“Happy Wife, Happy Life”
If there was a Hall of Fame for “married man one liners” this one would certainly be a first ballot inductee. It would take it’s place next to “Yes, Dear” and “I’ll get around to it!”
Inwardly, I respond to these four words in a couple of different ways.
My first reaction is to envision myself sitting around with the Little Rascals (no short jokes here please). Someone comes up to us and says “Happy wife, happy life” to which we all respond, “Aaaaaaannnnnd Hoooooooowwwww!!!” The fact is, when I am truly caring for Laura and I’m deeply invested in her happiness, life just seems better.
That being said, I always feel a little creepy when I hear this phrase. Maybe it’s because most of the time it is uttered on the golf course, in a locker room or in a group large enough that if your wife actually hears you say the words, there will be safety from whatever reaction she might have.
I also think it is dysfunctional because it places my wife as the ultimate source of happiness in my life. When I am living this way, Laura can tangibly feel the difference. I start to look to her for constant affirmation. Is she doing Ok? If she is- PHEW! I can be OK too. What if she’s not “all right”? Well then, I’d better find a way to make her happy so that I can be “all right”. Ultimately, she ends up feeling the weight of carrying my emotional well being around with her.
You may have picked up by this point that I am a man of extremes. This does not have to be an either/or scenario!
It’s odd, but I believe one of the biggest ways I can show my wife that I love her and care for her is to be devoted to something greater than myself (or either one of us). She shouldn’t feel the pressure to be the only place I run for affirmation and peace.
My guess is a lot of guys know this. The breakdown occurs because we (and I place myself within the collective “we”) run to the wrong things to fill that gap. We turn to fantasy football (ever wonder why Fan Duel is so huge?), our work, even the Buffalo Bills…Please don’t run to the Buffalo Bills!!!!!
These things (and many others like them) don’t satisfy because I can never get enough from them. They are superficial and can’t meet the deep relational need that I have. It’s not enough to intellectually know the unconditional love and acceptance that I crave. It needs to hit my heart. If I don’t genuinely experience that on a continual basis, I will look for my happiness in all the wrong places. Yes, including my awesome wife!
There is only one place I can turn to fill my deepest relational needs. That is the One who knows everything about me, is always with me and loves me through it all. When I am experiencing the fullness of that, I love my wife on a richer level than I could ever on my own. Dare I say, she may also be “happy”.