“My wife is never happy” or “my husband is never happy” is something I hear from time to time. One partner gives a little more, the other takes a little more. One might feel responsible for the other’s happiness. What happens when that happiness eludes them?
I Give and Give, But My Husband or Wife Wants More
Some of us just do a lot in our relationships. We listen to what our partner wants. We think about their needs and we do what we can to make them feel taken care of and happy. Many of us do this just automatically because we are kind, caring people. And so, it feels terrible when it appears “my husband still isn’t satisfied” or “my wife is never happy.”
But how many of us just get exhausted doing and doing everything we can and our partner is still unhappy? They are still not satisfied with all our help. And besides not having our partner happy, we are now exhausted because we have run out of gas.
Feeling Taken Advantage of After Giving ‘Till It Hurts?
This scenario is present in a lot of relationships. Often one partner is very willing to do things for their mate. The other person appreciates what is being done in the beginning, but somewhere into the relationship, after time, the person who is the doer feels taken for granted and the person who has things done for them feels like there isn’t enough being done.
So, why is this so common? I think it’s because we show love the way we learned how to show it. If we were helpful in our homes as children, we just take those skills and use them in our relationship. If we were taken care of by our caregivers or our siblings or other family members, being taken care of seems just natural and that’s how we show up in a relationship, loving to be taken care of and sometimes waiting for it.
When Expectations Exceed What We Can Give, We Feel “My Wife is Never Happy”
Nothing wrong with either of these places, but what starts to happen is that the person who is doing things to please the other stops feeling appreciated because the person receiving just feels it’s a natural way to live. To improve the situation, here are two new ways of thinking about these things, and they are different for each type of person.
For the person who gives to feel appreciated, this one needs some good self care. That means thinking about you first once in a while. This is not selfish. This is important so you don’t run out of gas. This is a new concept because you probably haven’t done this before. It’s likely that you do for all the people in your family first and then you give yourself what is left, and that’s usually a small amount if anything at all.
Taking Good Care of Yourself is the First Step in Dealing with Your Husband or Wife’s Unhappiness
What would make you stronger and happier is to take care of yourself, make sure you get some of life’s goodness and then you can give to your heart’s content. But learning how to give to ourselves is very hard when you have been taught to take care of others first. But the skill helps ease your sadness at not being noticed by people you do all that good care for. You can’t expect people to know what you need. You have to know what you need and then tell them. That’s good self-care.
Now for the person who was always taken care of. It’s wonderful to have people love you and do nice things for you. I am happy someone thinks about you. But you must think about you too. You must begin to understand what is actually being done to make your life easier, you know all that good stuff that your mate does automatically that you might not even notice, except when he or she doesn’t do it?
Our Upbringing Doesn’t Need to Dictate Our Relationship’s Future
There is noting wrong with the way we grew up. But there is something wrong with expecting others to understand our needs and fulfill them all for us. All of us, if we want to live happily with our partners, have to take stock of who we are, what we are about, and what we want, especially from our partner. This is a new skill. It is different than just being an individual that grew up a certain way. We can actually learn not only how we operate, but how to get our partner to understand and respond to our needs.
Build a new way to see yourself and what you want and what you can be grateful for. You will improve the way you feel and your relationship, and isn’t that what every couple wants?
Since You’re Living in a “My Wife is Never Happy” Kind of Place, Tune In to Learn More About How to Fix It
Listen to Linda, Pastor Trevor, and Pastor Cedric break issues just like these down on Two Wise Men and a Smart Chick, airing Fridays at 11:00AM PST.