What Is Life’s Biggest Decision?

Confession: I love reality TV. Specifically the kind that’s focused on people who are falling in love. 90 Day Fiancé? The Ultimatum? Sign me up for binge watching. There’s just something fascinating about watching questionable relationship behavior on camera. Like, you got engaged to someone you’ve never seen in real life? I have my popcorn. Say more. 

These people aren’t special. The shows highlight things that happen every day. People lose their damn minds when they fall in love, but it isn’t usually caught on camera. Most of us with any common sense and respect for our family traumas hide our love until we’re at least a little sure for the Instagram soft launch. Not Netflix. 

Most recently, I’ve binge watched matchmaking shows – the first about arranged marriages in Indian cultures and the second about a Jewish matchmaker. I find matchmaking fascinating – the history and the Netflix hookup version. The practice of matchmaking can be traced to ancient times where it took place within communities. Families played a significant role in arranging those marriages.

This was particularly prevalent in traditional societies where social and economic factors played a role in the selection process, not a casting crew. It wasn’t until the 20th century when significant changes to matchmaking happened with the advent of personal ads in newspapers. All of a sudden, Lonely Hearts columns created broad reach to find love beyond immediate communities. Now you add the internet. Love has been a hot mess ever since. 

While the methods have changed from the ancient village matchmakers to the modern algorithms, the fundamental desire to connect with others and form meaningful relationships is a timeless pursuit. It also makes great TV so I binge watched the entire Jewish Matchmaker series on Saturday afternoon.

At the very end of the last episode, the series ended with the matchmaker saying: “The most important decision you’ll ever make in life is who you marry.” I rolled my eyes. I know I rolled my eyes. See, as someone who has been divorced twice, I’m technically more of an expert on marriage than she is. I did it twice and she has only done it once. Note sarcasm. Regardless, I think she’s wrong. 

Impactful? Absolutely. Important? Sure. Life’s biggest decision? Hell no. In fact, there’s even research from UKG (read it here) that suggests your manager is just as influential on your well-being as your spouse. So technically, picking a manager is life’s biggest decision if you’re thinking about how a decision influences your life.  

While I’m clearly no expert on what makes a marriage last, I have been in the pursuit of understanding what didn’t work for a long time. I was sold the same stories everyone else was. I believed that who I chose to marry was life’s biggest decision. That if I didn’t give more than I had to give every day in a relationship, it would all fall apart. Then it fell apart anyway, even after all that giving, which was a sign that clearly I was bad at love. It made me question if I knew how to make important decisions for my life at all. 

But looking around – at my van, my business, my life today? I can clearly see a series of more important decisions I made that have one thing in common – and it has nothing to do with getting divorced.

They were decisions made in the pursuit of making myself happy, not to only seek happiness in others. I’ve even found a relationship where I’m learning that I can do both. But I refuse to believe that choosing someone else is the most important decision of your life. The biggest decisions are the ones we make to change ourselves. Well, that and deciding to be part of a show on Netflix. That could definitely change your life. 

Weekly Letters

Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

1 Comment Leave a comment

  1. I’m with you on the eye-rolling. My most important decisions have always been related to employment — after undergrad, I backpacked for a few years and went to temporary agencies for a job when I returned. I was given the option to interview for an office manager job or be placed as a temporary receptionist in an HR department. My sister told me to try temping (and was brutally honest saying that I had zero skills and wouldn’t get the office manager job. After a week as the temporary receptionist, where I spent my downtime learning MS Office, they asked if I wanted to be trained as an HR consultant and fast forward 20ish years later as an HR director. Other more important decisions than getting married: when I went to graduate school and when I moved to Michigan instead of Oregon for a job because the boss I had in Michigan was the most incredible mentor and gave direct (even when uncomfortable) feedback.

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