Hedonic Treadmil

Right before I got married, a handful of people told me that “it won’t be as good as you think”, “the first two years are the hardest”, or “you might second guess your decision after a few weeks”.

“The first draft of anything is sh**”.  ~Ernest Hemingway

Matthew and I had a good idea on what the first few months of marriage would be like.  I read a few Christian books for engaged couples and we took premarital counseling.  We began to understand that marriage won’t “complete” us.  Marriage isn’t ultimately what will make us happy.  We need God.  We need God in the center of our lives.  Without Him, there will always be a feeling of emptiness.  We would be unfulfilled.

“The only one who can truly satisfy the human heart is the one who made it”. ~Unknown

With this in mind, Matt and I had a wonderful wedding.  It was the best day of our lives.  Then the honeymoon followed, which was also filled with overwhelming happiness.  Once we got back home, back to reality, everything just felt normal.

We weren’t sad.  We didn’t second guess our decision to get married.  We just weren’t on cloud nine anymore.  We were happy for sure!  But not any more happy than normal.

I wondered why this was the case.  Many people feel this too, and that is what leads them to think they are sad or to second guess their decision.  Matthew and I knew that marriage wasn’t going to be the answer to forever happiness, but it was still shocking at how normal life was.

Then school started and I learned a new concept: The Hedonic Treadmil.

Image result for hedonic treadmill

The concept of the hedonic treadmil is basically that everyone has a baseline level of happiness.  You could be a 7/10 or a 4/10, but whichever you are, that is your typical day-to-day happiness level.  If something tragic happens to you, your level will dip down.  But this is only temporary!  Eventually, faster than you think, your level of happiness will go back to that baseline.  The same thing happens when something incredibly exciting happens in your life, like getting married.  Your level of happiness (hopefully) goes way up on your wedding day, and will continue to be high all throughout your honeymoon.  However, it will eventually go back to the baseline again.

This is the reason why people aren’t forever happier once they get married, or once they have kids, or win the lottery…because their happiness level will always go back to that baseline.

I thought that this concept was incredibly fascinating so I wanted to share it with you all.  Basically, the two biggest and most important aspects to having an amazing first year of marriage is putting God first, and understanding that marriage isn’t something that can make you forever happier.  The only way you can make yourself long-term happy is through God.  God will work in you and make your outlook on life brighter and better. 🙂

I hope you all enjoyed that tidbit of religious and psychological advice!

With Love,

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