Nothing is healthier or more happy-making than loving attachment. Don’t deprive yourself.
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Shu-Sin was the king of Sumer from about 2000 B.C.E. Although his wife’s name is lost to history, her legendary words are not. Carved on a cuneiform tablet is an ode to their love, containing these lines:
Your spirit, I know where to cheer your spirit,
Bridegroom, sleep in our house until dawn,
Your heart, I know where to gladden your heart,
Lion, sleep in our house until dawn.
And down to today, this kind of romantic attachment is one of the best predictors of happiness that social scientists have identified. For example, my review of the General Social Survey finds that although 27 percent of married Americans said they were “very happy” with their lives, only 11 percent of those respondents who were never married, divorced, separated, or widowed answered this way. (Obviously, marriage is not the only romantic arrangement, but it is the one most often studied.) And research in the Journal of Research in Personality has shown that marriage can protect happiness in adulthood.