One Thing You’re Doing That’s Destroying Your Relationship

 

Everyone wants to be in a happy relationship. That’s a given. We want to feel like we’re in the best relationship we could possibly be in, and we want to be just plain happy. Of course, we want our partners to be happy as well. Hopefully, this is the case with your current relationship. Or, if you’re not in one at the moment, maybe that’s why you got out of it. Maybe you just weren’t as happy as you could’ve been. If you are in one, what if you were doing something every day that’s silently chipping away at the health and happiness of that relationship? What if it was even something you were doing without realizing it?

Many times, when people are in a relationship that’s in trouble, they don’t see the trouble until it’s too late. Little things build up for awhile without realizing what’s happening. You may be in a perfectly happy relationship and think that there’s nothing for you to worry about. Hopefully, you’re absolutely right. But, what if something you’re doing is actually putting your relationship in jeopardy?

So, what is this thing we’re talking about?

 One Thing You Might be doing that's destroying your relationship: leahelizabethblogs pinterest image

Expecting Total Equality in Your Relationship

In a perfect world, couples would be true equals. Your quirks would balance out his; he would be strong when you’re weak. Your workload and emotional burdens would be the same. But guess what? They’re just not. 

Of course you should treat each other fairly and always strive to maintain mutual respect and equal gratitude. But, I guarantee you there are times when you have resented your partner because you felt like you were just “doing more.”  That is a dangerous, dangerous game, friends.

When you start thinking of your relationship as a system of checks and balances, it’s really easy to skew those results in your favor. You can clearly see all the ways you’ve worked hard or been great because you were there for all of it. However, you might not be so fast to note all the work your boyfriend or husband puts in. Let’s face it, we can all be self-centered, and it’s a lot easier to notice all of our own hard work than someone else’s.

There are going to be times when you put more into your relationship. That is 100% fact. There are going to be times when your husband or boyfriend puts more into your relationship. That, too, is 100% fact. If you spend your time focusing on who’s giving what or who’s doing what, you will damage your relationship. To what extent, who knows really. That depends on you and when you decide to stop caring about whether or not you’ve cleaned equal parts of the house or given equal amounts of affection and attention lately.

Let’s be honest here, since that’s what this blog is all about. I have allowed myself to participate in this type of thinking many times. I work a full time job just like my husband. At the end of the week, I clean our house from top to bottom unlike my husband. How easy would it be to get annoyed by that? I can tell you, really dang easy. It’s not just housework we’re talking about though. It’s the emotional parts of your relationship as well.

There are many times where I’ve felt like why am I the one who has to do x, y, z when I have just as much going on as he does? Can you hear the pettiness in that type of thinking? I hope so because I surely can. That’s really easy to say now though and not so much in that moment when I’m standing at the sink and he’s fishing. I’m getting real here people. Join me.

Recognizing that you’re doing this type of stuff is the first step to stopping it. And you must stop it.  Every time you allow yourself to go down that road, a block of resentment settles right into your relationship. At times, you may be more giving than your partner and you make a point to notice it. Another block. A week goes by and you’ve managed all the accounts, paid all the bills, and bought all the groceries with little recognition of the time it took from your schedule. Two more blocks. Now you’re building a wall. This is how relationships get into major trouble.

When you fixate on whether or not things are 50/50, you’re creating impossible standards to live by. There’s no way that you would be able to perfectly balance out every chore, every act of kindness, and every bit of hard work. That would be completely exhausting not to mention a complete waste of your time and energy.

Let Go of Expectations and Accept Reality

Expectations can get us in a lot of trouble. It’s unfair to your partner to have an idea of the way you think things should go, and then get upset when it doesn’t play out like that. How would anyone be able to please you? They can’t. And if your partner feels like he can never please you, he’ll start building his own wall–a wall of frustration. Now we’ve got a real recipe for disaster. You’re full of resentment and he’s had enough.

You can stop that from happening. Shift your focus. Try to notice all the things that he is doing that have made your day a little easier, a little happier. Put yourself in his shoes, and imagine what his day has been like. My husband works long hours at a really difficult job. I know that what he deals with on a regular basis does not compare to my work struggles. But guess what? He doesn’t compare our jobs. Instead, he supports me and listens to me even when what he dealt with might have been “worse.”

You never know what might have happened during the day that your husband or boyfriend set aside in order to be there for you. He made an effort to come in with a positive attitude instead of letting work ruin your time together. Maybe you feel like being extra affectionate on that particular night. If you expected him to come home and be equally affectionate towards you and he wasn’t, you probably would be both annoyed and disappointed. And you just let expectations cloud your reality. You overlooked the fact that he actually did put you first. You missed it because it wasn’t the way you expected him to do it. It wasn’t your version of equality.

You’re not in your relationship to keep score

The reason that you’re in your relationship is because you love your partner. You don’t want them to feel anything other than truly and sincerely loved. It’s really hard to feel that way if you constantly hear about all the ways you’re not doing enough. No one starts a relationship by signing a contract agreeing to equal terms at all times.

Relationships are all about give and take. There’s no way to give if all you do is complain about how much is taken from you. It goes back to having a servant’s heart. You’re contributing to someone else’s happiness and thinking about how what you’re doing is a humble gift to your partner. No one wins by you holding on to all the ways you think you did too much or your boyfriend or husband didn’t do enough.

The honest truth…

I am guilty of doing less for my husband than he does for me. If I really did sit down and somehow calculate all the different ways we could “score” our relationship, he would win. No matter how many loads of laundry I may do or bathtubs I may scrub, he has done more for me than I could ever repay.

Besides the fact that he does a lot of work around the house like I ask him to, he also works hard at our relationship. He is kind and thoughtful in ways that I’m not sometimes. He puts up with my bad moods and snappy attitude after a long day. We’re definitely not 50/50 when I’m having a difficult time. It is 100% him keeping us afloat. How grateful am I that he doesn’t expect total equality? I bet if you think about it too your husband or boyfriend does the same things for you.

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We have to understand our differences

At a time when equality is certainly on the minds of our society, we cannot make the mistake of trying to force that into our relationships. There’s no place for it when you love someone. You won’t ever find it. Be thankful instead that there is someone around who can pick up your slack. Men and women truly do carry different burdens in relationships. Women tend to carry the emotional load and men often deal with the practical things. They are both difficult in their own, individual ways. It does no good to compare the two. They’re not the same, and you won’t ever find an equal solution. Do your best to carry your burdens gracefully, and be thankful that your partner is around to carry his.

Leave a comment and let me know if I’m the only one who’s ever been guilty of letting expectations of equality influence my relationship.

Marriage Advice: Having A Servant’s Heart

 

Have you ever thought about what makes your marriage work when it’s working good? Like really good. Those times when everything is clicking and you and your partner are truly happy and in sync. I already know that love is the main thing that makes it work, but I’m talking about on a smaller level. Recently, I’ve been wondering what changes on the days when everything just gets on my nerves, or everything just gets on his nerves. Thankfully, those days are usually few and far between, but who wants to ever have those days, amiright? One of the things that hit me was that I actually change. My personal attitude shifts, and it shifts a lot because, hey, I’m human.

Recently, I’ve tried to be more aware of those shifts and see what the constant was on the good days and the best days. I realized that there were several constants, and that really these should be my personal rules to a happy marriage because I’ve proven to myself that they work. Consider these “rules” marriage advice from someone who doesn’t claim to know much about marriage, but does have a happy one and hopes you do too. The first piece of marriage advice that I want to share is to try and have a servant’s heart.

What is a servant’s heart?

Growing up in the South, I’ve heard this expression most of my life, but I never really thought much about what it means. Having a servant’s heart is when you put another person’s needs and wants over your own. It requires a humble heart and a giving spirit. You, simply, aim to serve another person. By no means am I talking about degrading yourself or allowing someone else to do that. Rather, consider the strength of character and kindness it takes to focus less on your pleasure and comfort and more so on another’s.

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How does this apply to my marriage?

I’m sure this answer is obvious. When we bind our lives to another’s, we have a responsibility to preserve and care for that person’s happiness. Sometimes that’s really easy. Sometimes, it take a little more concentrated effort. Let’s talk about practical ways to try out this marriage advice/servant heart thing.

1. Take care of your responsibilities with no whining.

This one gets SO HARD for me. I work a full time job as a teacher, and sometimes the dishes are just too dang much after dealing with the perils of the classroom all day. I can spend a good fifteen minutes whining to my husband about dishes and the laundry and the yada yada yada. Then, since I’ve been whining so much about the dishes and such, I secretly hope that my husband will take it upon himself to do them for me. And sometimes he does, but when he doesn’t… flames of fury. All of a sudden I’m even more mad about the dishes than I was before. Twisted, right?

If I would choose to just do the stupid dishes without complaining I probably would have a more pleasant evening. And I also wouldn’t be stewing for no reason.  Better yet, what if I chose to do those dishes with a good attitude? Does that sentence make anyone else laugh? Seriously though, what would it take to just focus on how doing that one task happily will positively affect your relationship. When we don’t work with favors or expectations of praise in mind, we don’t get disappointed when they don’t happen. Try instead to focus on how what you’re doing is making life a little more pleasant for the person you love most.

2. Do some unsolicited favors.

I’ve found that this one goes a long way in my personal happiness as much as my husband’s. When I do something for him that he didn’t ask me to, I actually feel good about myself. I have a sense of satisfaction that’s like, hey, I’m actually pretty good at this wife thing. What’s something that your husband hates doing? Taking out the trash? Dropping off dry cleaning? Maybe you could find time to do one of those things for him as a small surprise. I’ve never done a favor like that for my husband and NOT received a sweet text or call or even a favor in return.

3. Try to think a few steps ahead.

If you know your husband has something important coming up like a big project at work or a cool opportunity, try to think ahead of ways that you can help. You may not know a thing about the intricacies of what he has going on. No problem. Because you do know that the printer is going to need lots of paper to print those sheets of legal documents or spreadsheets of figures. That’s where you come in! How about making a trip to the store and buying enough paper and ink to keep the stuff spitting out of the printer? Your husband never has to stop, and you just prevented a potential annoyance. Yay, you! He may never think twice about it, but we know you did it. And we are dancing with you.

 4. Try to view things with a positive attitude.

I think this is one of the greatest acts of service we can do for our spouses. Actually, even for ourselves. Who wants to come home every day to a negative attitude? No hands? Didn’t think so. When we try to be positive, it creates good energy in our hearts and homes. It’s really hard to do sometimes, but give it your best effort.

We don’t always get the best news or have the best day. Sometimes, we don’t even like hearing about someone else’s bad day. But try to be the positive spin on the things that come up in your household. If your husband has had the worst day, or is just feeling negative like we all do from time to time, show him the positive that he’s overlooking. He may not want to hear it, but I guarantee you it makes an impact. Think about it in the reverse. You getting annoyed by his negativity or adding negativity multiplies the negativity. Writing that word that many times is depressing much less living out that scenario. When you bring the positive outlook, you’ve challenged your husband to change his attitude and served him on the sly. Nice.

 

Let’s get real…

Are these things possible 24/7? Well gosh, no. I can’t say it enough. We are human, and we are flawed. I’ve probably messed them all up in the last 5 minutes. But, can I try to put at least one of these tips into practice at least some of the time? Of course I can, and so can you because you’re awesome. Try them out or at least think about this perspective and see if it makes a difference.

Comment below and let me know what you think, or if you try it out. Also, share with your friends and start a conversation about what makes your marriages/relationships work when they’re at their best.

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