You will find no shortage of advice about how to make your spouse happy: do this or that, give this or that, say this or that. Here’s some particular advice however that I’m guessing you won’t get much of —
Don’t worry over making your husband or wife happy because you cannot do it.
What’s your reaction to this? How does it make you feel? Do you feel offended by this advice? Do you reject it?
Most people do reject this advice. Most believe it is possible to make another person happy. They are wrong.
Using your husband or wife as an example, there is only one person — one person in the entire universe — who influences their emotional state. Them.
Emotions DO NOT move from the outside in; emotions move from the inside out. This means there is nothing “out there” that can make you happy or unhappy. If you believe something “out there” has made you happy or unhappy then look again.
Here is what has actually happened: You have judged and labeled something “out there” as good or bad and this judging and labeling has created an emotional response that you interpret as happy or unhappy.
Most people are oblivious to this middle step — the actual cause of emotional responses. Most people only see the first and last steps — something happening “out there”; a happy or unhappy emotional response — and so connect the two.
The first step brought the last step about. (Wrong!)
If your spouse blames you for their unhappiness they are just as wrong as if they proclaim you as the source of their happiness. But take heart! Your spouse is as wrong as most everyone else is and so you are not the victim of unusual treatment (it may be cruel treatment but it is not unusual).
Listen to popular music about relationships and love. Time and time again they sing of how another person caused them suffering or made them happy. Let’s give all of these songs one name just to make it easier: You did it to me!
None of this is to say that there’s no such thing as caring and uncaring behavior. Everyone reading this essentially knows what it means to treat someone kindly. But don’t blame others, and not your spouse either, for what is created within you. Your spouse cannot reach into you and push a happy or unhappy button, and no one else can do this either. Your emotional universe is under your control, and only your control.
And if your spouse is calling you the source of their unhappiness? Will you match their ignorance about what causes our emotions when you respond to them? Or will you remember that your emotional state of being belongs to you, and then respond — or not respond at all.