I once had a friend tell me she was thinking about getting a divorce. When I asked her why, she replied, "He doesn't make me happy anymore."
I asked what had changed. "That's the trouble," she said, "he hasn't changed. When we were dating, he was so much fun. He was like a little kid. We had good times. I thought when we had a child of our own, he'd settle down, but he hasn't. When we got married, he wanted to start his own business because he didn't like working for someone else, but he sleeps late, does little work and makes almost no money. We're deep in debt, and it doesn't seem to bother him. I could go on, but--"
I found myself thinking a lot about what my friend said that day. He doesn't make me happy anymore. Should we expect other people to make us happy?
Here's the kicker: This was not her first marriage. She said she divorced her first husband "because he was boring. Working all the time. No fun at all." In truth, he was working two jobs to support his wife and three small children.
Perhaps we don't always distinguish what we want from what we need. My friend had what she needed and traded it for what she wanted, only to discover that she no longer had what she needed.
It's a hard fact to face, but there are times in our lives when there is little room for "fun." Sometime we just have to find joy in the small things--the feel of the sun of the sun on our faces, the smile of a child, the satisfaction of a job well done. Sometimes it's better to wait for "party time."
Stephanie Kay Bendel is the author of EXIT THE LABYRINTH: A Memoir of Early Childhood Depression – Its Onset and Aftermath, MAKING CRIME PAY: A Practical Guide to Mystery Writing, and A SCREAM AWAY, a romantic thriller published under the house name, Andrea Harris. She has also written numerous short stories and articles on writing.