“I Choose You”: Luck Versus Skill in Love and Marriage

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you

Sara Bareilles, “I Choose You”

In love and in marriage, what’s the main ingredient involved in choosing someone—luck or skill?

I believe many would go with luck. After all, we often use or hear the phrases “lucky in love” and “unlucky in love,” but do we ever use “skilled at love” or “unskilled at love”?

Regarding luck, therapist Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, Psychology Today, points out that research may lean against it as a reason people find love.

Research on ‘lucky people’ indicates that the ‘luckiest’ people are those who actively seek to make their own luck. We might describe as ‘lucky’ people who find a $20 bill on the street, get the last item at a great sale, or make the right decision at the right time in a relationship. What separates these folks from those of us who may not consider ourselves as lucky?

Turns out, the people who find money on the street are the very ones who are most likely to be looking for the odd $20 bill blowing along in a parking lot or by the curb.

So, it might be partly semantics, but basically you’re lucky if you’ve made your own luck. It’s because you’ve looked for a good match that you’ve found one.

One might even argue there’s a skill to that.

As there is in knowing whom to choose and why—and then, moreover, in knowing how to keep your relationship going long-term.

The initial picking, it must be noted, may actually start with something short of skill—romantic notions and lust, for example. But if things continue to work out over time because of how you deal with such challenging issues as the ending of the honeymoon phase, unmet expectations, tough times—skill is definitely involved.

So, if you choose someone to be your life partner, also know that, along with your love, you’re also choosing a lot of other things—things that will require certain capabilities. Psychologist Robert Epstein‘s research has found that there are, in fact, “seven essential relationship skills.”

  1. Communication
  2. Conflict resolution
  3. Knowledge of partner
  4. Life skills
  5. Self-management
  6. Sex and romance
  7. Stress management

With this in mind, enjoy the popular video Sara Bareilles has made of her catchy song “I Choose You,” in which she helps two different individuals—a straight guy and a lesbian—surprise their partners with marriage proposals. A process, by the way, that evidently also involved real skill (as well as love and motivation and commitment)—and that led to at least one classic WTF response.

One thought on ““I Choose You”: Luck Versus Skill in Love and Marriage

  1. I love this post! And you’re right – no matter how “lucky” you are in finding a partner, it takes a lot of skill, communication, and motivation to make a relationship work long-term. It’s not always easy, but definitely worth it!

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