Secret #10: Believe You Hit the Jackpot
Here’s a thought to consider: if we gave our spouses more credit for their role in the good things in our marriages…would they probably start contributing even more?
The reason I ask that is because the highly happy couples I interviewed and surveyed had a very different answer even from those who were in generally good marriages.
On the survey, I asked something like, “who is most responsible for the happiness of your marriage – you or your spouse?” Among those in good marriages, each spouse was more likely to say “well, if I have to choose… our happiness is due to me.” Among those in great marriages, nearly eight in ten of those surveyed didn’t hesitate: they said “it’s because of my spouse.”
One of the greatest secrets of the highly happy spouses is that they know they’re not perfect and they’re thrilled to have someone by their side who loves them anyway! And they are also highly attuned to (as one person put it) the “amazingness” of their spouse. They live in a constant state of gratitude and awe that they are married to this wonderful person.
One husband’s sweet words concerning his wife summed up this attitude perfectly. He said, “I had no idea that marriage could be this good or how amazing she would be as a wife. I sure hit the jackpot with her. And I had no idea of the size of the jackpot when I pulled the lever.”
But in all other marriages – the generally happy ones and the so-so ones – the spouses were more likely to give themselves credit for the work that went into their marriage. And that, it turns out, is one of the key things preventing them from getting to the highest level of happiness in their marriage.
It turns out that what creates the happiest marriages is one person’s perception of what their spouse contributes and not an actual checklist! Because that perception leads to gratitude. And that gratitude leads to expressing gratitude and affirmation. And that affirmation leads to our spouse wanting to become the person we already see them to be.
We have to be willing to open our eyes to the “awesomeness” of our spouses. It turns out that seeing the best in them will bring out the best in them.
Join us tomorrow for a new short series and see how learning how much hope there really is for all marriages can dramatically change your marriage.
From Chapter 13 of The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, by Shaunti Feldhahn.
Shaunti Feldhahn is the best-selling author of eye-opening, research-based books about men, women and relationships, including For Women Only, For Men Only, The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and her newest, The Good News About Marriage. A Harvard-trained social researcher and speaker, her ﬁndings are regularly featured in media as diverse as The Today Show, Focus on the Family, and the New York Times. Shaunti speaks regularly at churches, conferences, and corporate events. (Inquire about Shaunti speaking, or visit www.shaunti.com for more.)
Welcome to Marriage Month! From June 5 to July 4, join us here in the Christian Post Book Corner as I share my top findings on the little, eye-opening things that make a big difference in creating great marriages and relationships. This is one of a series giving a sneak peek into what I discovered about what makes happy marriages so happy! After years of nationally-representative research with more than 1,000 couples, I reveal the twelve most important little habits in The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages: The Little Things That Make a Big Difference. See www.surprisingsecrets.com for more!