Television, movies, and books often portray these wonderful relationships that show a damsel in distress saved by a knight in shining armor only to live happily ever after. How much of that could possibly be reality? Ever watch much reality television? Unfortunately, for some couples, that is reality. Hopefully, for most people, the truth lies somewhere between a fairytale and a talk show episode.
In countries where arranged marriages are the norm, couples rate higher levels of happiness and marital satisfaction compared to countries where people pick their mate. For those of us who live in cultures where being set up in an arranged marriage does not sound appealing, it seems hard to fathom how these people could report more happiness than people who picked their partner. There are lots of possible speculations as to why this is and how it could be that people forced to marry someone they never met report more happiness than those of us who had plenty of suitors to pick from.
One possibility is the fact that people in arranged marriages don’t have “the grass is greener on the other side” philosophy working against them. They are, in one sense, “stuck” with who their family chose, so they make the best of it. They most likely never really dated anyone either. So much for daydreaming about your old boyfriend and thinking perhaps he was really “the one.”
In cultures where people have more freedom to choose a mate, it can be tempting to put effort into thinking “what if…” What if I wouldn’t have broken off that last relationship? What if I would have called her again? What if I would have treated him better? Sometimes these thoughts can interfere with a relationship. Sometimes these thoughts lead to an affair. Daydreaming about being with a co-worker or a friend can cause people to start having doubts about their marriage.
Learning to be content with what you have can make a big difference. Instead of thinking how much better your life would be if something were different, focusing on what you can do to make things better now might be a better option. Putting effort into making your current situation the best it can be might lead to more satisfaction than focusing on what could make your life better. Stop focusing on chasing fairy tales and make your own reality the best it can be.