Hills Couples Counselling

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WHY HAPPY WIFE, HAPPY LIFE MAY END IN GOODBYE! By Vicki Childs. Relationship Therapist.

Why Happy Wife, Happy Life, Often ends in Goodbye

Who amongst us hasn't heard the popular and ever-growing mantra of ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life?'

I’d be surprised if anyone aged from 12 to 90 years old hasn't heard that phrase echoed at some time at some event. Perhaps it was at the club or pub, or a social gathering or maybe at a girl's night out. More than likely, you’ve heard it doled out as the ‘best advice’ a male groom could ever receive.

The origins of ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ can be dated back to 1903 where it was first seen in print as part of a published rhyme in the Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 22 October 1903 (paywall).

More recently, it has become somewhat of an unwritten rule and shockingly used by many couples as a barometer for measuring the success of a relationship. Suffice to say, the notion of ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ is one which has been widely accepted as THE FORMULA for happy relationships.

But BE WARNED there is a dark side to this ‘formula’ which is becoming increasingly apparent and responsible for many shock ‘Goodbyes.’ The idea that one person's happiness trumps another's is just so totally out of whack, to begin with, let alone unfair, narcissistic and downright selfish.

In keeping things real, let's admit, it's a good feeling when things tend to go your way when your requests are met and even surpassed. For some Couples one of the partners is often happy to go the extra mile in ensuring they have a happy wife, in these cases, the more accommodating of partners is generally receiving a mutual benefit, however, in the vast majority of cases, there's a disturbing undercurrent of quiet and simmering disdain. Seldom spoken of until the brown stuff hits the proverbial fan.

While the vast majority of individuals in a relationship know and understand how vitally important it is to carry out actions which ensure your partner is happy and fulfilled, where do we draw a line of even-handedness? Where does the boundary sit with ensuring a partner is happy as opposed to becoming a complete slave to unreasonable and often increasingly ridiculous demands? Door Mat anyone?

We need to ask ourselves ‘why is my happiness more important than the person I profess to love?’ All couples have Emotional Love Tanks. These are our tanks which need to be filled with all of the things that personally satisfy us and make us feel happy and loved within the sanctity of a relationship.

More and more, I see couples with vast disparities in their respective Love Tanks. Couples who are at breaking point, as one partner desperately attempts to ensure the other is happy at the cost of denying personal needs, all due to some crazy notion promoting inequality as a foundation of love.

It’s not uncommon for a couple to now present with one partner doing all of the ‘heavy lifting’ while the other accepts and expects that their tank is fully fuelled while the other person’s tank is completely depleted, in part due to some MARRIAGE MYTH which was initially penned in a comical sense.

Much of the disparity comes from not speaking the same ‘Love Language’ or not committing to filling your partner’s emotional love tank. Knowing HOW to fill, WHAT to fill it with and WHEN to fill an Emotional Love Tank can make an enormous difference to any relationship.

Relationships are about sharing the load. Great unions, with master couples, are those where the load is distributed evenly, where thought, consideration and distribution of happiness are shared equally.

Think about how many times, you may have heard an obviously begrudging or disengaged husband utter the sometimes resigned words ‘Yep, whatever, Happy Wife, Happy Life’ – while there is apparent compliance, often underneath lies resentment, bitterness, disempowerment or worse, dampened hatred.

While it's well known that a happy wife will radiate happiness into the family environment; likewise, unheard or unacknowledged resentment DOES build when one person ‘rules the roost' or when one person's satisfaction is paramount or more important than the others.

Many compliant partners plod along trying to uphold the happiness of the other, until they can no longer deny their own happiness. Or until their EMOTIONAL LOVE TANK is empty, when that occurs the relationship becomes NON FUNCTIONAL and usually breaks down.

It often comes as a HUGE SURPRISE to many clients who have practised ‘Happy Wife Happy Life’ when their partner suddenly voice displeasure or in worst case scenario up and leave. On many occasions, the partner striving to provide happiness at all costs has checked out of the relationship emotionally, long before physically leaving.

A much more sensible and fair approach to all relationships is ‘HAPPY SPOUSE, HAPPY HOUSE’.

When consideration is given to mutual happiness within the relationship, emotional love tanks are fuelled and filled, resulting in genuinely great, rewarding relationships.

To find out more about LOVE LANGUAGES, LOVE TANKS and your LOVE LANGUAGE, click here or book your appointment today.

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HAPPY SPOUSE, HAPPY HOUSE.