I've spoken briefly on this blog about the idea of "The Manual" (a concept I learned from Brooke Castillo).
But it's such a great idea that we need to talk about it again:
The manual is a book of rules and instructions that we have written for someone else.
Sometimes the people in our lives know about these manuals,
but many times, we don't even tell them.
We don't even let them read the manuals that we have written for them!
Let's take your marriage, for example (because marriages are FULL of manuals):
"Husbands should mow the lawn."
"Husbands shouldn't play video games."
"Husbands should finish their charting and notes during the week--NEVER on the weekend."
"Husbands should always call if they get held up in surgery or at the clinic."
"Husbands should show their appreciation for their wives by bringing home romantic gifts."
Manuals are rule books that we have written about how we believe other people should behave so that WE can be happy.
We all have manuals.
Because we so often believe that if we can control the way people act,
then we can be happy.
But guess what?
People get to behave however in the heck they want.
You can't control them,
and even if you could---
there's nothing another person can do that will make you as happy as you want to be.
Only you can do that.
Did you read that?
Only YOU can make YOU happy.
So I give you permission to let go of one of the manuals in your life.
Start with your spouse.
It's a great place to begin.
Throw out the manual and just let them be them.
I know what you're thinking--
'So I should just be a doormat, not ever ask my husband for anything?
'Not expect anything from him?
You're doing it all anyway, so you may as well do it happily--
for your sake, because peace feels better than resentment any day.
Now please please please make requests all day long---
ask him to write you love notes...
take out the trash...
call if surgery or clinic goes long...
finish all his notes before the weekend...
just don't hang your emotional well-being on whether or not he actually DOES those things.
If he doesn't write you the letter that you asked for on your anniversary---
you can choose to make it mean that he doesn't love you---
doesn't listen to you---
Or you can choose to believe that he's not the letter-writing type.
Which thought feels better to you?
You get to choose.
Now go write yourself a letter about how awesome you are and fill your own bucket.
Seriously, do it.
And throw out that manual while you're at it.
It will change your marriage,
pinky promise it will.
Listen here for a great podcast on The Manual.