Going into marriage, we often have preconceived ideas of how things should be. Even if we know it’s not always going to be rainbows and sunshine, we can still fall prey to marriage misconceptions that are not based in reality.
The disappointment that results leads to hopelessness about our relationship. All too often, we feel the marriage has failed and think the solution is divorce.
So it’s paramount that–before deciding that divorce is the only logical option–we look at what really works in marriage. Only when we debunk marriage misconceptions can we make clear-headed and informed decisions about such a life-altering process.
I don’t mean to suggest that losing the myths means becoming “more realistic” or that we should somehow “settle.” But research shows that a more nuanced understanding of the organic and mirroring nature of marriage will better serve us in our attempts to create mutually sustaining relationships.
The first thing to do is to identify the common attitudes about marriage that actually hurt us, so that we can let them go once and for all.
Top 4 Misconceptions about Marriage
Expression of all feelings is key. While good communication is important, being able to vent all feelings can be destructive. If you are going to express yourself, make it about you, not your partner. Take responsibility for your feelings without blame.
A great relationship is able to solve all problems. The truth is that successful marriages often have some age-old disagreements that never get resolved. Couples can agree to disagree and find emotional closure on the differences. As long as you are not facing a deal-breaker, your relationship can withstand unsolved problems.
“We’ve grown apart.” This is an illusion. Most people are essentially still the same, just their perceptions of each other change. What we project onto the other from our past comes into play here. Once romance fades and dynamics become entrenched, it’s harder to see that the qualities you once loved about your partner are still there. Find 5 things about your partner that you did and still do appreciate.
“I don’t love her/him anymore.” The truth is that couples go in and out of love. Our beliefs about love and romantic love and “how it’s supposed to be” blocks love from being present. Actions create the feelings of love. As Dr. Michelle Weiner-Davis says: There is no magic in magic. Do the things you did when you were in love. Love is a verb.
These are the relationship myths that most commonly lead to divorce in cases where the relationship could actually be saved. If you think you have succumbed to one of these marriage misconceptions, be honest with yourself and your partner. Shift your attitude and focus on expanding hope.
Being able to get to the other side of a relationship crisis is a blessing. You deserve the chance to reap the rewards for your efforts!