place and no matter what the other person does we won’t be happy.

Maybe they are burnt out on trying to make us happy.

And/or they thought you were going to make them happy, and you’re not.

Then, sometimes if one feels like their spouse isn’t filling their happiness bucket, the job expectation gets transferred to the children. Come on kids. Make my life happy!

Making someone else responsible for our happiness is a tremendous burden to put on another individual. Which is why it inevitably fails.

There is no doubt that happiness can be found in being married. There is tremendous joy that can be found in sharing a life with another and even creating and sharing a family. But this only occurs when that happiness isn’t being determined by what each person is getting out of it but rather what each is contributing toward the collective happiness pool.

Everyone dumps in the ingredients and we all get to eat the cake.

Can you be happily married? Yes! But is the purpose of marriage to make you, the individual, happy?

Well, what do you think?

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