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.

So, how can you hit the jackpot of marital success?  

Make your marriage the triumph of intelligence over imagination.  As unsexy as it may sound, this approach produces new heights of marital satisfaction.  And you don't have to be some kind of genius to make it work.  You'll just look like one to all those couples who still favor imagination. 

In general terms, the triumph of intelligence in marriage means discarding old thinking and investing in Marriage 2.0.  It means practicing self-responsibility.  (See previous post, New Marriage Paradigm: Self-responsible Spouse.)

Specifically, self-responsible spouses reality-test expectations.  De-escalate negative emotional reactions.  Constructively manage dark moods and insecurities.  Self-responsible spouses correct their own thoughts and emotions rather than imagining their partners to be blame-worthy.  

For more about the book, go to www.everybodymarriesthewrongperson.com

About the Author

Christine Meinecke, Ph.D.

Christine Meinecke, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and author of Everybody Marries the Wrong Person.

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