The way marriages are portrayed through media and popular culture can cloud our expectations of marriage and set the stage for disappointment. These disappointments can eventually lead to marriage counseling and even divorce. Do your own reality check by reading this top 10 list of marriage myths.
Myth 1: Marriage will solve all of your problems.
Reality: Any unaddressed problems you had before your marriage, you’ll still have when you get married. You may even carry them into future marriages. Marriage isn’t a magic wand that can take a person’s troubles away (even if it feels like that’s what happening in the beginning). Take inventory of the issues you “bring to the marriage table” and address them with the love and support of your spouse.
Myth 2: Good, healthy marriages come naturally.
Reality: All relationships experience peaks and valleys. Even the best couples have to work at prioritizing their marriage and romance. The everyday problems and challenges of married life can often cloud over romantic feelings. This is when making a commitment is crucial. When you’re in a valley, try compiling a list of your spouse’s virtues to remind yourself of why you love him/her.
Myth 3: Living together first can test if the marriage will be successful.
Reality: Cohabitation is not a good “test” for marriage. In fact, we now know that living together before marriage in many circumstances is associated with negative marital outcomes.
Myth 4: Your love life is neutral.
Reality: Your love life has spillover effects into friendships, other familial relationships, and relationships with co-workers. It also affects your physical and mental health.
Myth 5: “Never go to bed angry.”
Reality: This maxim can become counterproductive if an argument drags on and you’re only getting less agreeable with each other. It’s OK to call a time out. Set a time to reconnect the next day when you’re fresher and have had time to cool off.
Myth 6: Healthy marriages are conflict free.
Reality: All couples experience conflict, but healthy couples can communicate and resolve conflict effectively. Healthy couples may even work with a marriage and family therapist to help them learn more effective ways to communicate and resolve their issues.
Myth 7: Your spouse completes you.
Reality: You were always a complete individual. A spouse can complement you, but not complete you. It’s unreasonable to expect your spouse to fulfill all of your emotional needs.
Myth 8: Married people have less satisfying sex lives.
Reality: This is one of those marriage myths that has very little basis in reality. According to a large-scale survey of Americans, married people report having sex more often and enjoying it more than their single counterparts.
Myth 9: Marriage is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.
Reality: Successful marriages aren’t generally the result of luck or chance. Couples with enduring, healthy marriages typically share similar values and life goals. They have both a strong commitment and friendship in their relationship with one another. They are willing to do what it takes to make their relationships successful, whether that’s going to marriage counseling or taking time each week to reconnect.
Myth 10: Conflicts only stem from the behavior of the spouses.
Reality: It’s amazing how much outside people, situations, and events can impact your marriage. Strong boundaries around your marital relationship will help you and your spouse weather the storms of outside interference, such as nosey in-laws, demanding children, and extramarital temptations.
Putting time and energy into making your marriage work is a full-time job in itself. But it’s one worth making the investment in. If your relationship is stuck in any of these marriage myths, marriage counseling can help you focus on the realities of marriage to strengthen your connection.
For expert marriage and family therapy, contact me today.