How To Have A Happy Relationship With A Difficult Partner
So, you are married to someone who happens to be difficult to live with. Even though you are fully committed to your relationship, you find that they are constantly pissing you off and you always have some “choice” words you think they need to hear from you. They bring out the worst in you; language, behavior, everything. You know that regardless of how upset you get with them, it is not going to solve anything. The other option of not letting them know how upset you are also doesn’t seem appealing, so what do you do? How do you coexist with a partner who happens to bring out the worst in you by some of the bonehead things they do?
One of the ultimate objectives in any relationship is to be happy with your partner. They way you “see” your spouse directly impacts how happy you are with them, which directly impacts how you talk to them. When you are unhappy with them, you end up talking to them in a rude, contemptuous or condescending manner. And we all know that creates emotional distance between the both of you, which is no good for a happy relationship. When you are happy with them, it’s usually the opposite.
Research has shown that feelings of fondness and admiration are the perfect antidotes to anger and negative feelings towards your spouse. This fact remains true even if the feelings of fondness and admiration you have towards your spouse are as a result of a choice you make, rather than as a result of specific things your partner has done recently to make you feel that way. When couples make a full, conscious effort to notice things they like about each other’s personalities and character, and are willing to express that fondness right out loud, their relationships typically improve.
So be on the lookout. Constantly scan your environment and observe your interactions with your partner. Rather than finding faults, look for evidence that your partner is getting it right. Catch your partner doing something right. Then express appreciation. Find excuses to offer compliments and praise.
‘She fixed her hair.’ or ‘He washed the car.’
Try and notice all the small things that each of you contributes to your life together, and when you see them, let your partner know you’ve noticed and that you’re grateful. Not only will this make them feel better and motivate them to try harder and to be on their best behavior, it will also make you feel better and happier. If you feel better about them, then you’re more likely to not get angry even when you need to talk to them after they mess up.
So what’s the “happiness” game plan?
You need to train your mind to replace “anger maintaining” thoughts about your partner with “happiness building” thoughts. There are certain things your partner has done that you keep on reliving in your mind. Those are the “anger maintaining” thoughts. There are also certain things your partner has done in the past, that are the reason you fell in love with them. And when you remember those things, those are the “happiness building” thoughts. Doing so takes time and practice, but it’s worth it because it can build feelings of fondness and admiration in your relationship.
For this to work, you can’t just think about these thoughts. You have to do something with them! For example, if you think about the fact you genuinely like your partner, write down on a piece of paper one characteristic you find loving about them. Write down the time your partner showed this side of themselves best. And give the note to them!!!
If you remember the joyful times in your marriage, buy a blank greeting card, write a note about one of those times in the card and give it to your spouse.
Again, I know, this is hard. And you will fail. Lots of times. But as Mother Theresa said, “I wasn’t called to succeed. I was called to be committed.” So stay committed to the process and you and your partner will reap the rewards of your commitment…a happier relationship.
ZeeZee is a certified Relationship and Marriage Coach who believes her purpose in life is to equip couples with the right tools for a successful relationship. Through her website and YouTube channel she shares practical tips and principles that help couples understand the inner workings of a healthy marriage.