Unhappy? Make a List

When I am faced with a problem, I do one of two things: I Google it and make lists. So when Google told me I could have a happier marriage by making a list, I was on board.

There are times when even as I speak to my husband, I can hear how critical I am of him. It’s bad when you don’t want to listen to yourself. After a tiff between us, I decided to check online to find an attitude adjustment. Interestingly enough, my Google search started with trying to find tips to motivate my husband to meet my expectations. There are a lot of sites that have tips for motivating others. So when one of the sites mentioned a list that saved a marriage, it stood out, and I had to read it.

Briefly, the author tells the story of the day she decided to leave her husband. Seeking refuge at her parents house, her mother asked her to make a list of her husbands shortcomings. When she had filled one side of the paper, she assumed the next step would be to list his good points, which she determined would not be substantial enough to reverse her decision. Instead, her mother asked her to write down her response to her husband’s trespasses. When she finished, her mother tore off the first part, and threw it away, leaving her daughter with a list of petty behaviors that were ruining her marriage.

When we are faced with difficulties, how we respond can have a huge impact on our happiness. How often do women make sacrifices for their family, that no one asked them to make, only to be left feeling resentful that no one appreciates them. My list was similar to the author’s; when I found myself at odds with my husband, I pouted, cried, gave the silent treatment, screamed – basically I act like a small child.

This realization is directly contrary to my constant stance that my husband is a goofball and I keep everything running. Once I opened my eyes to my own behavior, I could see that my husband is incredibly loving. After I made my list, I could see that the contributions my husband makes may be intangible, and therefore easier for me to ignore.

I believe that when you find yourself in an unhappy place, always look within first. Are your own actions driving your misery? Be honest with yourself, and open your world up to the possibility of change. Not changing others, changing yourself. Not only will you enjoy better relationships, but your children will benefit from you behaving like supermom once again, instead of behaving like a brat.

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