Alain de Botton‘s article Why you will marry the wrong person has been the most popular article of New York times for several weeks. I read it with admiration. Nobody is perfect. As time goes by, we tend to be more picky with our partner and cannot bear his or her magnified flaws.”I deserve a better man,” we comfort ourselves by imagining a person who surely understand us better, just as Emma Bovary, the famous heroine of Gustave Flaubert’s novel Madame Bovary. “It’s the fault of fatality,”concluded her boring but sincere husband.
Emma was indulged herself in romantic novels. She tried to love her family but never gave up her dream. We are not as foolish as Emma who confused reality and imagination. Moreover, we think our partner will be much more charming and smarter than the poor Charles, her husband and her other hypocritical lovers. However, we encounter constantly surprising but disappointing discoveries in our marriage. We even doubt about the existence of love. Let’s read again Madame Bovary, a novel of 1856.
“Before marriage she thought herself in love; but the happiness that should have followed this love not having come, she must, she thought, have been mistaken. And Emma tried to find out what one meant exactly in life by the words felicity, passion, rapture, that had seemed to her so beautiful in books.” Chapiter 5, Part I, Madame Bovary
We are all, at a certain time, Emma Bovary. And then, if after each quarrel with your partner, you think you are married to the wrong person, what do you do?
Most of my friends have family problems. Me too. Most of us chose silence to affront the disagreement. Cold violence turns out to be more harmful, because we unconsciously accumulate our anger and the explosion will be more violent. In the silence, we get time to justify ourselves, to prepare the attack, to peer or seek other proofs and to compare the past and the present. Once we compare the past and the present, the present seems always horrible, because the past, especially the beginning of our love and the first days of our marriage were embellished in our memory. Naturally, we are more or less egocentric.”The marriage was wrong,” we accuse our partner to ruin our expectation. We rarely use “I” to form the sentence, as “I was wrong”.
It happened that in yesterday’s college entrance exam in Shanghai, the writing subject was to express one’s opinion on “comments on others”. Making comments on others becomes our busy activity, especially in social medias. Comments and judgments fill also our family life. We don’t want to be mean, but sometimes, we are so mean without awareness.”Your haircut is awful,””you are always impatient,””How stubborn your are,”… Gradually, we focus more on someone’s quality than on the issue itself, trying to figure out the origin fault of our problem. “I never thought you were so selfish,” we shouted out.
If you are married to the wrong person, I mean, if you think that you are married to the wrong person, stop highlighting the word “wrong”. In marriage, there is no right no wrong. Stop commenting or judging your partner. Stop making sentences with “you” as subject. Try to buy her or him a present, as what you did on the first day of your date. Make him or her a coffee or just hand over the coffer mug. There is a Chinese expression which describes the good marriage life, even it’s not in line with our ideal of best love: “Be polite as guests !”
If you are married to the wrong person, the first thing to do is to stop thinking that you are married to the wrong person. Try to think that all marriage are not easy. As Alain de Botton reveals, “you will still marry the wrong person”.