In the words of Joe Romano, “A day is a long time to feel happy.”
The skit, Romano Tours, which first aired on Saturday Night Live, may offer wisdom to those struggling to find fulfillment in their marriage. Tour guide Joe Romano explains in front of a scenic backdrop all the amenities Romano Tours has to offer customers: Venice, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Spaghetti. However, Joe Romano begins to explain that he’s gotten some negative reviews because people didn’t have as much fun as they thought they would. Joe’s answer to the complaints? “If you’re sad now, you might still feel sad there, okay?” If you’re wondering what, if anything, this has to do with your marriage, keep reading.
What Is Happiness?
What is happiness? And, where does it come from? If you’re asking those questions, you’re not alone. Defining happiness and its origin are tasks that have plagued positive psychologists, theologians, and philosophers for centuries. Research has been able to tell us a little bit about what can make us happy, but we’ve still got a lot to learn. So far, we know that, for the most part, a person has a lot of control over their happiness. Most research suggests that many factors can influence your happiness, but for the most part, happiness comes from a person’s ability to enjoy and appreciate life’s pleasures. According to the most current studies, going on vacations, getting married, having a fancy car, or a lot of money, can influence your happiness. But those things will not make you happy—even if you’ve been dreaming about those things or experiences for your entire life. If you were sad before you were married, you might still feel sad after you get married, even if getting married was your dream.
What Marriage Can Do for You
Your spouse can influence your happiness in some really big ways. In a healthy marriage, your spouse can make a positive impact on your happiness. Your spouse can provide you with emotional support when you’re struggling. If you need encouragement, a good spouse can push you toward your goals. If you’re stressed, your spouse can offer to help with your chore list. However, just because your spouse can positively influence your happiness, doesn’t mean they can create it for you. When Joe Romano explains to customers what Romano Tours can do for them, he says, “We can provide you with a zipline. We cannot give you the ability to say ‘whee!’ and genuinely mean it.” Similarly, marriage can enhance your happiness, but it cannot make you happy.
What Marriage Can Not Do for You
When it comes to happiness, marriage is kind of like a vacation in some ways: though it can enhance your happiness, it can not make you happy. In the words of Joe Romano, “Remember, you’re still gonna be you on vacation. If you are sad where you are, and then you get on a plane to Italy, the you in Italy will be the same sad you from before—just in a different place.” A lot of people look forward to married life in the same way they look forward to a vacation: they tell themselves, “This is it; I can finally be happy.” The problem with that kind of thinking is that marriage cannot reliably produce happiness; even the best marriages have rough patches. If you’ve made your spouse and your marriage responsible for your happiness, you may be tempted to blame them any time the marriage is strained, or you’re unhappy.
When Ending the Marriage Will Make You Happy
Though we’re divorce attorneys, we aren’t necessarily pro-divorce. In a lot of cases, ending your marriage won’t necessarily make you any happier. However, there are definitely cases where ending your marriage will very likely increase your levels of happiness. In cases involving any kind of abuse, if your spouse is preventing you from pursuing and/or achieving your goals, or if there’s constant fighting and turmoil, you may be happier after you end your marriage. But, if you’re ending your marriage because your spouse isn’t making you happy, it may be worth it to further examine what’s causing your unhappiness.
If you’ve decided that the reason you’re unhappy is because you’re unfulfilled, it isn’t too late to find fulfillment. Think about things you can do that are just for you. Make sure to pick something that will bring you fulfillment and set aside time for you to do something just for you. You may need to work with your spouse to make sure you have this time available—and a good spouse will make sure you have time to do the things that fulfill you. Many people also find working with a therapist to be beneficial when they’re trying to figure out what makes them happy. Depending on what mental health professionals and medical professionals suggest, you may find that a combination of medication and therapy is necessary. Even if you’re still not sure if ending your marriage is holding your back, a mental health professional can help you find the answers you’re seeking.
When Your Marriage Really Is Holding You Back
Sometimes, finding marital fulfillment isn’t as simple as finding a new hobby that makes you happy. If your spouse is holding you back from becoming the person you want to be, or the goals you’re pursuing, you may be happier without your spouse. If the intimacy in your marriage is gone and you no longer love your spouse, that’s also a sign that your marriage may be over. Additionally, if your spouse knows about your concerns, but hasn’t even attempted to change, the marriage may be over. If you know your marriage is over, CoilLaw is here for you. Our team of attorneys can help you navigate the divorce process while protecting your rights. If you’re ready to file for divorce, contact CoilLaw today.