Recently a Harvard psychology professor (Dan Gilbert) came out with a book on happiness in marriage. It is called ‘Stumbling on Happiness’. See the report in New York Times or Telegraph. See his blog here.
Among the many distorted views being promoted by this researcher is that children spoil happiness in marriage. How wrong this is. It probably is indicative of the growing selfishness of adults in the western culture. Whether it be marriage or children, our culture is all about what is in for me.
A quote from the book, which gives the slant of the entire book, I guess. “When we have an experience . . . on successive occasions, we quickly begin to adapt to it, and the experience yields less pleasure each time,” he writes. “Psychologists calls this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it marriage.”
Sure, small kids are lots of work and depletes all our resources – time, energy and money. Couples become child-centric and have little or no time for each other. Raising kids is also very expensive these days and involves much sacrifice. But parenting teaches us some very fundamental lessons in life, other, community, faith and God.
The American experiment is based on ‘pursuit of happiness’ and yet it evades most Americans. As long we are obsessed with ourselves and using (even abusing) others for our own selfish gains, we never will find happiness. Marriage and children makes us other centered. It teaches us to serve other sacrificially. It is the only by finding happiness of others that we find ourselves happy.
Materialism or promiscuity can never give lasting happiness. We must turn to spiritual pursuits and return to finding core of our being. Search for ultimate truth about origin, meaning, end of life. Marriage and children are fundamentally makes us to ask deeper questions about life.