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Marriage and Happiness Essay

Humans are in search of two things: love and happiness. Whether it is from kids or significant others, people strive to reach feelings of connection in fear of being alone. In Gilbert’s, “Does Fatherhood Make You Happy? ” and Crittenden’s, “About Love,” the authors question the roots of personal happiness. By comparing and contrasting Daniel Gilbert and Danielle Crittenden, it can be concluded that oneself does not solely determine happiness. The presence of children and significant others serve as major factors in emotional feelings of love and pride contributing to feelings of happiness.

Gilbert’s, “Does Fatherhood Make You Happy” discusses how kids have an effect on a parent’s life along with their happiness. Starting his essay off by exchanging ideas in which children decrease the happiness of a parent by adding stress into their life, he ends with thoughts that kids make us happy nonetheless, since they are a product of two partners. For instance, Gilbert proclaims that the happiness children bring into a couple’s life may exhibit a small impact. In his words, “Children may not make us happy very often, but when they do that happiness is both transcendent and amnesic” (Gilbert 985).

Children have the capabilities to make any individual happy. Gilbert’s point initially is that married couples start off blissful with each other, worrying only for themselves. Over time when the mates produce offspring, they progressively become unhappy, from when their kids are in diapers to when they hit adolescence. Research conducted by psychologists revealed that couples reach initial happiness when their kids grow up and move along with their lives. Gilbert refers to such a thought to show readers the truth of what really happens in parenthood.

He states, “Our children give us many things, but an increase on our average daily happiness is probably not among them” (Gilbert 986). Parents withhold an unconditional love for their kids going beyond measures. Being patient and kind is in every parents’ nature to love and care for their children. A simple “I love you” can erase moments of despair. Crittenden’s “About Love” argues that people have been in search for autonomy, defined as the need to be oneself. Crittenden believes that in this newfound generation, humans are on a quest for independence yet they are also on a journey to find love.

She also believes postponing “true feelings” such as trust, faith, and honesty can be like a prison (1010). If individuals are not able to display such emotions, they will trap themselves in their own prison. Crittenden’s point of view assumes that not being able to live for one person can be a negative and positive thing: “A woman will not understand what true dependency is until she is cradling her own infant in her arms…” (1009). She shows creating and maintaining a family helps women find their identity.

She starts her essay off with views of being in search of autonomy, and ends with statements that women want the family aspect as well as children in life to complete them. Crittenden states: We all want the warm body next to us on the sofa in the evenings; we want the noise and embrace of family around us; we want at the end of our lives to look back and see that what we have done amounts to more than a pile of pay stubs, that we have love and been loved, and brought into this world life that will outlast us (1008).

To love and be loved amounts to more than just fulfilling another lone soul, helping humans create lives and opportunities of happiness. People are often too fearful of taking responsibility of not only themselves, but of others. In Crittenden’s words, “Too often, autonomy is merely the excuse of someone who is so fearful, so weak that he or she can’t bear to take on any of the responsibilities that used to be shoulder by much younger but more robust and mature souls” (1008). Fear of commitment, and bearing others serves as a block in the road to find happiness.

Gilbert and Crittenden both assert in one way or another that individuals attempt to find a source of happiness by raising a family, or taking responsibilities from others. On one hand, Gilbert overlooks what I consider an important argument about the happiness a kid brings. Objecting with his proposals, I argue against Gilbert, as children do indeed stimulate joy. Believing that the impact of happiness kids deliver is rare and trifling is ludicrous. How could you ever disagree with what makes an individual happy? Happiness is within the eye of the beholder.

It becomes apparent that kids make their parents smile, laugh, and show emotions no one else can achieve. My thoughts come to more common ground with Crittenden as she argues that letting go the fear we hold and opening our hearts to love would help individuals reach a sense of happiness. I strongly agree with this argument because we won’t fully understand what happiness can truly reveal until we can make others beside ourselves happy. Having someone to share goals, dreams, and aspirations with creates a new bond. Being able to witness another person be proud of what you accomplished can help you acquire personal happiness.

I wholeheartedly endorse what Crittenden refers to as strengthening a muscle by using it (1009). We train our muscles such as our heart to be strong. If we are not able to put our heart into use, we will never know how to express feelings of love and merriment to others. Growing up, getting married, and having children is what most women envision in the future. The risk of commitment and willingness to be open is scary, but it’s a risk worth investing in. Many people argue that looking for love is only a petty excuse to get away from loneliness.

They assert that relationships only create madness, kids are a waste of time, and families make you lose sanity. However, if one were to argue against my beliefs I would assure them finding a partner is not as daunting as it sounds. Along with kids are put on this earth for a reason: to bring joy. Finally that family is always there for love and support. Love finds a wonderful place in this world to make humans experience acceptance. As Crittenden would point out, “the moment we say, ‘I Do,’ we have answered one of the great, crucial questions of our lives: We now know with whom we’ll be spending the rest of our years…” (1009).

Content with the emotional connections, the commitment of love opens a whole new spectrum of happiness. Although many individuals argue that being alone is far off better, having someone to love and care for is a beautiful experience. My discussion of love and happiness is in fact addressing the larger matter of what really is happiness. Assuming the bigger picture, one will define personal happiness as surrounding themselves with a big family with a husband and five kids. Another may define bliss as merely two soul mates being together forever. Many others will define joy as autonomy and coming home to a lone household.

These conclusions have significant applications on Gilbert’s idea of a couple being satisfied without kids, as well as Crittenden’s point of considering someone to love and be open to. Humans are able and willing to find their own personal happiness. To love and be loved is one of life’s greatest aspects to being able to complete an individual. Works Cited Crittenden, Danielle. “About Love. ” What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999. 1008-010. Print. Gilbert, Daniel. “Does Fatherhood Make You Happy? ” Stumbling On Happiness. N. p. : HarperCollins, 2006. 984-86. Print.


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