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A few years ago, during counselling for Postpartum Depression, I mentioned that I was unhappy in my marriage. The counselor's response is that "Happiness is over-rated". I was a bit throw off by this. Happiness is supposed to be a very important role in our lives, and we strive to be happy.
She went on to explain that happiness in marriage is over-rated because it is so subjective. What matters she said, is the vision we have for our family, our goals, the way we treat each other, whether we have fun together, whether we enjoy each other company, whether we cooperate and can work well as a team.
Happiness in marriage is subjective because it depends on our mood, and many other outside influences, sleep, food, work, perspective. One moment we can be deliriously happy and the other moment depressed. Also, depending on our childhood and how we grew up we can put a lot of expectation on our partner to "make us happy". And that is not fair because happiness is a state of mind and it is up to each of us to make ourselves happy.
One tip that stuck with me is what how we rate our happiness and what it depends on. The counselor mentioned that we should never compare our marriage to those of our friends who do not have kids. Marriage satisfaction in couples with children is always lower than those of our child-free counterparts during the first five years.
We wrote a vision statement for our marriage based on the goals we had for our marriage.
Our vision statement is:
Our marriage is respectful, understanding, and compassionate. It is a safe place for our children, and each other. Our marriage is longstanding and will survive the storms that come our way.
Do you have a vision statement for your marriage? What would it be?