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”?
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Yes. The INDIAN idea of Marriage(the wife miyrrang the entire family, making all the changes, compromises and adjustments, bearing children and having a work load that is way over what her man ever does in a day) is over-rated(I am generalizing, so please understand that there are exceptions to the generalizations). Marriage works very well for mature, fair-minded, compassionate, understanding people, else it is a method for Control over the life of a Woman to ensure the Man’s family will have continuity as they deem fit. In many cases Wife is a synonym for Slave. No relationship is Equal. Mostly one gives and the other takes and if there is a lot of giving and taking, the giver and taker dont do so in equal amounts. Of course, theres no way to measure the giving or the taking. Mostly, I see that in a marriage, its the woman who is unhappy with the condition of Marriage, and very rarely the man. They have different reasons for unhappiness too.. for a woman its usually the fact that she has lost her freedom to be herself and for the man it is usually that the woman doesnt live up to his and his family’s expectations.. As for reasons to get married, imho, if the reason is anything other than “I want to share my life with this person, growing together in our own ways yet always being there for each other”, to me that is not a good enough reason for all the compromises and adjustments we will make. “You will be lonely in old age” or “You will be happy in your old age because of these sacrifices” etc…are not predictable, ’cause there are people who have family and kids, but no one cares for them or lives with them anyway and they arent happy anyway, if anything, they are bitter in their old age.