Every person is an individual, with distinct needs, strengths and weaknesses.  The happiest couples are learning more everyday about who their partner is, and what makes them happy.  And they take action, at least some of the time, to do what it takes to make their partner happy.  And it’s not always fair!

It’s not always fair, because sometimes you may notice your partner’s buttons got pushed.  You said something that triggered one of their “issues”.  And suddenly they’re getting emotionally stirred up, they’re upset, and maybe even they are “going off on you”.  Arguments and disagreements happen.  And your best response may be to step back, to not respond, to stay quiet, or make some soothing remarks.  Maybe you want to respond – you may have a great response to fling back at them.  Yet the caring and loving response is sometimes to hold back.  And in doing that, help them regain composure.  So, it’s not always fair.

But what you do get – if you do that, is a happier partner, and so, a happier relationship and a happier marriage.  And so you end up feeling happier too.  Sometimes this is the art of living – to hold back from expressing yourself automatically, so that you can take care of your partner’s needs.

Now, if you are already doing that – and always doing that – so much that there’s no room for you to express yourself…now that would be really unfair.  And for your happiness, it may be time to consult with a couples therapist.  A couples therapist will help you both sort out your needs and your partner’s needs, and develop a plan for both of you to get your needs met.  And a couples therapist will help you learn some new communication skills, so that you can talk to each other without triggering each other so much.  And you may be creating a happier marriage, and you may be getting alond better with your partner.  And that may feel more fair.

If you have any questions about this article, write Don Wallach, MFT at his   website: www.donwallach.com or call at (415) 339-7890 or (707) 583-2305. Donald Wallach offers couples counseling and individual therapy to those living in Marin and Sonoma County. He helps clients find solutions to marital problems in their relationships. His office is in Petaluma and serves the surrounding communities including Cotati, Rohnert Park, Novato, Santa Rosa and Penngrove. He enjoys helping others have happier relationships and more fulfilling lives.

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