Why Even a Perfect Life-Partner Doesn’t Guarantee Happiness In Life
Radhika Nair keeps taking those umpteen quizzes on the internet that supposedly help decide whether her husband is her 'ideal mate' or not. As per her quiz results, Ramanathan has proved to be a perfect life-partner. They are an ideal couple for their families, their friend circle and even their work circle.
Despite this, Radhika has never found the so-called ‘happiness’ in her seven years of marriage.
Same is the case of scientist John D Silva, who takes pride in the fact that he has an ideal relationship with his banker wife Sumona. But when asked about happiness....there is a silence. He simply cannot decide!
What is amiss? Well, psychologists, as well as psychiatrists, are of the belief that,
Happiness is like water - you can take a horse to the water, but not make the horse drink it!
Dr Carl Neil, a psychiatrist based in Mumbai, writes to me, "Relationship happiness doesn't depend on finding the ‘perfect’ mate but rather on the best available one. Nobody is perfect and can never be. Comparison simply kills a relationship."
He is right. Don't people dream of marrying a prince or a princess, of a happy ending and then attempt to mould these ideas in our head into reality? As a result, we try to look for a partner who will bring an end to all our woes. The problem is - we are wrong.
Let me quote Joan Garriga from his book El Buen Amor en la Pareja (The right kind of love in relationships):
“Your partner can bring you happiness but they can’t make you happy. This is an important distinction.”
"And that distinction is you - yes, YOU," asserts Dr Carl Neil, who further adds, "Happiness in a relationship depends not on the ideal mate but on relationship satisfaction.”
So how do we ensure happiness in an ideal partnership/relationship? 65-year-old psychiatrist Dr Carl Neil and senior psychologist Samantha George from Ontario, Canada team up to explain how to ensure happiness in a great bond.
1. Easy-Flowing Relationship
Stop taking those quizzes about your life-partner or fiance'. An easy, naturally-coming bond will last longer and happier than the one made on the parameters of being an ideal mate. No one is perfect, don't try to be one, nor search for a perfect mate. Let the love flow, with all its imperfections. Resentment, arguments etc are part of a natural relationship but that doesn't mean anger has a place here.
2. Imperfections Make A Happy Bond!
Two people may be poles apart yet they will enjoy a great bond. So don't try to judge the other on the basis of your likes and dislikes. Senior psychologist Samantha George says, "Happiness doesn't depend on how well you sync with your partner's way of looking at life, his/her expectations, socio-cultural preferences, etc. At times, these differences become a matter of enjoyment. All you need is the right prism to look at the light which scatters the rainbow."
Her point makes me look at my own life - being married to a man of opposite faith and living a totally different way of life, has made me bond stronger with him each day. Yes, I do agree that we are a happy couple since we have so many differences in life, that our life is like a new chapter every day. There is no space to get bored! Samantha is right, we are happy since 'we enjoy the rainbow lights' rather than merging different colours to form one white light!
And Samantha asserts that to enjoy the differences, both partners need to sit more often and discuss the way out for happiness amid differences. That's the key to happiness here.
3. Happiness Is About Being Friends
"Whether you want to be an ideal couple based out of those quizzes and fairy-tales or be a happy couple - you have to decide. Because only a bond based on friendship, a relationship based on a shared journey towards a common goal, will ensure happiness in life," asserts Dr Carl Neil.
Friendship is a bond based on understanding and love, without much expectations nurtured by mutual respect. And when two partners develop such a bond, happiness is bound to happen, since each of you knows you can count on the other person with blind faith.
4. Trust-Based Relationships Are The Happiest
It doesn't mean taking control of your partner and demanding 100% reliability. It means developing an understanding among each other which ensures that neither of the two will hurt the other in any manner, whatsoever the case may be. Senior psychologist Samantha George says, "Trust here means no hurt - whether physical, mental or emotional. It means unsaid rules of not hurting the other person. And when there is no hurt, where are the chances of being unhappy?"
Psychiatrist Dr Carl Neil and senior psychologist Samantha George are of the opinion that it is not easy to make all the above four conditions a living reality, always. But both these experts assert that this is the right path to happiness in each and every relationship, sans the ones which involve any physical or emotional abuse. So they say, even if you meet two out of the four conditions above, then you have made a head-start to a happy relationship.
What are you waiting for then? Do follow this and feel free to share your queries with us. Our experts will be happy to help.
Join our Love & Relationships community and tell us your take on relationships.