A sobering article in The New York Times written by Alain de Botton came out recently, titled “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person.” As the seemingly pessimistic title states, the article proposes that no matter who we end up marrying, we will ultimately find ourselves disillusioned, disappointed and if not unhappy, bereft of the unadulterated joy we had hoped for and downright expected. To de Botton, the remedy for such discouraging news is to denude our culture of the pervasive romanticism that has haunted it for the last 250 years: a collective lowering of the marital bar. Then, with such ringing hopes dulled and diluted, we can better go about our business when it comes to the institution of marriage.
There are obviously elements of truth to the article. In the piece, de Botton discusses the inherent impossibility of any one person to fulfill us in the way we so ardently desire:
“The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement.”