Sometimes, an unhappy marriage just creeps up on you.
Are you in an unhappy marriage and miserable about it?
Maybe you are. Maybe you're not. Or maybe you're just unsure. Do you think your spouse is also miserable being married to you? What does it take to be in a good marriage that lasts?
For many married couples, it's normal to have thoughts about our marital happiness, especially when things aren't going well because we've hit a rough patch.
However, it's also possible to be miserable in your marriage and not be completely aware of it. You might even be asking yourself, "Why am I so unhappy?"
How are you making yourself miserable in your marriage without even knowing you're doing it?
Here are seven surprising things married couples subconsciously do that lead to an unhappy marriage.
1. Happily doing your own thing.
It's important that each spouse have interests outside of the marriage that help them each feel happy and vital. However, when the outside interests regularly interfere with or even prevent spending quality time with your spouse, it's time to take note.
Happy marriages require that the spouses spend time connecting and that means they spend time together — having sex, playing, talking about important stuff, doing new things, and doing the chores. It's these shared experiences that help to strengthen the marriage bond.
2. Believing you can change your spouse.
Hope is a beautiful thing because it can keep us moving toward our dreams. However, in a marriage, having hope that you can change your mate is a recipe for misery.
The only way anyone changes is because they choose to. Sure, you can make suggestions (or even demands), but your spouse won't make a permanent change unless they want to. And the longer you hold on to believing you can change them, the more likely it is that you'll wind up miserable in your marriage.
3. Taking care of everyone else.
When you spend so much time taking care of everyone else, you often neglect taking care of yourself. You lose touch with what you want and need. You may even lose your sense of self and see yourself as simply a spouse or parent.
When you lose your sense of self, it's easy to become profoundly unhappy with your marriage and your life.
4. Regularly fantasizing about life without your spouse.
When you spend more time daydreaming about life without your mate than how you can have more fun with them, something's amiss.
And what's amiss is your commitment to your marriage.
5. Expecting your spouse to complete you.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all remember the "romantic" line from the movie Jerry Maguire. But the truth is that happy marriages don't exist between two half people.
Happy marriages happen because two whole people choose to be together. And they don't just choose to be together when they get hitched, they choose to be together every single day.
6. Always having to prove you're right.
Most people thrive in marriages when they're married to someone they respect and who also respects them. If you believe your spouse isn't capable of being right about anything unless they're mimicking your opinions, you don't respect them.
And if you're married to someone you don't respect, are you really happy?
7. Being self-sufficient.
There's a general belief that we each need to be self-sufficient and capable of taking care of ourselves and our responsibilities without any outside assistance. This idea is great when you're single and have no family responsibilities.
However, when you're married, you're actually part of a team. And teams work together to accomplish their shared goals and dreams.
If you're not leaning on your spouse and your spouse isn't leaning on you to accomplish all you each hope for, then you're missing out on the magic of working together and you may even be making yourself needlessly miserable in your marriage.
As you can see from this list, feeling miserable in your marriage isn't something that's obviously premeditated. Sometimes things just drift off from marital bliss through seemingly innocuous behaviours.
The good news is that the things mentioned above aren't always notable signs your marriage is over. If your happiness in your married life is waning, you can still change things for the better through simple behaviours.
There's no reason to continue to suffer and feel miserable in your marriage. Things can be better.
Dr. Karen Finn is a divorce and life coach. Her writing on marriage and divorce has appeared on MSN, Yahoo!, and eHarmony, among others. You can learn more about Karen and her work at drkarenfinn.com.