It is an interesting question that we should ask ourselves before walking down the aisle with your potential life partner. As a child, I would read all those fairy tales that ended after a princess got married…”And they lived happily ever after”
Is our happiness the true goal of marriage? It seems to be a rather selfish outcome. The problem with happiness is that it can be rather fleeting. Illness, money issues, career problems, children (the lack of them or their presence itself) can be the cause of many conflicts and be the source that drains us of happiness. If we then rely on our spouse to be the constant emotional petrol that fuels us forward and makes us happy, we might end up in a place where we feel disappointed.
Interestingly, this question is addressed in this article by the Gottman Institute. To quote the article…
The point of marriage is not happiness. The point of marriage is growth.
Marriage challenges you to deal with sickness, tragedy, financial stresses, changes in faith or beliefs, job loss, weight gain, raising kids, losing parents and other family members, and you have to do it all while supporting and satisfying another emotional human being!
You can’t tackle this stuff and come out on the other side still in love with each other by remaining the exact same people you were when you started. You can’t go through all of that together while remaining in perpetual bliss. You have to constantly grow and evolve into the version of you that’s capable of facing and overcoming the unique challenges that life throws at you at any given moment.
You will be confronted with uncomfortable truths throughout your marriage. It might be about sex, or money, or time spent together, or parenting, or all of that. Things won’t always work out how you plan them, and plans may need to change if you’re going to have the relationship you want.
Having someone challenge you to expand and grow can make things feel worse before they get better. It may even put the relationship on the line if you or your partner refuse to confront your own flaws, or if you won’t take responsibility when things go wrong.
But this is what love is really about. It is not always about always pleasing your partner, or always being pleased yourself. Instead, it is about supporting your partner.
If we set growth as the purpose of marriage, our entire worldview will change. I recommend reading the full article in the link above. May your marriage be better today because of a change of thought and perspective.