4. The Perfection Myth (and other myths about happiness and expectations):
I can find (or create) a perfect match for myself and then I will be happy.
Truth: Some married couples are better matched than others, and there are even those who believe they have found their soulmate. But most marriages are about accommodation and adjustment—and more about changing our own minds than about fixing our spouse’s.
- Sub-myth: I can fix my spouse.
Truth: You can’t. And you might not like the result if you did. Better to work harder at changing yourself than at changing your partner.
- Sub-myth: Your job is to love yourself; and you are responsible for your own happiness, not anyone else’s.
Truth: It is important to accept and love yourself, but caring more about another whom you love more than yourself is the surest way to receive joy as well as to give it.
- Sub-myth: If you settle (or have settled) for someone who seems less than perfect, you will never be really happy.
Truth: Marriage is not a game of perfect. It’s about adjusting and improving and getting happier by supporting each other.
- Sub-myth: Your marriage is going to turn out to be pretty much like your parents’ marriage.
Truth: Many who have bad memories of their parents’ marriage are motivated by those memories to fashion a very different kind of marriage for themselves.
More about this myth and its corresponding truth: