All the hype is true, folks: marriage really is the ticket to happiness!
Ok, maybe not the ticket, as in, the only. Let’s go with a ticket. There, that’s better.
But anyway, it’s true! Let me describe my marital bliss. I am wed to the nicest man alive. Really. He doesn’t get mad when I change my mind after already changing my mind, wakes up with the babies so I can sleep in on Saturdays, comes up with lists of things he likes about me whenever I ask him to tell me “nice things” (that one took some training… at first he thought I wanted to hear nice things, so he would give me things like ice cream and Friday nights. I had to awkwardly spell it out for him. Babe, I mean nice things about me, but let’s just call it nice things so I don’t feel so selfish, K?), and he will fetch anything for me without complaining or even so much as sighing heavily when I’m too lazy to get out of bed or get off the couch. He’s really, really nice!
And I’m married to him! Hurray for me! So, instant happiness, right? I guess that’s where the slight hiccup comes. See, marriage isn’t a ticket on the bullet train to happiness. I’d say it’s more like one of those trans-Siberian ones about 100 years ago. It gets there, but it’s, how do you say? Slow.
Slow like this: every single day is an opportunity to experience happiness, but you probably won’t at first because you’re too selfish to see it. Exhibit A: I’m folding the laundry, which I always do, because if I didn’t, no laundry would get folded (I said he was nice, not an excellent laundry-folder!). When I take a freshly-folded pile of undershirts to their spot in the closet, I realize the spot is completely bare. As in, he wouldn’t have had anything to put on under his scrubs tomorrow morning if I hadn’t magically put them there tonight. And here’s the moment. I can think, what a terrible planner! He just expects me to do all the work and doesn’t even let me know it needs to be done! Or I can smile dreamily and think about the Postal Service song about how we’re puzzle pieces made to fit each other perfectly, because obviously he needs a laundry-folder-putter-awayer and that piece is most certainly missing from his puzzle.
What really happens is I think both thoughts, but the happiness train requires me to stop the first and throw it away. It’s not allowed there. If it stays, the train suddenly veers in a direction I didn’t set out for, the Land of Discontent. That is a very fun place to go, full of justice and long lists of reasons I’m right and you’re not. But I’ve noticed not a lot of people are smiling there, and even I get tired of it after a while. It isn’t happy. It isn’t kind. It isn’t worth it, at all.
So I trudge back onto my happiness covered wagon (let’s be honest, it’s a hard trip!) and rearrange my thoughts. Instead of focusing on all the ways he isn’t my dreamy ideal of a lifelong love, I train my thoughts another way. I purposely notice when he’s done something kind. I write about it, so I don’t forget (it’s so easy to forget!). I tell him, so I hear my mouth saying the words. And I tell you, because I’m really, really happy to be married to my husband, and telling you makes it even happier. It’s the happiness train, and I’ve got a ticket!