With the divorce rate around 45% it's no surprise that many couples want to do everything they can to strengthen their marriage. The problem is that many couples believe certain myths about their marriages and spend time trying to correct the wrong things. Our time is very valuable, imagine wasting it trying to fix things that don't need fixing?
Below are 5 of the most popular myths concerning marriage and why they really don't "hold water:"
- Your marriage has about a 45% chance of ending in divorce. While this is statistically correct, it doesn't mean that it applies to your marriage. You can strengthen your marriage by doing simple things together that will create a bond that lasts a lifetime. In fact, couples that take a walk together each evening and have a "date night" every week are much less likely to get divorced than the average couple.
- Your spouse is your best friend. Actually your spouse isn't supposed to be your best friend - that would be boring. What makes a marriage sizzle is having a partner that has enough in common with you while also possessing other qualities, both frustrating and fascinating. A best friend is someone who is usually similar to you. They aren't different enough from you to inspire the passion that you'll want in a marriage. Therefore, don't be surprised if you have more in common with others than with your spouse. This can be a good thing!
- Don't go to bed angry. Sometimes it's best to resolve a conflict immediately. Yet there are other times when this isn't possible. Some conflicts take longer to resolve than others and trying to "fix the problem" before you go to bed can often lead to the problem simply being ignored. Instead, promise to finish the discussion the next day and make time for the difficult conversation. It isn't easy to be with your spouse when they're angry, which is why couples often try to minimize conflict. Great couples get angry with each other, but they continue to discuss a problem until there is a solution, even if it takes several days.
- Don't fight in front of the kids. To be honest, this is horrible advice. Children who never see their parents "fight" don't learn how to handle conflict. They tend to avoid disagreements in their own (future) relationships and assume that their parents never disagreed. It's not bad for parents to disagree in front of their children, so long as they do so in a polite and safe manner. This means no threats, name calling, or violence. Handle yourselves like civilized adults and teach your children how to handle disagreements successfully. Children will learn that you can love someone while also disagreeing with them. This understanding actually makes them feel more secure.
- Having a baby brings you closer. Whoever thought this up has never had children. I'm not saying children aren't wonderful. I have 4 myself and they are also a lot of work. The first few months after a new baby arrives are exhausting. It is a mixture of wonder and stress as parents cope with lack of sleep and the new mom often goes through a period of recovery after giving birth. A baby doesn't cause a couple to grow closer. Instead, the bundle of joy enhances the parents' current relationship. A bitter couple will become even more bitter. Those healthy marriages in which each partner listens and helps the other will find that the addition of a new baby will make them feel more love for each other.
Although these myths are well intended, they often cause harm to a couple when they try to guide themselves by one of them and it doesn't work out. What is most important in a marriage is simply each partner's willingness to care for their spouse. They may not do it perfectly, but when each person feels that the other one genuinely cares, the marriage will thrive even when they don't follow a checklist of things to do.