Saturday, February 11, 2006

In the news: Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages



Originally uploaded by Curlylocks.

I came across an article, Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages that talks about alturism, marriage and happiness. The National Opinion Research Center conducted a study into alturism and published the results.

First what is alturism? The study asked questions like:
"I'd rather suffer myself than let the one I love suffer," and "I'm willing to sacrifice my own wishes to let the one I love achieve his or hers."
This is, are you more interested in your own well-being or that of your sweetheart?

What does this have to do with marriage and romance? The atricle states:
Among the more altruistic, 67 percent rated their own marriage as "very happy." Among those who were profiled as the least altruistic, only 50 percent said they were very happy in marriage.


We see here a paradox. The less selfish you are, the happier you are. Normally we persue happiness through selfishness. What do I want? What's in it for me? How does this benefit me?

Paradoxially, the road to happines is not "looking out for number one", but making sure your sweetie's needs are being met. Happiness comes from serving others, not in being served.

The article also states some othe interesting findings:
Smith also analyzed empathy, described as feeling protective of others or concerned for the less fortunate. Some of the findings:

* Women have a greater feeling of empathy than men.
* Children from two-parent homes are more empathetic.
* Girls raised by a single father are the least likely to develop empathy.
* Financial status bears little on altruism or empathy.
* People who vote are more empathetic and altruistic.
* Empathy is higher among those who fear crime.
* Empathy is higher among those who support increased spending on social programs.
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