Marriage Myths Debunked: Unlocking the Misconceptions that Can Hurt Your Marriage
Myths are false notions that simply aren’t true. However, these myths sometimes affect how we look at things and how we react to issues and situations. Sometimes we carry some myths as we get into married life. We marry with stars in our eyes (and rightly so). But if we make the decision to marry based on some marriage myth, we may be in for a rude awakening when the truth finally sinks in. “I didn’t expect marriage to be this way!” “I thought love was all that mattered and we will live happily every after!” “I thought it would work out just like it does in the movies.”
Well, let’s try to debunk some of the more popular marriage myths, shall we?
Myth: A good marriage means being able to find Mr. or Ms. Right
H.L. Mencken so wisely puts it, “Strike an average between what a woman thinks of her husband a month before she marries him and what she thinks of him a year afterward, and you will have the truth about him.”
We may think that we went into marriage with Mr. or Ms. Perfect, conveniently forgetting the truth that “nobody is perfect”. The ideal about the perfect partner is often based on unrealistic expectations we have about our spouse, expectations that are nearly impossible to meet all the time. You are putting your spouse in a very high pedestal – eventually he or she will fall off. It is important to realize that each of us has our own flaws. The secret is to love our spouse in spite of the shortcomings and flaws and to work into a suitable compromise.
Myth: Marriage is about changing the other.
They say that a woman marries a man with the hope that he will change, while a man marries a woman with the hope that she will not. Marriage is not about manipulating the other into becoming the image we have of him or her. Again, it is coming to a compromise. There might be habits or attitudes that annoys the other partner and you can talk and work on this together.
Myth: Arguments are a mark of a bad marriage.
Remember that you are never going to agree on everything. Arguments, or discussions, can actually help resolve conflict. Getting into marriage thinking that arguments are to be avoided at all costs can actually be harmful. What happens is that an issue goes on unresolved and when one has had more than enough, he or she will suddenly blow up. Mature discussions may actually work to let the couple sort of the conflict and come into a compromise, at beast.
Myth: Closeness comes automatically to married people.
Intimacy is like a plant – it requires daily watering and care. Miss a few days of taking care of it and you will see that the plant will start to wilt. If you want to develop intimacy with your spouse, you need to constantly and consistently nurture your relationship. Intimacy does not grow overnight or automatically. This involves spending time knowing (and studying) your spouse, what makes him tick, what he likes and doesn’t like and so on. This also involves listening to your spouse and also communicating how you feel.
Myth: To grow closer, partners must be together and do everything together all the time.
Remember, you are both individuals, with different needs and wants. Getting married does not mean that you are getting tied in the hip. Give each other space to pursue his or her individual hobbies and pursuits. It may sometimes be enough to let the other spouse know that you are supporting him or her. Pockets of separateness where you “do your own thing” (a hobby, a vocation) may very well strengthen the times you are together. So it’s okay for the wife to allow the husband to have a night out with the boys while she goes to the salon. You don’t have to be at every fishing trip or shopping trip either.
Myth: A good marriage means that both partners get what they want.
On the contrary! Marriage is about meeting halfway. The myth is that if your spouse truly loved you, he or she will give you what you want. This is setting a high level of expectations for the relationship.
Myth: If my spouse loved me, he or she will know exactly how I feel.
Just a reminder, your spouse is not a mind reader. He or she would not know what you are feeling or thinking unless you speak about it. Over the years, your spouse will get to know you such that one look will tell him or her what you’re thinking. But again, this does not make your spouse a mind reader. Communication is important. Sharing thoughts and feelings about issues and expectations will help establish a stronger relationship.
Myth: Getting into marriage counseling is a no-no.
There is a stigma with going for marriage counseling. Some people feel that this is just one step before both parties eventually give up. In reality, marriage therapy or counseling can help smoothe out the rough spots of the marriage and even give both partners the tools in which to strengthen the marriage.
Myth: Marriage has rules and guidelines.
There are rules about arguing, raising up the children, dealing with in-laws and handling money. Generally, what these rules are depends on both of you and what you agree upon. Setting guidelines early on in the marriage will help establish the framework by which your marriage will be set up on.
Myth: Everything will be happily ever after.
After the dream wedding, you set yourself up to ride off into the wind happily together. End of story. But in real life, that does not happen. A spouse gets sick, gets laid from work, a child rebels and the list goes on. Life will throw you a curveball from time to time. This is why a common marriage vow reminds us to love our spouse, “for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness or in health.” If youa re able to weather the ups and downs of life together, this can actually make your marriage stronger.
Sometimes these misconceptions are so ingrained that it seriously affects your marriage. Getting a good and experienced marriage counselor can help sort through the roots of these misconceptions and how they can be corrected.
Getting A Marriage Counselor in Provo, Utah
Triston Morgan is one reputable marriage counselor in Provo, Utah that can provide you with therapy and counseling in a non-confrontation atmosphere. As a licensed marriage counselor, he is there to help you and your mate have a deeper understanding of the myths that have become ingrained in your relationship and provides the tools for you to successfully deal with these. Morgan is PREPARE/ENRICH certified and a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.
Triston Morgan has practiced marriage and family counseling in Utah and has worked with couples and teens in various settings, including community therapy centers, residential programs for adolescents, drug and alcohol rehabilitation clinics and wilderness therapy programs.