At a dinner party a week ago, a woman talked about one of her friends from professional school. He was the nicest guy in the world, friendly, optimistic, happy. Everyone was shocked when he married “a total bitch.” The marriage has now lasted 15+ years with no signs of friction.
I offered my theory: “Happy people can marry anyone and stay married. They are dating someone who isn’t so great, yet their mood is good and they don’t feel any strong motivation to change their circumstances, so they slide from dating to marriage. Fundamentally unhappy people, however, are always trying to change something in an attempt to become happy. They will break up with partner and search for someone new, thinking that a new partner will make them happy. They keep doing this until they are 40 years old and desperate, never realizing that it wasn’t their circumstances making them unhappy, but their genetics.”
[A more refined version of this theory could be “The ratio between one’s innate happiness and one’s expected happiness predicts the likelihood that one will marry young.” For example, if you are happier than average, but expect every day to be as fun as the best day of your life, you will keep searching.]