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True Happiness According to a Harvard Study

Published on Tuesday August 24th, 2021

What is the secret of lasting happiness? If we had to invest all our energy to live happily, what should we bet on?

Recently, an American study asked young people aged 18-25 what they thought was the most important goal in their lives. More than 80% of them answered: to get rich. 50% of these same young adults said that an important goal in life was to become famous. We constantly hear that you need to succeed in school, work hard and achieve more, so these things often become life goals.
            An exceptional study at Harvard that has lasted more than 75 years proves exactly the opposite. As part of this research, researchers followed 724 men, year after year, from their entry into university or in their active life until their old age, to determine what predisposed them to happiness. Their conclusion is uplifting: harmony in marriage makes us happier and improves our health, regardless of our level of material wealth.

After 80 years, all the men in the study who defined themselves as happy and vigorous had the same thing in common: they all had a fulfilling relationship. The happiest couples reported that at around the age of 80, when their physical pain was highest, their mood was just as happy. On the other hand, people in unhappy relationships testified that when physical pain reached its peak, it was aggravated by emotional pain.

The second big lesson that the study demonstrated was that being in a good relationship not only protects our bodies, but our brains as well. It turns out that being in a strong relationship with your spouse is comforting and even allows the memory to stay sharp longer. On the other hand, those who feel they cannot count on each other have experienced early declines in memory.
            In this case, is having a good Shalom Bayit allows us to know real happiness, why do we spend most of our life chasing transient pleasures? By encouraging us to consume more and more, modern society allows us to imagine that material things make it possible to have a good life, as if going to Seychelles, having a house with swimming pool, a Mercedes or the latest iPhone was the key to happiness.

            So inevitably, when we find ourselves in a relationship which requires daily efforts and our ability to put ourselves aside for the other is the key to its success, the efforts seem superhuman. But hang on there!

Rav Benshetrit made the following comparison in one of his classes: a person who plays sports regularly enjoys real pleasure, feels fit and is invigorated. On the other hand, those who have not practiced sports for years and who, from one day to the next, decide to enroll in a gym, will feel aches everywhere after the first session. He will feel these aches again and again, and he may even decide to stop doing exercise altogether.

What is the difference between these two people? For the first person, since he never stopped making efforts, the exercise seems easy, however this is not the case for the second person.

The same is true in marriage: If, from the beginning of marriage, we get used to giving to our partner, each one will feel that he can count on the other. Thus, gradually, what is now called an effort will no longer be one. Better yet, today's effort will be tomorrow’s happiness.

            As the Torah teaches us, the structure of the world rests on the secret of the union between man and woman. In other words, a couple achieving harmony attains, on a certain level, the perfection of the world, and has the merit of seeing the Divine Presence reside in their home.

Let us spare no efforts and invest the maximum intelligence, energy and patience to get there!

Lea NABET - © Torah-Box

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