What marriage counselors know: Personal Happiness Comes from Successful Marriages

April 30, 2010 by

David Brooks, a nationally known columnist for The New York Times, recently wrote a column that every marriage counselor can attest to. The column asks the question, “Would you exchange a tremendous professional triumph for a severe personal blow?” Bullock had just won an Academy Award and promptly learned that her husband had been cheating on her. Brooks goes on to say that a successful marriage can endure several professional setbacks and still be a reasonably happy one. However, based on research studies on happiness, Brooks also states that no matter how many professional successes a person has, it doesn’t equate to personal fulfillment.

As I write this the marriage counselor in me can’t help thinking of what unfolded at the Masters Golf Tournament this year. Tiger Woods came back to the game to huge media hype after nearly losing his marriage. Was it too soon? Is he really going to continue therapy for sex addiction and learn how to stop cheating on his wife? Or is it another publicity stunt designed to cleanup his tarnished image? Also competing in the tournament was Phil Mickelson who had spent the past year being by his wife’s side while she fought cancer. Who do you think is happier? By the way, for those of you that don’t follow golf, Phil won the tournament and was spotted wearing the traditional green jacket at a Dairy Queen buying an ice cream cone the next day. I‘m not selling vanilla here. For me it speaks volumes about personal happiness.

Marriage counselors know that a good marriage is more important than anything, including a healthy income!

Brooks sites several research studies about personal relationships and happiness. One study found that being married produces the same psychological gain as an extra $100,000 a year. It seems like everyone I have worked with and listened to this past couple of years is struggling financially. Sadly the effect has been that some have chosen to leave their marriages, which usually leads to further financial loss. Losing a career or job is also on the hit list for failed marriages. Men particularly struggle with a loss of identity and become depressed. Emotional depression can lead to hopelessness, cheating on your spouse, withdrawing, alcohol or drug abuse and many exits to intimacy. Marriage counselors know that having a great relationship doesn’t resolve problems that are bigger than the two of us, but it does help us to weather the storms. You can read the article here on the NY Times website.

Here at Portland Relationship Center there is help! Our motto is “Make Up- Don’t Break Up!”. Take our marriage education weekend class Getting the Love You Want Couples Workshop. You will restore the promise your marriage holds and gain the information and tools you need to make love last a lifetime! Then perhaps, follow it with marriage counseling to address your specific relationship needs.