Today I was reading Huffington Post, my favorite newspaper . . . I mean magazine . . . OK, I don’t know what to call it but it’s awesome! If you like to read multiple perspectives on almost any topic it could become your favorite “news website and aggregated blog” as well. Anyway, today I came across an entire section dedicated to articles on divorce. After perusing several dozen posts on this dark subject, it almost seems like divorce is fast becoming one of life’s inevitable occurrences, right up there with death and taxes.
Despite the unavoidable outcomes, we continue to live and die, work and pay taxes, and now, get married then divorce. Why? Perhaps it is because we feel that life, work, and even marriage will bring the one thing most of us are looking for, happiness. The irony here is that one of the main motivations for divorce is that same search for happiness.
Maybe our whole concept of happiness is the problem. We see happiness as a pursuit. I will be happy when . . .we have more money—when my spouse starts treating me better—when we get a bigger house—when the kids are grown—when I get a new spouse, etc. etc. The real secret to life and relationships, including marriage, is learning to BE happy. Happiness is something you are. It isn’t something you pursue or even something you psyche yourself into. It is a way of living and being that allows happiness to be a part of who you are right now.
In my continuing study of happy marriages and relationships I have found happiness to exist when two people are honest, passionate, have a sense of humor, are financially responsible, grateful, giving, connected, loving, kind, and considerate. Two people sharing these qualities can create happiness in the humblest cottage to the most austere mansion. Who they are defines their happiness more than where they are.
Many people tell me that happiness is a choice. They are only half right. It is a choice based on making the right decisions. It is hard to be happy in an environment of deceit and disrespect. Benjamin Franklin pointed out that one’s decisions and character would determine happiness. It may seem incredibly old fashioned but then happily growing old together is becoming old fashioned as well. To those I interviewed who felt good character was the foundation of their happy marriage, divorce was a viewed as a non- issue. They still had mixed emotions about happily paying taxes. However, they felt that when their time came, they planned to die happy.