What you have doesn’t make you unhappy. What you want does. ~ Seth Godin
That statement is brilliant in both its simplicity and deep truth. Seth echoes something I found in Richard Swenson’s book Margin that I am trying to learn to live. If you look at poor countries where people have far, far less, the people tend to be happier. Even in midst horrible circumstances, those who visit from places like the USofA say the locals are more content, more at peace, and just plain happier. I don’t think they are happier because they have less, but because they want less. The less you want, the less frustrated you are about what you want but don’t have. Having less also makes it far easier to be thankful for what you do have.
While Seth and Swenson are applying these principles to things, I think they are just as valid for marriage. When we set the bar too high, we’re going to be disappointed most of the time. When we expect too much from our spouse, how can we not be upset with her on a regular basis?
I’m not saying we should want nothing, or lower the bar to the ground. As with most things, it’s about balance. Learn to appreciate what you have, and choose to want a reasonable list of things beyond that.