If You Believe These 5 Marriage Myths, You're In For Trouble

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marriage myths

Smart couples avoid these like the plague!

In our society, we have rules, expectations and guidelines when it comes to love relationships. Things like shared sexual orientation and sexual faithfulness, for example, are a few unwritten rules of the dating world. 

Such expectations and assumptions also exist in the world of marriage. Television and media spoon feeds us what we expect as "typical and normal," so we often turn a blind eye to things that are actually going on in the relationship.

As a couples, marriage and family therapist, I have seen many couples fall apart, because one or both parties were assuming certain things, either about the other person or about the relationship. We all have a tendency to fall into patterns and routines in relationships, so when something shifts ... it’s like the rug has been pulled out from under us.

Instead of talking about things and embracing change, we get stuck in old notions and beliefs which, at the core, are a threat to the foundation of our relationship status quo.

We don’t feel supported in our need and desire for change, we don’t feel accepted and acknowledged for our differences, and we yet we also become fearful and threatened when we see changes in our partner.

Over time in marriage, we stop feeling curious about our partner’s process and begin to hide things from each other, secrets which can sometimes become too big for the relationship to hold at bay.

Here are 5 assumptions and expectations many couples enter into marriage with that can actually ruin the success of the relationship:

1. Your partner will remain the same person forever.

We assume our partner will remain the same person they were the day we married them. That very special day when people get married, and are on the same page, hopefully about so many things. Together, they look forward to the future.

Many couples falsely expect their partner to continue to hold on to the same beliefs, desires, goals, and interests as the day they married. So, it scares them when they start noticing changes in our partner.

By recognizing that our partner will change, daily, monthly, and yearly, and that their goals and interests may change, we learn to appreciate and support that growth, and we set up our relationships for success.

2. Your partner will easily shift to fit how you change. 

In very much the same way we expect our partners to stay the same, we also expect our partners to change with us. We expect them to grow towards us, and become more like us as we combine and unite our lives.

So when our partners fail to change into the person we expect them to become, we feel disappointed and these feelings of disillusion paves the way for resentment to build in the relationship.

3. Your partner will only feel attracted to you.

We expect and assume that our partner will never feel physically or emotionally attracted or drawn to anyone else ever, that they'll only be attracted to us. We expect that they should only fantasize about us. We expect the fairy tale ending of "happily ever after" to come true.  

We fail to recognize that life goes on, that monogamy is a choice we both make together, but that despite our choices our humanity still exists. Being monogamous and married doesn’t mean we or our partner won’t be attracted to others. It just means we won’t act on our attractions (hopefully). 

Having open and honest conversations about attractions can lead to stronger connections, deeper intimacy as it focuses on honesty, and thus builds and supports trust.

4. Telling your partner the truth hurts his or her feelings.

We assume that if we're honest with our partner, they might get jealous, angry, hurt or sad. This robs them of the opportunity for honest discussion, because we expect the worst. Having difficult conversations in the relationship is the absolute only way to foster successful growth and change.

Also, it’s these difficult conversations that bring us closer together.

5. The sex will magically get better.

When the relationship gets comfortable, the sex may take a nose-dive. This may also happen for other reasons, such as stress, anger, or resentment in the relationship. Many couples falsely assume that the sex will get better, eventually, on its own. And, yes, sometimes it does, especially if it’s work or stress related, but sometimes it doesn’t.

Having open, heart-to-hearts about desires, needs and what is going on with each other is an excellent way to manage the ebbs and flow of sexuality.

Successful relationships are built on admiration and respect, regardless of how long you’ve been together.

Recognizing differences, ebbs and flows in our unique personalities, and paths in life are the secret to a successful relationship, but it’s often easier said than done. Being flexible, open and embracing change are at the heart of this success, but the most important is communication.

Couples who regularly show a curiosity in each other, who ask questions, respect their partner’s needs for growth and change especially when they don’t align, and choose, every day, to see their partner as a friend who will evolve and who’s journey may take them on a path you may not expect, are more likely to experience the adventure together, if they can.