Part of finding happiness is acknowledging and appreciating it. The Ten of Cups asks us to look around at the abundance and growth in our wake and to feel thankful for everything we have. It often conveys a time of harmony and cooperation with others and speaks about strong connections and ties that ultimately bind and stand the test of time. When this card appears to denote what a querent desires, it suggests a desire for a great relationship based on mutual respect and dedication, and it points towards the inner need for bonding and understanding. When it appears as a message regarding the future, the querent can expect that conflicts will be ironed out and that they will find the place that they feel they belong. When this card comes up in a position regarding fears and insecurities, I often feel that it points to a lack of belief in one's own ability to create a loving atmosphere and enjoy domestic harmony or a good friendship group. Perhaps disappointments in the past have led to the querent feeling closed or paranoid. Perhaps they fear the group dynamic because it doesn't leave enough room for individual expression. All card meanings vary dependent upon a given position within a spread, but this card is one of those that really can dig deep and mean so many different things at different times. Questioning who we are to our friends and loved ones and where we stand inside the 'team we're playing for' will be important under this influence. It's also important to analyse any romantic attachment, coming to appreciate it for what it is and letting its merits be based on its concrete results, not just its unrealised potential.
Another part of the card's message is generosity. When we're at the top, we can afford to give to those lower on the ladder. The Ten of Cups holds a message of giving, but I always feel that this also comes with a warning regarding who you choose to open up to or support. Emotional resources are valuable. It's difficult to recognise how drained you become when you're everyone's shoulder to cry on. Ask yourself what you can do and what is beyond your current capabilities. Don't feel bad for enjoying life. If you are unwilling to enjoy the fruits of your labour you're not going to be in a positive enough frame of mind to help those around you with problems.
Terry Donaldson talks, in his book, 'Step by Step Tarot', about the other kind of marriage this card talks about. It's not just an expression of the successful partnership between two people but also of the partnership between you and yourself. It's about valuing yourself, trusting yourself and giving yourself what you need and deserve. If you're unhappy with yourself or trying to hide behind a veneer for the benefit of others, what makes you think your sense of self-worth will suddenly arise with the arrival of a suitable mate? Make sure you're at a point in your life where you can give yourself credit without seeking the approval of others. That's when approval from others will actually come.