Tue
Mar 8 2011 8:59am

For The Love Of . . . Wedded Bliss?

Vintage couple The secret to a happy marriage?

Is it:

—common life goals?

—a sense of humor?

—finding your respective in-laws so annoying you bond over it in misanthropic communality?

Oh, no! It's something FAR simpler: Self-delusion.

See, a new study finds that the secret to a happy marriage is being slightly delusional about your partner. In fact, the study finds, those who tend to idealize their beloved do better than normal people pragmatists when it comes to long-term happiness in marriage.

Maybe there's something to that whole starry-eyed wedded bliss thing we've always mocked.

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6 comments
Clare Toohey
1. clare2e
He IS deluded. She's plainly more of an etagere or perhaps a small umbrella stand.
Louise Partain
2. Louise321
My parents divorced. Being the child of divorce gives you an interesting view into the self destructiveness of that kind of trainwreck. I vowed to wait for love and faithfulness. I got both, but find that the love and the faithfulness require constant tending. Actually, I think that is more pragmatic than delusional.
Megan Frampton
3. MFrampton
@Louise321 I'm same as you--child of divorce, vowing never to do the same to my kid. And it is very hard work; maybe if I just believed he was perfect? No, wait, I tried that when we were first together.

22 years later, I am back to normal.
ReaderCarolyn
4. ReaderCarolyn
I think my husband is delusional, and he's pretty much been that way since we first met over 15 years ago. He told me just this morning that he loves everything about me, even that I'm grumpy in the morning. He thinks it's adorable that I have bedhead or I'm smelly. He thought I was sexy when I was 40 pounds heavier and thinks I'm just as sexy now. He still acts like a lovesick teenager and has continued to grope at me when I walk by. Sometimes I look at him and say, "Still? How many more years of this?" He says he can't help it. Obviously delusional. I feel bad about the fact that I'm nor... er...a pragmatist, and can't reciprocate the same qualities I receive, even if I love him above all others. I feel bad that I have to tell him I enjoy being around him more after a shower or that I get irritated when he's pouty. Oh well, he thinks I'm perfect just as I am, and that includes not finding him the same.

As a child of divorce, due to spousal abuse and adultery, I definitely made it a priority that when I said "I do" I'd mean it, and I work at making our relationship work well and securing our family happiness. It helps that I remain cognizant of the good fortune I have being married to a wonderful man (I may not be delusional, but I can go on and on about his wonderful qualities) and raising really great kids.
Virginia Campbell
5. VirginiaCampbell
"Fuzzy Reality" and compromise are key elements in any relationship.
There is a universal, idealized notion of romantic love, and then there is the reality of the physical union of human bodies. If we are lucky, the romantic notion and the physical reality combine for a loving, sensual relationship. Everyone’s own experience with love and sex is unique, always more or less than we expected, and seldom what we had envisioned for ourselves. As children, what we observe of “grown up” relationships greatly affects our perception of love and sex. In my case, my mother and father separated before I was born, and never saw each other again. No one had the “birds and bees” talk with me. I learned the little that I knew from health class and from the other kids at school. Of course, there were always the romance reads, filling my head with romantic dreams and sexual situations which were beyond my understanding. Even now, some of those situations are beyond my understanding. More than once, I have been unable to imagine the successful outcome of a sexual position as described in a "romance read". Every time this happens, I can only think of one word: "TWISTER"! Maybe the TWISTER game mat and a copy of the Kama Sutra would be a helpful educational guide combo : )

Ten Relationship Tips:
1. Pick your battles.
2. Be careful what you wish for.
3. Don't let money (or lack of it) come between you.
4. Stick together during tough times.
5. Love each other every day.
6. Love the one you're with.
7. Listen.
8. Be faithful, trusting and trustworthy.
9. Laugh.
10. Enjoy your life together.
Keira Soleore
6. KeiraSoleore
I don't know about being delusional or pragmatic, but casting someone in a rosy glow always works for your own attitude towards them. And yes, families are dang hard work all the time.
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