This is where the myths and lies end.
Marriage is hard. Don't go to bed angry. Your wife is always right.
You've heard it ALL. But how much of this is myth, and how much of it actually holds up in a real marriage?
Here are five common pieces of marriage advice that are actually lies:
1. Marriage is hard.
This is the last thing newlyweds want to hear while they are experiencing marital bliss.
While it is true that marriage requires effort and relearning of old patterns that you have brought with you from single life, it shouldn't feel like a drag. Instead of viewing your spouse as a nuisance, he/she is your best friend.
While you may experience some ups and downs along the way, being married should provide you with tremendous satisfaction and a sense of wholeness. Like any living organism, a marriage needs nurturing to grow and flourish. Learn how to cultivate your relationship and bring out its full potential.
2. A good marriage comes naturally.
Unless you make a conscious effort, you will very likely repeat what you saw in your own home. As your parent’s marriage was your context for what a relationship should be, you will unconsciously repeat many of their mistakes.
Even those who swear they're not like their parents may go to the opposite extreme, which is not be beneficial either. If you grew up in a home that did not display affection and you choose to overcompensate in your marriage, your spouse may feel smothered.
Be aware of your own patterns and what you may have learned in your home. Be aware of how you reacted when you were in your relationship with your parents and do your best to notice when you get triggered by your spouse. Otherwise, history will repeat itself whether you like it or not.
3. Never go to bed angry.
Staying up extra hours to resolve conflict when you are both exhausted often leads to further escalation. Sometimes all you need is a good night’s sleep.
Once you wake up refreshed in the morning, you’ll often have a clearer perspective on the topic of contention and be able to deal with it in a more reasonable way.
While it is unpleasant and it's hard to sleep when you are angry, it is a valuable tool to learn how to temporarily put your feelings aside so that you can address them in a safe and productive setting. Otherwise, dealing with them on impulse leads to less desirable results.
4. Always say, "Yes" to your wife.
While this may work in theory, it usually leads to a build-up of resentment.
Marriage is about two different people becoming one. It is a merger, not a takeover. This means that both parties feel safe expressing themselves and take into account each other’s point of view.
A marriage in which one person always wins can often crush the other spouse and prevents a healthy relationship. While acquiescing may temporarily create less conflict, in the long run it will leave both spouses unfulfilled and unhappy. Yes, it is much easier to live with an extension of yourself, but isn’t it boring?
5. It's about quality, not quantity.
There are some who pride themselves on living separate lives claiming that they make up for it with quality time on the weekends or big vacations.
Don’t think that working long hours or throwing yourself into extracurricular activities and rarely seeing your spouse will endear you to him/her more. In fact, it often leads couples to live separate lives where they learn to coexist as roommates.
I recently attended a 53rd wedding anniversary party for my wife’s aunt and uncle. When asked the secret to their relationship success, the aunt replied that they always did everything together. They were truly best friends and enjoyed each other’s company.
Being attached at the hip isn't necessary, and quantity isn't a substitute for quality. Regular meaningful connection is crucial to nurturing your marriage.
This article was originally published at Themarriagerestorationproject.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.