Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, #1 New York Times best-selling authors of Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, Love Talk, Crazy Good Sex, and Making Happy, discuss how engaged couples can learn from the Kardashian family's marriage mistakes.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Kim Kardashian's marriage to Kris Humphries lasted just 72 days. She's now preparing for a wedding with boyfriend Kanye West. Her sister, Khloe (married in 2009), filed for divorce from her husband Lamar Odom recently. And their parents, Bruce and Kris Jenner, married for 22 years, are currently separated.
Why do we sound like we're reporting for a tabloid? It has to do with something matriarch Kris recently said about all their families marriage woes: "I have thought about this for a long time and I think we both just need to be happy, I really do. Isn't that the bottom line?"
Sorry, Kris. That's not the bottom line. Sure, when we got married in 1984 we wanted to be happy, too. Duh. Everybody wants that. But marriage is far more than a happy pill.
If we learned anything while writing our latest book, Making Happy: The Art and Science of a Happy Marriage, it's that marriage was never intended to make you happy — you make your marriage happy.
Like most every other couple, we swallowed the myth of the happiness pill whole when we got married. But we eventually learned that it's a big fat lie to think that when we say "I do" we'll have a lock on happiness. Granted, we will, for a time. No doubt about it. Marriage makes us happy.
The problem is that marriage will not make us as intensely happy or for as long as we believe it will. Studies reveal that the happiness boost from marriage lasts an average of only two years.
Unfortunately, when those two years are up and fulfilling our goal to find the ideal partner hasn't made us as happy as we expected, we often feel there must be something wrong. Not so.
It's the common course of love. And if left unattended, if we're not deliberately making happy together, our relationship suffers (that's one of the reasons we love the Happy Wives Club!). A lack of happiness in marriage doesn't mean the marriage should be over — it means we need to get busy making happy together.
Happiness, for a marriage, is like a vital sign. It's the heart rate of love. Like all vital signs, it can fluctuate. But like all vital signs, it has a set point, a level to which it strives to return.
We all know couples that call it quits, saying: "We're just not happy anymore." Really? Is being married supposed to make you happy? That's not how it works.
We'll say it again: Marriage doesn't make you happy — you make your marriage happy. As the saying goes, you bring your own weather to the picnic.
A happy marriage does not depend on the right circumstances or the perfect person. A happy marriage is the result of two people committed to making a happy life of love together.
For more relationship advice from the Parrotts, go to LesAndLeslie.com.