How does a couple become happily married? What does that really mean? Do you have to be happy all the time? Never fight? I don’t believe so.
Happily married means that you would remarry the same person if you had the chance and that you tell your spouse something like that on a regular basis. The deeper question is: what can you do, to and for each other, so that you would in fact choose that person again? The answer is that you must create a relationship based on values. In my couples mediation practice I teach people how to make tiny changes in their words to foster big changes in the mutual respect, appreciation, companionship and intimacy they share. My new my bestselling book, Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In, brings the values-driven quick tips to those who can’t come to my office.
While that “how-to” is in my book, the mindset needed to maintain a happy relationship is one founded on making the “right” choices. I’ve been reading a book about Karma, and I agree that if you do what is right in any given moment, you are building and maintaining the love in your life. Doing the right thing releases good Karma and the spirit of your positive choice will nourish your partner and ultimately be reciprocated.
My Good Karma Choice
Last night I had the opportunity to add good Karma to my marriage. My husband was out at a Japan fundraiser in the city at a beer garden. He was certainly enjoying himself. I was at home with two kids. Our son Blake had recently developed an allergy to oats and while his allergic rash on his butt was healing, it was very itchy. All of a sudden, he scratched the h*ll out of it and it started bleeding, a lot. He was on the potty at the time, so I tried to figure out if it was internal or external blood. It was external, but even so, Blake was in pain and crying loudly. I struggled with what to put on the cuts that were on the skin that rubs together. I tried a bunch of things as I also worked to prevent Blake from scratching more. We were upset. But not my husband who was out eating and drinking, unaware of the turmoil at home.
In the midst of this, it was time to put 2-month old Emma to bed, which is not easy. I switched off on the duties (care for Blake, then run to Emma’s room to change her, feed her…). After Blake settled down, he fell asleep, fast. This episode had exhausted both of us. I finished up Emma’s bedtime and breathed a sigh of relief.
What now? Do I call my husband to tell him what happened? Do I ask him to come home NOW in case Blake wakes up in pain? If he doesn’t pick up his cell phone do I leave a voicemail telling him to call me because it is important? My heart told me the right answers to these questions. “Leave him be,” it said. “Let him enjoy himself. There is nothing he can do to help right now. You can tell him when he gets home or in the morning.” The other choice, to call him now, would be a selfish choice of wanting him to immediately share in my discomfort and sympathy for Blake. Such a call would instantly turn his night around from good to bad.
In addition, there was another option out there when it came to my state of mind: I could choose to be annoyed at him for not being home when I needed him most. However, in my efforts to think and behave with good Karma, there was an alternative way to view the situation. My need for him to be at home during the distress could cause me to recognize how valuable he is at home, and how much his support means to me. By not having him here, I am able to see the gap he leaves and the value his presence adds.
What did I do? I didn’t call my husband, and I chose to view his absence last night as a reminder of his importance to our family. He’s a great father, deserving of a night off. Now that is spreading good Karma and it’s already coming back to me because I feel good about myself for making the right decisions.
Laurie Puhn is a lawyer, mediator, blogger and bestselling author of “Fight Less, Love More: 5-Minute Conversations to Change Your Relationship without Blowing Up or Giving In“ Visit www.lauriepuhn.com for more information. Visit www.expectingwords.com to read her relationship advice blog for new parents and expecting couples.
More from Laurie Puhn:
- Breastfeeding and Formula Can Go Hand-in-Hand, Guilt-Free
- Has Economic Recession Actually Prevented Some Couples From Getting Divorced?
- Are You A Bossy Mom?
Want more genConnect?
- For more daily expert updates, follow genConnect on Twitter and Facebook
- To directly connect with any of our experts, sign up for genConnect.com