Here’s a column from The New York Times titled, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.” It takes a fairly pessimistic outlook on relationships (the author isn’t kidding with that title), but manages to twist that pessimism into something productive.
The column begins by pointing out a common mistake we all make:
Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.
The problem is, everyone makes this same mistake, because no one is perfect.
Ultimately, what matters isn’t whether or not the person we marry is right for us (because they won’t be). What matters is how we’re able to negotiate our differences.