Archive for October, 2011


Do Marriages Make People Happier?

I’m still single and thus the thought always keeps coming to my mind, would I be happier if I were married? Everyone keeps talking about three main things in life, finding a good partner and marrying, having a high paid job and kids. Does that mean people who are not married are lacking something critical?

If I evaluate my life I would say that I’m a happy person. I do have my share of ups and downs but I’m pretty much happy and satisfied with my life. I have a successful career, loving family, good house and dear friends to make me laugh…overall a happy life. So what is it that I’m missing that can make me happier if I was married?

Research on the Internet and you would see loads of articles and papers that conclude – married couples are happier, satisfied and healthier than singles or divorced people.

Well if you think about it, marriage does tend to bring with itself some perks – long-term commitment, love, gratitude, security and material rewards. Despite the potential payoff, people all over the world are these days putting off marriage for later years of their life. Life expectancy has increased and thus, men and woman want to experience more of their single life before exchanging vows. If you look around, you will find more singles thanks to the rising number of divorce rates.

I personally feel that over the years the reason for marriage has changed. Marriage is now more of a social choice than a necessity. Watch few episodes of “Sex and the City” and you will see that Western countries still prefer live-ins rather than marriage. We are wired to mate in one way or the other so why marry. Advocates of marriage do tend to believe that discovering a soul mate brings joy and makes life worth living. Even the studies show that married people tend to earn more money and live longer apparently due to better health as researchers say that married people are less prone to depression, smoke and drink less and stay healthier.

But still, I wonder can we bet of marriage to bring us our lost happiness? Odds of a successful marriage and finding the perfect partner are similar to the probability of a coin flip – almost 40% of marriages end up in divorce. Still in some countries, marriage is considered to bring more happiness than career or even money.

When the Honeymoon Ends

As soon as you get married, the honeymoon period begins. You find yourself on cloud 9 filled with happiness. After a while, gradually the happiness level starts declining and reduces to what it was in the premarital state. Think about it in this way, people who have relatively low income, for them money can buy happiness for some time. Longer they get used to having money around, the more it loses the charm.

It does not mean that married people are not happy. It merely emphasizes the point that married people are more inclined towards happiness.

What are your expectations?

When we marry, we tend to set expectations for eternal marital bliss. How much relationship skill and marriage expectation you bring on table plays an important role in determining happiness. If you have very high expectation for happiness but do not have the relationship skills to maintain it then you might end up with frustrations and probably a divorce.

As we probably know by now from all the surveys and researches that wedding is the harbinger of a happy future, but happily ever after requires more than just “I do”.  Marriage will not bring some magic in your life and create happiness all over, it requires persistent efforts and changes.

So, why get married in the first place?

Well, only you can be the better judge of that. Whether to marry or not is a personal choice, but one indispensible requirement is that be prepared to work for it. Marriage is a beautiful institution in itself, it is blessed and sacred but it’s not for the weak. Marriage is a full time job requiring a lot of spiritual, mental and emotional strength. When you say that you will stand by your partner in “better or worse”, imagine what worse could possible look like and ask yourself whether you would be able to survive those conditions. If you cannot then don’t marry, you are better off living a single life. But if you have the courage to live committed to one person until that person leave the earth, then you definitely should marry.

There is nothing better than dedicating your life to someone other than yourself, which is the single essential mantra for a successful marriage. You have to have a heart of a priest to do this, be selfless in your love and deeds. Think, can you still sever him dinner even when he has pissed you off completely? Can you do grocery for her even when she has shouted and humiliated you? Can you still stand in front of your god and pray for each other after a serious fight? These are the things happily married people do. You just don’t back out of marriage because you are not having the right feeling. In a world where we are so selfish, it is really hard to do all this, but if you can be selfless in loving your partner, then he/she is truly your soul mate. Strong marriages need strong determination, so before you say “I do”, ask yourself, “Are you strong enough”?


Am I Allowed to Take a Break?

In every relation there comes a time when you wish to take a break and say, hey, “I need some space”. We do tend to believe that taking a break will hopefully make things better and maybe the other person will realize your importance when you are not around. But have you ever wondered that taking a break might be a sign of running away from some critical issues which will still be present when you get back together?

It is not only about the relationship between couples but it can be applicable to any relation. You might want to take a break from your parents, siblings, friends, boss, for that matter anyone. I have personally found myself in situations when I feel it’s enough, let me just go away to a place where I can be away from all the hassles. On one hand, it can be a sign of wanting to simply take a break from the routine or on the contrary it could be an easy way of running away from problems instead of facing them.

I do personally feel that taking sometime alone is not problematic for a relation as it can give one time to retrospect and analyze the issues causing the tension. But there are certain rules for taking a break to make sure it is the right thing to do.

Breaks are not quick fixes.

While taking a break might sound as a tempting solution for running away from the daily chaos, every couple needs to realize that it is not a substitute for solving the issues. If you part with the problems looming in between, they will not vanish on their own once you come back. It is important to talk about the issues and then mutually decide whether a break is the best for the relationship or not. Many people can get scared if their partner needs some space. They think, the end has come, we are going to breakup as my partner doesn’t love me anymore. Well, if you are having such thoughts, then your love is weak in the first place. Second, if your partner is not going to come back after a break then you both were not meant to be together. Third, taking a break never means breaking up, Period.

A little time alone can help you connect with yourself.

Feeling of stress or resentment will most definitely come at some point in a relation. There would be a point where you will feel, “what am I doing here”. Now, a relationship is based on compromises, we all do them in order to keep things healthy and happy in our relation. No two people are same and to maintain a level of harmony, we end up letting go part of ourselves in order to compromise the differences. In doing so, there can be times when you feel that your identity is lost completely and you start having stress and resentment towards your partner even though it’s not related to him/her.

We all talk about relations where two people become one and in doing so we neglect ourselves as individuals. It becomes important to discover our own identity before it gets too late. Take some time apart to see yourself as an individual, connect with your own soul before you can go back and connect with your partner again. At least you will feel you are not lost and your identity is preserved.

Slow down to learn more about each other.

The initial days of a relationship are very exciting with holding hands, kissing, taking romantic strolls and maybe sex. Things move really fast as you feel on the seventh heaven and you don’t want to stop all the happiness that is coming towards you. Well, when the excitement settles down and reality kicks in, you start to ponder that maybe you took things way too fast and you start getting stressed and scared.

I personally feel that in such cases also it is good to take a break. Just go somewhere away from each other for some time. When you come back, who knows you might be able to come back with better understanding of each other and revive the romance that you had when you first started. A space away from each other can end up bringing two people more close than they were ever before and make a bonding which can last really long.

If you think that taking a break will break you apart, then remember if there are issues that seem like a rock and do not go away, then you would have broken apart anyways down the line.

A break can help you re-evaluate your relation, connect you back to your individuality and can even help you understand the differences which all coupled together can make up for a solid platform for a long lasting and understanding relation.

But well no two relationships are same and sometimes a break can never bring back a couple together, like a broken vase, you can fix it with glue but you can never make it look like it was before. That is why I said, think it through, talk with your partner and then decide, “Do you need a break?”