I've become one of those people. Yup...I phoned into a national radio program. Not because I wanted 15 seconds of fame, but because they asked a question that was intriguing. So I called in and talked to "Big D and Bubba".
The question was "If you could hook up your spouse to a lie-detector, what question would you ask"? Of course, they ruled-out a couple of questions that they didn't want to hear on the radio which would have resulted in way too much information, even from people you don't know.
Even so, some of the answers were just lame. So I called to give them my anonymous 2-cents worth. I told them that "I would ask how I could best make him happy every day for the rest of his life".
Now please understand...I'm no saint, and I'm certainly not a Stepford Wife. I'm just really practical. From my point of view couples that work to make each other happy stay married. Simple as that. And because I'm going to be working to make him happy, I want to make sure I'm not wasting my time on stuff he doesn't really care about. (There's that practical thing again.) It just makes sense to me that I find out what works and concentrate my efforts there.
I think most people would be much happier in ALL their relationships if they took that advice to heart. Work hard to make other people happy, and concentrate on the stuff that works. Sometimes that means you need to ask.
I feel the same way about my work. Businesses that choose to participate in the Chamber of Commerce have entered into a partnership (relationship) with us and it's important that we work hard to make them happy in that partnership. But how do I know what makes them happy?
It would be easy to do what we've always done and just call it "good". But like the answers I heard on the radio that morning, that seems pretty lame to me.
I would rather reach out and ask the questions. "What do you need?" "How can we help?" "What makes a difference to you and what doesn't?"
Particularly in these challenging economic times, nobody has the extra staff, money or energy to do things that don't really matter to the people you share relationships with. I know I don't.
So...I'll just keep asking. What is it we can do to make you happy every day?