Sometimes we fall in love hoping for a lifetime of blissful, romantic, conflict-free connection with our spouse. It’s not unnatural! The “honeymoon stage” – marked with so much positive sentiment, no fighting, tons of sex, affection and laughter unfortunately doesn’t stick around. It’s not wrong to want the best for your relationship, but acceptance of the reality of keeping it going long term is important too. Unfortunately we’ve worked with way too many couples where we have had to help “bust” many of these myths in order to help create a realistic, sustainable partnership. Here are some common marriage myths that can really set you up for relationship failure:
- Good marriages can only happen with Mr. or Mrs. Right.
This is an easy trap to fall into. If things aren’t going well, it must be because you married the wrong person! Think again. It could be that you and your partner have some differences that are irreconcilable, but more often this is due to unrealistic expectations about relationships. They aren’t perfect, and they aren’t easy (all the time).
- Conflict is bad!
Conflict with a spouse isn’t pleasant, that’s for sure. But it is inevitable in any relationship. People have different beliefs about life and love usually shaped during childhood. This would be true for any partner. Developing skills to manage this conflict is key.
- Partners “complete each other” (so pursuing your own goals gets in the way)
Individual autonomy is as important as being intimate with your partner. A sign of a healthy relationship is one where spouses can separate but also resume a great level of intimacy upon their return back to each other. Giving up your own desires and needs will make you – and your marriage – unhappy.
- We won’t lose the spark.
Oh yes, yes you will. Hate to be the one to tell you! Embrace those magical feelings at the beginning – but believing they will last forever is an unhealthy thought that you will be challenged to reframe in the years to come. Even the most well-intentioned, committed and romantic couples will be challenged to create the feelings they once had when the routine of life takes over. Children, moves, stressful jobs, deaths, different life stages….these are the realities of sharing a life with someone. Know that this is normal and okay and adjust your expectations.
- My partner needs to fix it.
If you don’t take personal responsibility for creating happiness, your chances of being happier are a lot less. It’s not wrong to want your partner to work harder at your relationship or to ask for your needs to be met, or to assert yourself. But please whatever you do, don’t be the couple who arrives to therapy blaming each other and hoping the therapist can “fix” your spouse….and believing the notion that if ONLY that happens, everything will be okay. This backfires and is totally unproductive. It feels SO much better to live in a place of empowered thinking and to create change that is in your control.
If you need help myth-busting in your own marriage, don’t hesitate to call us at 312-809-8702 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will get you set up with a wonderful therapist who can help guide you into strengthening your partnership in a realistic way.