Wednesday, September 7, 2011


I was listening to an episode of Mormon Stories podcast; the episode itself was about improving your sex life, but I got something different out of it. They discussed that many couples feel that they are entirely responsible for their partner's happiness, and make their partner entirely responsible for their happiness. We are often taught in the Mormon church that there is nothing more fulfilling than getting married (except having kids), that nothing will make us happier. So we place all our expectations of happiness and fulfillment onto one person, and take on the job of single-handedly making them happy and fulfilled. When you think about it, this is a pretty unreasonable expectation. We spend our whole lives surrounding ourselves with different kinds of people. We have friends we go party with, friends we vent to, friends we go to in a crisis, friends we shar a certain interest with, etc., etc. We find different kinds of fulfillment with different people. Granted, many of us have a best friend, the role a spouse eventually fills, that fulfills us in many ways. But not in every way. Most people instinctively know which friends to go to for what, and what each person can and can't handle. But often that all goes out the window when we marry or start a long-term commited relationship and expect our partner to be everything, always.

I don't think I expect K to fill all my needs. I have friends I vent to and friends I go out and do things with that he doesn't want to do. I've noticed that I do, however, make myself utterly responsible for his happiness. If he's upset by something at school or work, I take on his anxiety. Often I get more upset than he is because it's my job to make him happy and I can't fix what's upsetting him. Every little problem he has becomes the end of the world in my mind. Granted, wanting your partner to be happy and trying to make them happy is a good thing, but making yourself responsible for their happiness and blaming yourself for their unhappiness is not a good thing. But I picked up the idea somewhere that his happiness and unhappiness is my responsibility and I've internalized that.

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