June 3, 2007

In Sickness or in Health

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In its article “Misery: the secret to happiness,” the BBC reports, “the key to a happy relationship could be accepting that some miserable times are unavoidable.” According to therapists at several American universities, “cultural fairytales and modern love stories [perpetuate] the myth that enjoying a perfect relationship is possible.”

After I read this article, this concept seems obvious. There will be ups and downs in any relationship and if we fail to accept that, we will be greatly disappointed. Unfortunately, for people in the middle of a relationship, this fact is not intuitive. When choosing a life partner, we seldom think, is this someone I can see myself surviving the Great Depression with? Can we have a civilized debate about stressful topics? Instead, we automatically think, I have a wonderful connection with this person; if I just work harder at this, then I will live happily ever after. With the sadly high divorce rate in our society, maybe it’s time to internalize the essence of those wedding vows: for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health . . .