Much “commonsense” advice on marriage doesn’t actually make sense when you look at it closely. Here are 8 common beliefs about marriage that are counterproductive to a happy relationship, if not down-right harmful! If you have been experiencing marriage difficulties, check to see if any of these bad pieces of advice on marriage may be at the root of the problems.
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Bad advice on marriage #1: My spouse has to go to counseling with me or it won’t work.
Actually, one spouse can carry a lot of sway in a relationship and, on her own, turn around a failing marriage. Power of Two has been shown in studies to be just as effective as counseling when both spouses go. At some point you’ll need to get your spouse on board and working on his own contribution to the marriage. At the same time, he can be gently led into this by following your example of increasing positivity, practicing better communication skills, and initiating intimacy.
Bad advice on marriage #2: My friends can help me solve my marriage problems
It certainly can be helpful to know that a friend has your back through marriage problems. At the same time, it’s not a good idea to use your friends as marriage counselors. Complaining and “spouse-bashing” to your friends only reinforces your negative opinions of your marriage and often discourages you from seeing things from your spouse’s point of view. Save the personal details of your marriage for your couples therapist. How to choose the best online marriage counseling option.
Bad advice on marriage #3: If the marriage doesn’t work out, I didn’t marry the right person
Our modern über-romantic views on love and marriage can be traced back to medieval times. Tales of courtly love, full of self-sacrifice and unquestioning faithfulness, have morphed into our expectations for true love in marriage. Pop culture perpetuates this myth by glossing over the realities of life long partnerships. This does everybody a disservice. Even if you have met someone who is the best possible fit for you, you will have difficulties. And you can make it work! Plus if you don’t get the skills to communicate, increase positivity and problem solve now, you will only face the same problems with a new partner down the road, even if they are “the one”.
Bad advice on marriage #4: Marriage counseling will save my marriage
Marriage counseling is a great option for every couple, no matter what size and kind of issues you have. At the same time, counseling is not a cure-all. Many counseling approaches focus on reflection and analysis. It’s great if you discover the root psychology of your problems – it doesn’t do anything unless you turn that understanding into tangible changes in the future! Marriage counseling will not save your marriage; only the work you put into it can. Look for counseling programs that, like Power of Two, focus on giving you the skills to craft a better marriage for life. Learn more about Power of Two.
Bad advice on marriage #5: If my spouse cheats on me, the marriage is over
Infidelity and similar trust betrayals are crushing for a marriage. At the same time, many couples fight for reconciliation and come out even stronger. Overcoming a trust betrayal requires two things: the full commitment of the erring spouse to change and ensure the mistake never happens again, and the full support of the other spouse.
Bad advice on marriage #6: It’s OK and normal for couples to fight
Every couple has disagreements – not every couples fights. Yelling, insults, and anger are not “natural” parts of marriage in any amount. In fact, even the smallest bit of negativity – sarcasm, an eye roll, a “you” statement – can considerably sour the atmosphere in your relationship. Marriages with emotional tumult and negativity can survive, but are not very pleasant or enjoyable. Wouldn’t you rather be in a marriage full of positivity and stability? That is what skills-based marriage education can achieve.
Bad advice on marriage #7: It’s noble to sacrifice what I want/need to please my spouse/children
Women, particularly, are conditioned to put the needs of others before their own. Not only does this diminish your personal power and self-esteem, it is actually is harmful to your marriage. Self-sacrifice and compromise inevitably develop into feelings of resentment and depression. Read more about “yielding” patterns of conflict resolution in Dr. Heitler’s article on marriage problems. All relationships are better off when both spouses have all of their needs and desires met. That is the true “power of two”!
Bad advice on marriage #8: We should be madly in love forever
When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.
~ George Bernard Shaw
The first, wild, passionate stage of love is called infatuation and, according to some researchers, it lasts a maximum of 2 years. It can be tempting to take its disappearance as a sign that you didn’t marry “the one” and that your marriage must be over. In fact, love changes over time. Sometimes it is fiery and vibrant, and other times a cooler glow of companionship. Simple habits and activities, though, can re-ignite the spark when you need it. Sex and intimacy can be improved instead of being reasons for divorce! Get help for a sexless marriage.
Power of Two is an effective, easy and fun new approach to marriage counseling. If you’ve found that any of these marriage mistakes are hurting your marriage, sign up for a FREE 3-Day trial of Power of Two. Your personal, certified marriage coach will customize the program to you and help you work towards your personal marriage goals.