My Top 12 Marriage Myths
Myth #1: Marriage is an equal partnership.
How many times have we heard that line?! Arguments arise because in order to be “equal” we have to place a value tag on everything we do. Men and women place different value tags on the same things. So conflict brews. We get caught up in “You’re not doing enough to help out” and “How come I always have to be the one…” etc.
Divvy it up based on what you’re good at. Who cares if it’s even? Care if you’re efficient. You’ll have less conflict, expectations that can actually be met, and more stuff gets done right:).
Myth #2: Don’t go to bed angry.
This is the worst advice EVER! If you are at your wit’s end and it’s getting late, you’ve hashed things over till the cows came home, the best thing you can do is GO TO BED! Sleep on it. It is amazing how a conflict that brewed hours on end the night before can be resolved in 5 minutes the next morning.
When we get tired and worn out, we are not very good at conflict resolution. By morning you have a fresh head, a new sunrise, and may be more likely to compromise, see the other’s point of view, or even say “I’m sorry.”
Myth #3: Kids come first.
Stay tuned for my next Sid’s Sense post next Tuesday and you’ll see where this viewpoint sprouted. Your marriage comes first. If you have a strong marriage, your kids are darn lucky to ride along.
When in doubt, look to your side first, then down.
Myth #4: Voice your gripes now so they don’t fester.
This gives us permission to nitpick. Rarely there’s a day we don’t have something to gripe about that our spouse did or didn’t do. Think about your first few dates when you first met. You saw the good and ignored the tiny things.
Train yourself to do less griping and let small annoyances flow down the river (which means you can’t grab them back later!).
Myth #5: Have more sex.
There is this underlying notion that a good marriage is full of bedroom drama. This myth can create a cloud of pressure over a good marriage. Talk about keeping up with the Jones’- you don’t know what the Jones’ are up to behind closed doors.
When you’re in a relationship long term, expect ebbs and flows, surges and flatlines. Sex isn’t a duty so don’t make it one.
Myth #6: It’s OK to bash your spouse to your friends.
I have been alarmed at how many times I have heard women and men speak badly about their spouses in front of others. Speaking to a close friend about real issues is understandable. But bashing your spouse in public reflects badly on you.
Add alcohol to the mix and “Pop, my husband’s a weasel” might be the Jack in the Box that startles everyone.
Myth #7: When trust is broken, it is up to both parties to fix it.
Even within a troubled relationship, if there is an event that broke trust, there is a cycle of repair. Guilt can be overwhelming. The partner that broke trust wants nothing more than to put “it” behind them. The other spouse can’t go from forgiveness to everything’s just dandy. It’s up to the spouse who broke the trust to do whatever it takes, for however long it takes, to rebuild that trust.
The penalty of breaking trust with someone is the work it takes to earn it back. Do the work. Think of it as a reassurance marathon. Recognize that the betrayed party determines the finish line. Without underlying trust, working on the other “repairs” will be futile.
Myth #8: Stay together for the sake of the children.
If you can fake it till you make it, keep a peaceful home, provide a united front for your children, you have my admiration. Those willing to give up their own happiness for the benefit of keeping children with both parents are a rare breed. If you cannot maintain a peaceful home, spare your children. Working with battered women, family violence, and children of alcoholics, I saw firsthand the devastating effects volatile homes had on children.
If your children live with strife, they’ll find creative, often destructive, ways to belong elsewhere.
Myth #9: It’s OK to form alliances with your children that your spouse doesn’t know about.
Parent-specific activities, traditions, hobbies, events are fabulous ways to bond with individual children. Alliances that are secret are usually because the other spouse wouldn’t approve. Children learn quickly how to manipulate parents and play them against one another.
Your only alliance should be with your spouse and your children should feel its power.
Myth #10: All we need is love.
Oh, if that were only so! We also need health, money and friendship. Good health brings vitality to the relationship. Money to meet our needs reduces stress. Friendship brings two heads together when handling adversity.
Burnin’ love is nice but when the flames die down, having a buddy is priceless.
Myth #11: Buying your spouse a gift will make him/her happy.
Rarely do you hear the elderly speak of material possessions. Instead they share stories. Spend money on experiences rather than things. Choose a picnic over jewelry, dinner over flowers, an adventure over a television.
Experiences tend to resonate with us longer because they register as a memory that lasts forever rather than a possession that ages.
Myth #12: Opposites attract.
On the surface I certainly married an “opposite.” My parents married 52 years were “opposites.” When personalities complement one another, there’s less conflict. So you may enjoy gardening and your spouse may like baseball, but when it comes to core values concerning raising children, spending money, or respecting religious beliefs, best to be totally in sync.
There is one indisputable fact.
A marriage based on mutual respect is like the view from a mountaintop–the freedom to see beyond where you’re standing with the security of unwavering support beneath your feet.