I Was Sure Marriage Ends Happiness For Women, Then I Got Married

Love is great, but is holding on to your freedom even better? 

In college I remember a psychology professor posing the question, "Who do you think are the happiest people in our society?" He then wrote a list on the board revealing the answer:

Married men

Single women

Single men

Married women


Over my years as a single adult, I'd often think about the list. From what I experienced, single women certainly fit the picture. My girlfriends and I had full, exciting lives taking ski and sun vacations, thriving in our careers, and relishing the culture of our vibrant city. But all the while, although I was very happy and knew that according to the list, marriage would likely reduce my happiness, I still continued to look for love.

Fast forward twenty years, I tell my husband I'm writing a piece asking, "Who is happier — single or married people?" "I'm very happy," he says. Consistent with the list. "And I was happy single," I tell him. Again, consistent with the list. What's inconsistent with the list is that I'm even happier now than when I was single.

How did I beat the odds and avoid slipping down to number four? Simply put, I refused to settle. I dated lots of good enough guys, but I craved a tremendously intimate connection I believed could be inherent to marriage but wouldn't be unless I waited for the extraordinary.

I wanted my best friend, greatest lover, and devoted partner rolled up in one. I wanted someone who would put me first — always. As happy as I was single, I felt that if I found my perfect partner — not a perfect man, per se, but definitely the perfect man for me — I'd be even happier than I already was. And I was right. 

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