Hi friends!  I am going to take the night off from food blogging (all my eats were pretty unexciting, except I had 1 million cups of tea to stay awake).  I need to disconnect.


But, I wanted to leave you with an interesting passage from a book that I am slowly reading called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff in Love” by Richard Carlson and Kristine Carlson.  The book describes itself as “simple ways to nurture and strengthen your relationships while avoiding the habits that break down your loving connection.”


I like to read relationship advice books, but not because the Husband and I are having any problems.  :)  We’re awesome together!  But, I find these books helpful because we got married so young (24 is young!), and I know that we both have a lot of growing to do.  


This passage really stuck out to me, and I think it can be applied to all relationships, not just romantic ones.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


#49:  Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness (page 134 – 136)


Unfortunately, one of the biggest relationship mistakes also happens to be one of the most tempting things to do if you are in a relationship: Make your partner responsible for your happiness, and blame him or her when you are not.


It’s a little scary to listen to many of the popular songs on the radio.  So often the message is, “You make me happy; I’d be lost without you; you are my world,” or other, similar types of messages that take away all the power and responsibility to make yourself happy and put it on someone else.  Wow! If you think about it, that’s an enormous amount of pressure to put on another person.  It’s like saying, “I can’t always be happy myself –  but if you’re going to be with me, you’d better make me happy.”….


What we’ve found is that if you believe that the answer to your unhappiness lies in someone else’s hands (no matter how much you love them), you’re in for a load of trouble.  Even if they manage to accommodate you with occasional changes, you’ll come to rely on those changes for your continued happiness.  There will be only one possible result.  Eventually, you will be let down and you will feel discouraged.  You’ll be left with that helpless and dependent “It’s her fault” feeling. ‘


Don’t get us wrong.  We’re not saying your partner shouldn’t play a role in your happiness…. What we are saying is that, ultimately, you and you alone are responsible for making yourself happy.  When your life isn’t working, you need to make changes or see things differently.  You may have to make difficult choices, have painful or uncomfortable discussions, or compromise in some way – but you have to take responsibility for your own level of happiness.  There isn’t a relationship good enough to do it for you.


This is a very empowering insight for you and your partner.  In effect, you are making a statement to yourself that, while your relationship is absolutely a top priority and your love of your partner is immense, you have the power and the ability to make yourself happy. 


You are also taking a great deal of pressure off your partner.  You are saying … “You don’t have to worry that I’ll freak out every time you disappoint me.  You even have my permission to be less than perfect.  I am okay even when you are not okay, and I love you as unconditionally as I know how.”


You’ll be amazed at how much happier you’ll be when you put the responsibility for your own happiness where it belongs – with you.



  • Estela @ Weekly Bite November 12, 2009, 8:44 pm

    Wow! What a great passage!
    I’m glad you posted it!

    Enjoy your night off 🙂

  • Stephanie November 12, 2009, 8:49 pm

    This is an amazing passage and so very very true. Honestly, it wasn’t until I was able to figure out how to make myself happy that I found my dear bf. We have such an amazing relationship together I never thought it was possible, and it wouldn’t be if we constantly relied on eachother for happiness.


  • Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2009, 8:52 pm

    Oh Caitlin…I did this for years and years. I still do from time to time, but my biggest wake up call was finally taking control of my OWN life. I used to snap at Eric for everything…my eating disorder, my horrible job, etc…and then I finally realized that he was dealing with his own shit too…and it was time for me to take control of my own life. Ultimately, it scared the crap out of me when I did come to this realization because that meant that my own actions were responsible for my own happiness…and not someone or something else. While it is scary, it is also very empowering too. Because I now know that I can create good things in my life…every single day!

  • Kara November 12, 2009, 8:55 pm

    This is so great – thanks for posting! As someone who got married young too — I was 24, husband was 27 — I feel lucky that not only do we get to grow old together, but also grow up together. The fact that we’ve stayed together through 7 1/2 years full of BIG life changes and transitions makes me confident we’ll be happy for a long time 🙂

    Due to his work schedule, the husband and I only see each other a few hours a night (and maybe a full day on weekends), so I really have to take responsibility for my own happiness. Finding my own interests and passions outside of our relationship has made me a much more interesting wife and friend!

  • Brie (The Fit Bride) November 12, 2009, 9:12 pm

    I agree.

    I think one of the biggest mistakes couples make is doing EVERYTHING as a couple. My fiance and I make it a point to do different things because hey, we’re different people. He doesn’t come running with me, I don’t play poker with him…but it makes our relationship that much more interesting, because we each have totally different things to bring to the table.

  • Juli (Peanut Butter and Juli) November 12, 2009, 9:20 pm

    Wow. Thanks for posting that. It’s true and something my boyfriend (of over 4 years) and I continue to work on– doing what is in our power to make ourselves happy. One thing that I find I do is I take my unhappiness out on him- I don’t blame him, per se, but I definitely disconnect a little. I have worked hard to overcome that and to be my own ship and to see him not as a source of happiness or discontent, but rather someone to share my own successes and failures with.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 12, 2009, 9:23 pm

    I love that book. I totally agree with getting married young- it is so important to grow TOGETHER.

  • Vanessa (Last Night's Leftovers) November 12, 2009, 9:24 pm

    This is so true! Lucas and I got together when I was 16, and for the first 3 years or so I really depended on him to keep me happy. Eventually I decided that I needed to get out in the world, create my own experiences, and really find out what my interests are. Our relationship has really improved now that we are both our own individuals instead of just “half of a couple”!

  • Evan Thomas November 12, 2009, 9:24 pm

    Interesting. I’ll need to pick up that book

  • Runeatrepeat November 12, 2009, 9:26 pm

    I loved the Mars Venus books 🙂

  • Megan @ Megzz Wins At Life November 12, 2009, 9:28 pm

    I agree with this completely.. I have a lot of friends that make there decisions based on there significant others. You need to be happy with yourself and not depend on the person you love to make you happy.

    Great post!

  • Janna (Just Flourishing) November 12, 2009, 9:33 pm

    Sometimes I do that. It’s a big step to take full responsibility for your happiness… it’s scary, and it’s so easy to put it in someone elses hands.

    But it is soooo important to be the one who is in control of your happiness, whether you’re with someone or not.

  • VeggieGirl November 12, 2009, 9:34 pm

    Wonderful sentiments.

  • Katie November 12, 2009, 9:36 pm

    Great passage

    And oh so true. Sometimes I try to make other people responsible, but only I can make myself happy.

    I learned that the hard way after many ruined friendships later.

    It’s kind of freeing though because it means you can be on your own for a time and thrive.

  • Stephanie @ Foodie McFood November 12, 2009, 9:52 pm

    I spent years looking for that one person that was going to save me from myself. I call it the “Prince Charming Complex.” I kept thinking that if I could just meet the perfect guy, that I would be content and I could finally be happy. I ended up dating a lot of Mr. Wrongs because I was desperately searching for anyone to make me happy, make me feel better about myself. It wasn’t until I decided to be happy all by myself, that I finally met my current boyfriend (who is amazing!). No one wants the pressure of being someone else’s reason for living and no one else will ever be able to make you as happy as you can make yourself.

  • Kath November 12, 2009, 9:56 pm

    Amen to that!

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) November 12, 2009, 10:01 pm

    Seriously.. that is solid advice right there..

  • erica November 12, 2009, 10:11 pm

    i’ve told myself to take control of my happiness for years, but it never rang more true until july when my first serious relationship came to a nasty abrupt end. i still get down thinking about it sometimes, so it’s good to see this in front of my face. in fact, now i can’t stop thinking about everything i’ve accomplished since the breakup! thanks for posting.

  • Jenna November 12, 2009, 10:19 pm

    that is such a cute picture of you two!

  • Nicci November 12, 2009, 10:38 pm

    Love the picture of you guys. this sound like a great read also. I think I’ll look for this book, no problems here but nothing wrong like strengthening a relationship more.

  • Ashley November 12, 2009, 10:43 pm

    I must go buy this book.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) November 12, 2009, 11:28 pm

    I love that picture!
    My hubby and I got married at 21! Now that I look back, that is SO young 🙂 But I am SO glad I married him!

  • Marissa November 12, 2009, 11:36 pm

    AWWW!!!!! 🙂 I think even if it is not broken you can still make it run better. So sweet! 🙂

  • SweetiePotato November 12, 2009, 11:38 pm

    so perfect! i really agree with the idea that you will cause your happiness (or lack there of!) you shouldn’t have to depend totally on others for all of your emotions. if you can’t make yourself happy, then who can!? 🙂

  • Amber November 13, 2009, 12:13 am

    I got married at 24 as well! Such a great post. I think I need this book. I know I did for awhile, and then i started to realize, I am the only person who has CONTROL over my happiness and other emotions. My emotions are only a product of my reactions to others actions, no “makes” you anything but yourself. GREAT POST!

  • maria November 13, 2009, 12:28 am

    Thanks so much for posting this. I had to learn early on when my husband and I were dating that he couldn’t be the only thing that made me happy. It’s a hard lesson to learn, that’s for sure, but once you learn it your life gets so much better when you realize a person shouldn’t be your entire world!

  • Sana November 13, 2009, 12:54 am

    Ahhhh! LOVE LOVE thisssssss! My SO brings out the happy in me!

  • Nicole November 13, 2009, 2:21 am

    I totally agree with you! Moving to Germany was a huge adjustment, but I think that because I’m a happy person in general, it wasn’t that hard for me to find things to do here and not sulk. So many other wives are here, but they don’t take advantage of all the traveling and wonderful things to experience in Europe! We are only here for three years, and in my opinion, they are idiots for not taking advantage of that! They get into fights with their husbands because they are far away from their families and it is different. Yes, it is very different here than the states (and I sometimes bitch about the weird things in Europe ie. most places don’t take credit card), but I try to make the best out of every situation, and I don’t blame my husband for my lack of happiness sometimes. It is completely up to me whether I want to seize the day or be seized by it!

  • Diana November 13, 2009, 4:32 am

    Awesome passage and that’s so true. I’ve been staying away from romantic relationships for a while because I was learning how to be happy on my own, how to feel comfortable in my own skin. And it’s been a success, because now I know that I don’t need someone to make me happy, I need someone to make me EVEN MORE happy than I already am. 🙂
    And I agree, 24 is young! 😉

  • Susan November 13, 2009, 6:57 am

    Thank you SO much for sharing this!! This is something I have always believed in. Mostly because I lived with a boyfriend who made ME responsible for HIS happiness. It was too much pressure on me, and we ended up breaking it off. I didn’t want that responsibility!

    It’s also very timely for me because I’m moving away from my current boyfriend. I accepted a job in this city so I could be close to him, but with his work hours, I never see him anyways. I’m miserable here and am scared I’m going to start holding a grudge against him because of it. So I’m moving back home. I may see him less, but I keep telling him it’s more important he see less of a happy me than more of an unhappy me.

    Best piece of advice I ever received was from a doctor in high school – “Only YOU can YOU happy.”

  • Courtney F November 13, 2009, 7:16 am

    I love learning how to better our marriage. We are always changing and its great to know how to deal with it together. Have you read “The Five Love Languages”? We did our premarital counseling over it and it completely changed how we see and love each other.

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) November 13, 2009, 7:40 am

    Love, love, love this! I just realized this before Shane and I got married. We got married very young, too (I was 23, he was 26) but we started dating when I was 18 and he was 21. I always used to let him affect my happiness when we were younger. If he made me uspet – I’d be upset for the whole day! That’s just not right. Besides…it sucks to think this, but we’re not gauranteed anything in life, and if something happens to that person, then we’re really in trouble.
    You should include things like this in your new seksay blog 🙂

  • Kristy November 13, 2009, 7:43 am

    This is such a great post. I don’t think there is anyone out there who has been in a committed relationship that can say they haven’t done this. Love this. Have a great day!

  • Lauren @ Dragonflies Journey November 13, 2009, 7:51 am

    I agree with this completely. BF and I work on this daily, as we’re both going through so much now with the baby coming. We struggle to remain positive when all the “what ifs” start entering our conversations. But then we sit back, look at each other, and just crack up at how ridiculously “old” we both sound. Laughter truly is the best medicine and if you can make the other laugh regularly you’ll both find happiness with the other.

  • Deva (Voracious Vorilee) November 13, 2009, 8:02 am

    I agree with that passage. It wasn’t until I took responsibility for my own happiness that I found The Boy, and I still take responsibility for my happiness in our relationship and in my daily life. I have learned since we started dating that I need to speak up, feed myself when we’re going to have a busy morning (I get cranky when I’m hungry), and that it’s okay to ask for a hug. I am excited to see what the future brings for us.

  • Marie November 13, 2009, 8:19 am

    Hi Caitlin, thanks so much for posting this. As a recent college grad that just moved from the South to New England, this phrase should be sent to many of the very young couples I know who are married/engaged. It’s almost shocking how many very young people are engaged in the South, while that is completely not the norm in New England. There really are cultural differences in the US! My words to live by are finding happiness within yourself is #1 and finding a person who compliments that happiness is #2.

    Thanks again for the great post!

  • Anne P November 13, 2009, 8:38 am

    Amazing post. That is so true.

  • Kristy November 13, 2009, 8:45 am

    This is too true and often over looked. I also read these types of books because in long term relationships it is fun to try new approaches and learn new things. I read a book called “Undress Your Stress” and this was one of the chapters- Being responsible for our own happiness. If we are in control we have no one to complain about and no one to be disappointed in than our selves. Our family and our partners have their happiness to maintain. We must be our own best friend before we allow others influence our character. Thanks for the reminder.

  • megan November 13, 2009, 8:47 am

    I definitely agree. Except that I come at it from a Christian perspective – don’t look to your spouse to fulfill you. Only God can do it. If you to God to fill you up each day, then anything your spouse happens to do to make you happy just makes your cup overflow. 🙂

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) November 13, 2009, 8:54 am

    great post! I’m also reading as much as I can about making my marriage even better!

  • Joanna November 13, 2009, 9:28 am

    Wow. This is really helpful to me.

  • jodie November 13, 2009, 9:28 am

    This is so true and a great reminder.

  • Kat (kats daily plate) November 13, 2009, 9:30 am

    Love that picture of you two- such a nice moment! And I couldnt agree more with this statement. A huge part of growing up, for me, has been taking responsibility of my own happinness and just appreciating all that my bf does to enhance my life. But he doesnt MAKE my life- I do.

  • Lizzy November 13, 2009, 9:52 am

    that statement is so true. self happiness is so important in any relationship!

  • ms November 13, 2009, 10:14 am

    that picture of you and your husband is very sweet. i love that it’s just the two of you, with no one else around.

    that statement from the book is very powerful. i may hhave to check out that book. i’m very much an advocate of working to make relationships/marriages, even happy ones, better. i kind of see it as wearing a seatbelt, you don’t plan on getting in an accident when you get in the car and put your seatbelt on ~ you’re just doing it ‘just in case’. that’s relationship work, you don’t plan on getting a divorce, you’re reading and working on it to keep things intact should an accident happen.

    my husband and i got married young also (23) and we have grown and changed a lot since then, so your comment about having growing up to do after you get married definitely rings true for our situation.

    i saw your post today about the races this weekend. i love your tactics to keep yourself at a short distance. i have purposefully left our dogs out so i don’t stay out too long also. pets just always keep us in line, don’t they?!?

    anyway, good luck on your races. i’m sure you’ll do great ~ no matter what decisions you make. you’ll be awesome!!!

  • life.art. midnightsnacks. November 13, 2009, 10:16 am

    best thing i’ve heard all day… 🙂

  • Laura November 13, 2009, 10:20 am

    Caitlin – Thank you SO much for posting this! I love reading relationship books too, just because I feel so empowered to change and strengthen my relationship with my boyfriend after. I definitely went on amazon and ordered this book (used $4 total with shipping! whoo-hoo!) after reading this post. Thank you 🙂

  • Andrea November 13, 2009, 10:30 am

    Thank you for sharing this with us Caitlin. I completely agree with these statements. Strangely, I didn’t think I would have time to check my usual blogs today because I am getting married tomorrow! Woo! Glad I did!

  • Sarah November 13, 2009, 11:08 am

    Thanks for sharing this excellent quote. I agree with you in feeling that it applies to non-romantic relationships too – in fact, I think it applies to life in general. If you make anyone or anything other than yourself responsible for your happiness, you will be let down at some point. It’s inevitable.
    Claiming responsibility for my happiness is something I am really trying to work on making a habit.
    Thanks again, for sharing the quote!

  • Erika November 13, 2009, 12:49 pm

    Wow, thanks Caitlin for sharing this passage. I also just recently got married and it’s so easy to fall into the trap of always trying to please my partner and forgetting about what it is that makes me happy and brought me joy before he was even in my life. Remembering to devote time to myself and figure out what it is that makes me genuinely happy besides him being in my life, is something I’m trying to do everyday. I wish you and your husband all the best and hope you continue in making your relationship the strongest it can be. You seem to be doing a great job so far 🙂

  • Tina November 13, 2009, 1:13 pm

    That was a really great post. I think so many young people do try and find their happiness in other people, and base their life off of them. I liked this quote the most.

    “What we are saying is that, ultimately, you and you alone are responsible for making yourself happy.”

    Sometimes that’s hard to remember, but nevertheless it’s true. Thank you for the insight!

  • Nicole (dishin') November 13, 2009, 1:42 pm

    This is a great message. I am single now after being in a seven-year relationship where I relied on my boyfriend to make me/keep me happy most of the time. We were teenagers when we started dating and just got wrapped up in the focus on each other and forgot to be our own people. Being on my own now has allowed me to find happiness in other places and take my happiness into my own hands. I have found a passion for cooking and have built stronger relationships with my firends and family. While I’m looking forward to sharing my life with someone else, I now know that I can be happy on my own.

  • April November 13, 2009, 2:15 pm

    This is a great reminder. It’s so easy to pin your happiness or unhappiness on your partner and expect them to pull you out of bad times. I think it’s hard, but both people in the relationship will bring their best to the relationship if they continue to work on themselves throughout their lives.

  • Kim November 13, 2009, 2:24 pm

    That’s on my to-read list. Have you read “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman? It’s another relationship book. For us, it was really informative; there were a lot of “that makes sense” thoughts. I’m not particularly religious, so I ignored the Christian undertones, but I did learn from it; and we both took the quiz at the end to verify what our love languages were. Kinda fun, and something we did together while watching TV in the middle of the week. 🙂

  • Nikka @ neekadeek November 13, 2009, 8:35 pm

    Thank you for that post.
    I am overcome with emotion on the timing.
    I am going to buy this book yesterday!

  • Jenny November 14, 2009, 11:24 am

    Finding your own happines is one of the hardest things to do so to find it and be comfortable with it is an amazing accomplishment!! and there is no harm in self help books – i find that aisle in the book store to be the best one! 🙂

  • Gabriela November 14, 2009, 2:11 pm

    You have no idea how perfect the timing of this post is for me, and how much the words mean. I’m 19 and have been dating my boyfriend for over a year, and we had our first real fight last night. We usually agree on everything, so I’ve been upset all day because I’m not used to being at odds with someone I love so much. I’ve always tried to make MYSELF happy in our relationship, and reading this reminded me how important it is to keep doing that 🙂 Thank you so much!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 16, 2009, 2:59 pm

    I love that passage. I have a friend who puts all of her happiness into other people and let’s them control her unhappiness as well. I might get her that book 😉

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