“Understand that it is up to you to make yourself happy, it is NOT the job of your spouse. I am not saying you shouldn’t do nice things for each other, or that your partner can’t make you happy sometimes. I am just saying don’t lay expectations on your partner to “make you happy.” It is not their responsibility. Figure out as individuals what makes you happy as an individual, be happy yourself, then you each bring that to the relationship.”
A lot is made about “sacrifices” in a relationship. You are supposed to keep the relationship happy by consistently sacrificing yourself for your partner and their wants and needs.
There is some truth to that. Every relationship requires each person to consciously choose to give something up at times.
But the problem is when all of the relationship’s happiness is contingent on the other person and both people are in a constant state of sacrifice. Just read that again. That sounds horrible. It reminds me of an old Marilyn Manson song, “Shoot myself to love you; if I loved myself, I’d be shooting you.” A relationship based on sacrifices cannot be sustained, and will eventually become damaging to both individuals in it.
“Shitty, codependent relationships have an inherent stability because you’re both locked in an implicit bargain to tolerate the other person’s bad behavior because they’re tolerating yours, and neither of you wants to be alone. On the surface, it seems like “compromising in relationships because that’s what people do,” but the reality is that resentments build up, and both parties become the other person’s emotional hostage against having to face and deal with their own bullshit (it took me 14 years to realize this, by the way).”
A healthy and happy relationship requires two healthy and happy individuals. Keyword here: “individuals.” That means two people with their own identities, their own interests and perspectives, and things they do by themselves, on their own time.
This is why attempting to control your partner (or submitting control over yourself to your partner) to make them “happy” ultimately backfires — it allows the individual identities of each person to be destroyed, the very identities that attracted each person and brought them together in the first place.
“Don’t try to change them. This is the person you chose. They were good enough to marry so don’t expect them to change now.”
“Don’t ever give up who you are for the person you’re with. It will only backfire and make you both miserable. Have the courage to be who you are, and most importantly, let your partner be who they are. Those are the two people who fell in love with each other in the first place.”
But how does one do this? Well, it’s a bit counterintuitive. But it’s something hundreds and hundreds of successful couples echoed in their emails…