A joke about marriage is traveling the email circuit: Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. Indeed, from first attraction until death parts us, couples can be wildly imaginative - in every possible context. Under the influence of infatuation, we imagine that we have found our one right person. Based on childhood fantasies and unexamined conventional wisdom, we imagine that loving spouses will work tirelessly to enhance our lives.
Imagination promises marriage that is sexy, easy, fulfilling. No wonder imagination triumphs.
Ultimately, though, marital reality is less fabulous than we imagined. External and internal forces relentlessly threaten marital satisfaction. Stressful life events challenge coping skills, expose unrealistic expectations, and elicit negative reactions. Emotional immaturity generates satisfaction-sabotaging behaviors. Hence, those daunting 60-40 odds against marital success.