From our first fairy tales through to our favourite Hollywood movies, we are given the message that “Happily ever after” is found in romance. As a relationships counsellor who works with couples across Australia, I can tell you that love and marriage can definitely bring happiness – BUT – only if you are happy within yourself first!
So, what does that mean, and how do we do it?
Here are my four top tips to build happiness within yourself, which will have positive impacts for your relationship.
- You Are Already Complete
You know that classic line from Jerry Maguire, “You complete me…”? I hate it! It’s a lovely scene and a great film, but the idea that we are walking around waiting for another person to ‘complete’ us, is just not true. You are a whole, valuable, intelligent person in your own right. In order for you to bring your best self into a relationship, you need to know that! Think about wedding rings – they are two complete circles – not two halves waiting to find each other. We offer our spouse a complete ring, as a symbol of our whole self. Honour all the incredible parts of yourself that make you complete!
- You Are Allowed Be Emotional
Amidst the busyness of daily life, we can forget to notice our own feelings. We often push them down under our ever-expanding list of ‘shoulds’ and ‘must-dos’. The thing is, your emotions are incredibly important – they act as a compass that points towards a need. If you are feeling upset or anxious, there is a need that isn’t being met. Perhaps you need connection, reassurance or clarification. To build a happy relationship, it is important to notice your emotions, identify what it is that you need, and share that with your partner.
- You Deserve Good Things
When was the last time you did something just for yourself? Now for the harder question – when was the last time you did something for yourself and didn’t feel guilty about it? Self-care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. If you want give the best of yourself to your partner, you need to take care of that self. We cannot pour from an empty cup. One of the best investments you can make in your relationship is to be happy, healthy and well. So, book the hair appointment, go to the gym, start journaling, get some proper sleep, read a book, take a long bath – and do it all guilt free!
- You Can Learn New Skills
We invest time and money into upskilling ourselves for our work. We complete study, attend professional development, and network because we know that the strategies we learn will be important for our career. But we assume the skills needed to have a happy, healthy relationship should just come naturally. This is just not the case for most people. Communication, connection and conflict resolution are a collection of learnable skills that positively impact every relationship in your life. Consider investing in yourself and your relationship by working with a professional to build a ‘toolkit’ of learnable skills and strategies.
After working with countless couples across Australia, I can tell you that the first step to a real life “Happily ever after” is recognising that your happiness is not determined by someone else. You are complete, emotional (in the best way), worthy of self-care, and able to learn new skills.
So, how will you choose to invest in your own happiness today?
About The Author
Megan Kozak (M.Ed., B.Ed., B.CI.) is a Relationships Educator, Couples Counsellor, and co-founder of Lighthouse Relationships. She is an accredited ‘Prepare Enrich’ Pre-marriage Counsellor and is trained in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.
Megan has 15 years of experience in educational, corporate, private and community environments helping people learn practical relationship strategies around communication, conflict resolution and wellbeing. She has worked in Senior Educational Leadership positions, has spoken at national conferences and contributed to professional publications.
Megan has a passion for working with couples who are wanting to enrich their relationship, as she loves helping people set themselves up for success with learnable skills and powerful habits. She has been sharing life with her wonderful husband for 16 years and, together, they have two hilarious, adventurous daughters.
Megan currently balances speaking engagements, relationship education workshops, and couples counselling – both face-to-face in her Brisbane offices, as well as online with couples across Australia. For more information, visit: