According to Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the myths of happiness is “I’ll be happy when…”. For instance, “I’ll be happy when I am out of debt”, and “I’ll be happy when I get that promotion”. But one of the most rampant myths of this kind is “I’ll be happy when I get married”. In many Disney movies, when the boy gets the girl, they end it with very sweet tagline “and they all lived happily ever after”. Unfortunately this is a set-up. The falling in love and saying “I do” is just the beginning. Happiness in marriage does not just magically happen. I have been teaching the Happiness 101 class since April ’09 and one of the key points in happiness is CHOICE. Unless your marriage certificate came complete with Tinkerbell’s magic wand, either or both spouses have the choice to behave angrily, jealously, with pettiness or disinterest. They could also make the choice to behave affectionately, compassionately, lovingly or attentively. Even when love is expressed, the signal sent is not always the signal received. She might be expressing her love through attention, while he might be expressing his love through physical touch. In his book “The Five Love Languages”, Gary Chapman outlines the many different ways one might feel love or attempt to express love. When you really want to tell someone you love them, how do YOU express that? How does it really cut through to you that someone loves you? Was it the little considerate thing they did, or the diamond earrings? There is much to know and learn about love and happiness. For now, have hope. Statistically, married people are happy (Lybomirsky, The How of Happiness). Of course be careful with statistics. Not all happy people are married and not all married people are happy. Happiness, whether married or single, is a CHOICE.
Does “I do” mean “happily ever after”?