“We All Married The Wrong Person.”
The caption of one of today’s “freshly pressed” blogs.
With the accompanying image of an anonymous couple decked out in timeless (relatively) nuptial traditionals, this anti-idealistic statement would sure stand out in the best-seller pile. A definite head-turner in the contagious current western mindset obsessed with shortcuts to an increasingly illusive happiness.
Especially if its in the realm of marriage / love / life-partner. Then they’ve really got you.
But the blog author isn’t using this as a best-selling tagline. She’s sharing with her readers the powerful notion that nobody really married the “right person.”
While many individuals (including myself) find their romanticism flailing in protest against this seemingly gloomy vantage point, what I like about her post is that it doesn’t really negate the idea of believing that someone is “right” for you, or even the “one” for you.
Instead, it kind of flips the idea on its head.
Quoting a certain acclaimed Dr. Haltzman, who’s interview (by the author) this post is based on, the post reads:
“If we believe we must find the right person to marry, then the course of our marriage becomes a constant test to see if we were correct in that choice,” says Dr. Haltzman, adding that today’s culture does not support standing by our promises. Instead, he says we receive the repeated message, “You deserve the best.” These attitudes contribute to marital dissatisfaction, he says.
The simple art of being comfortable and happy in one’s own existence has been of interest to me lately. It seems the more I read, the more I find messages that point to the distorted, bottomless bit of consumerism that we live in. As Dr. Haltzman’s quote states, it seems this mentality has seeped into every realm of our lives.
I can’t deny the thrilling feeling of a new start, a fresh energy entering my life, when I throw money away on a new fancy smartphone. It’s really just a gadget, we all know that. But there’s something so compelling about how this particular interface will just somehow inspire me, or be a new start for me. I can’t help comparing this to the thrill of a new relationship.
Perhaps this is what Haltzman means when he says that:
“…even if we think we know a person well when we marry them, we are temporarily blinded by our love,”
It may be this high, this rush of excitement, that we call “love,” that led him to research:
“…the negative effects in our consumer society of having too many choices—which may lead to increased expectations and lower satisfaction.”
The author goes on to share the wisdom of similar research from another published authority:
“I’ll cut to the chase and reveal that people are happier with the choices they make when there are relatively few choices from which to choose. With too many choices, we can become overburdened and regretful and constantly question our decision. Today, individuals may feel they have many choices of mates, and fear lost opportunities with potential “right” partners.”
As a not-so-young single person with more than one serious relationship that isn’t any more, this isn’ the most comforting thing to hear. What’s more interesting, however, is how easily I buy into (very often literally) the huge amount of choices there are.
Spending money on something that I think will be IT (like the latest smartphone), yet craving the perceived luxury of more choices. The amount of information, detail, feature, specifications that the market is flooded with is enough to make one giddy. At times it truly does. It makes me sick, especially my own susceptibility to it.
I can’t help wondering if, and someone just knowing, that this greedy, starved search for fulfillment translates to the more personal realm of one’s life too.