It’s so easy to believe my husband is 100% lovable.
Not because he’s perfect, but because I intentionally choose to think he’s perfect for me.
It’s so easy to believe he’s the funniest guy I’ve ever met.
Not because he’s a comic genius, because I intentionally choose to think he’s hilarious. And, at times, an adorably silly and lovable goofball.
It’s so easy believe he’s brilliant. According to me, he’s the best complex problem solver I know.
Not because he’s got an IQ of 175, but because I choose to think so.
Detecting a pattern here?
I intentionally choose to think so.
I have made the intentional choice to love him, think he’s funny and admire how very smart he is and revel in thinking he’s perfect for me every day.
No matter what.
Even when he blanches at the idea of climbing a ladder to change a burnt-out recessed light bulb. Or needs my help to figure out a glitch on his iPad. Or is all thumbs in the kitchen. Or obsessively tunes in to watch his favorite sports teams, both collegiate and professional.
I do not renegotiate these core beliefs based on his behavior on any particular day.
I love him with all my heart every day because I choose to.
I constantly remind myself that I choose to think he’s perfect for me. After 12 years, it’s second nature to me.
After the end of my first marriage, I decided I wanted my second marriage to be rich with love, friendship, warmth and affection.
I learned that had 100% control over how I felt about my husband and our marriage.
And, most importantly, I actually understood that it was my job to create that kind of marriage with my thinking.
I used to think it was my husband’s job to meet my needs.
All my needs.
This post describes how I thought about my former husband’s responsibility to meet my needs during my first marriage.
I wholeheartedly believed it was his responsibility to be an attuned and responsive partner.
I believed that all I would be happy if he responded to my request. That all I had to do was carefully and explicitly explain my needs, wishes and desires, which, of course, I knew were reasonable and “normal.”
Then, I believed, he would behave in a way that demonstrated he understood what was important to me. That he loved me.
Why wouldn’t he comply if he really loved me?
I had a detailed manual which catalogued all my expectations for proper husband behavior. And he wasn’t following it at all.
So aggravating. Over the ensuing years, I was seething with resentment.
Let’s just say I was not a happy camper, nor was I pleasant to be around.
So sorry, Husband #1.
My Husband Manual had to go if I wanted to make my second marriage my last marriage.
If I wanted my second marriage to be different, read happier, than my first, it was my responsibility to make it different.
Once I understood that I was relying on my Husband Manual as if my life depended on it, I ditched it.
I didn’t ditch my values, standards and minimal baseline thoughts and beliefs about what was important to me in a relationship. They serve d and still serve me well. I held onto what I know is essential to my emotional and psychological well-being in my marriage.
What I let go of was thinking it was my husband’s “husbandly duty” to MAKE ME HAPPY!
And I let go of all the expectations associated with that unhelpful thought.
It’s my responsibility to MAKE ME HAPPY!
It’s up to me to intentionally decide which thoughts serve me and which ones hold me back from experiencing the pleasurable feelings of love and happiness I want.
It’s also my responsibility to examine my own thinking on a regular basis.
I am responsible for doing all the Thought Work necessary to manage my thinking so I can live my best life.
This understanding works wonders for our relationship.
My expectations for what I actually need him to do and where it’s important for him to accommodate me are a small, manageable and fairly easily agreed upon set of expectations.
Keeping my set of expectations small and known removes much of the tension and frustration around all the little things that often cause frustration and annoyance for any couple.
It significantly increases the peacefulness and reduces knee-jerk nagging and complaining.
We are on the same page about the big issues that can make any second marriage miserable and chaotic.
Before we married, we discussed the key areas that are ripe for conflict. We developed a game plan for how we would handle each of them, as individuals and as a couple.
- Money, his, mine and ours
- Our relationships with our bio children and our stepchildren
- Our relationships with our parents
- Where we would live
- Household responsibilities and chores
- Our jobs and career aspirations
- Big dreams and life goals
We created a Prenup that protected each of us. As two fully formed adults with responsibilities and assets of our own, we needed to define and protect our estate plan and work out, in advance, how we would handle a divorce if that option became a reality.
There was nothing unromantic about it!
It was created with kind, considerate and loving attention to detail. With respect for our individual needs and our intentions for our children.
Even if protecting assets in the face of conflict is not a big issue, planning how to “consciously uncouple” with dignity and respect for each other is something everyone should consider defining.
It would save considerable expense and emotional turmoil in the long run if the relationship ran its course and reached its completion during your lifetime.
This is the most important take-away: Choose your thinking about your husband with intention and care.
It’s impossible to spend days, weeks, months and years living with your partner without encountering many opportunities for disappointment and conflict.
You can minimize the effect of the inevitable friction on your well-being by deciding, in advance, that you can feel love, admiration and respect for your husband, no matter what.
When you are upset and frustrated, it helps to take the long view.
Ask yourself, will this matter in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months, 5 years from now? If it will matter in 5 months or more, you’ve hit upon something you need to further explore, for yourself.
If you think it’s something that requires a sit-down with your husband, it’s worth the effort to discuss the issue and find common ground.
Choose to love your husband, no matter what!
I’m here to help you figure out how.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty so your relationship reflects the love and respect you truly desire.
Book a Strategy Call right here.
There’s nothing that feels better than love.