Philosophy is now generally regarded as an abstract discipline studied by experts with little or no practical value. Standing against this belief is Alain de Botton whose life’s mission has been to remind us that philosophy is about articulating fundamental truths that can help us in our most important and urgent of tasks: living a meaningful life, becoming better people, finding happiness and last, but not least, love.
His article Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person is the most read New York Times article on relationships this year. As a couples therapist who believes in tackling problems head-on, I particularly agree with his argument that the secret of a good relationship is not so much about finding someone compatible but finding ways to manage your disagreements with ease and generosity. As he puts it:
Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition.
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