Another post about marriage? Sure, the Internet is teeming with marital advice. But before anyone scoffs, let’s not forget that somewhere between 40 and 50 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The numbers are even higher for second marriages.
If we coached a team or ran a business and experienced failure at this level, we’d likely get fired. New ideas would be introduced. Certain blueprints would be completely ditched. Can we all agree that collectively, we also need some new ideas in the realm of matrimony? And the best time to start is before the wedding.
Communication: A Great Place to Start
The vast majority of problems related to human interactions relate in some way to communication. It might be the wrong kind or not enough or even too much.
When an engaged or married couple work together to create a safe environment in which to speak their minds, two things can happen:
- Problems are prevented
- Problems are exposed and thus more likely to be resolved.
Lack of healthy communication sabotages many marriages. Discussing our wants, needs, fears, and concerns can help us challenge the myths that can send us down the wrong path.
5 Marriage Myths to Address Before You Walk Down the Aisle
1. Conflict is bad and if you’re happy, you won’t argue.
Differences are inevitable. We all see the world through different lenses that are influenced by our personality, temperament, family-or-origin, education, life experiences, and a host of other factors. There is no way any two people will see eye-to-eye on everything.
When partners never disagree or argue, it usually means that one or both partners are suppressing their feelings and opinions in the name of "keeping the peace." This eventually ends in a big eruption of confused emotions and thoughts that come as a shock to the other partner.
Learning how to manage conflict is essential in a happy marriage.
2. Differences don’t matter and neither does non-stop arguing
Conversely, ignoring differences under the guise of “we’re made for each other,” is a recipe for disaster. Yes, you may be very compatible, but you are still individuals with the differences noted above. Instead of insisting that you're exactly the same in every respect, explore your differences and life experiences with curiosity.
A knowledge of how you differ will help you understand your spouse much better than denying that you differ in what might turn out to be some important ways.
Equally so, non-stop arguing is as much a red flag as no arguing. Constant conflict indicates that the couple are lacking effective conflict skills. All of this illustrates why more and more couples are going to counseling before tying the knot.
3. Buying the house and having the kids and following the formula always works
This is how they did it on TV, in books and movies, and during the “good old days.” In real life, however, there is no such template. Following a path out of conformity will virtually guarantee disappointment.
When couples start experiencing growing pains early in the marriage, they frequently think everything will be better when we buy our own house . . . . a child will bring us closer. Although these are joyful events in a couple's lives, they're stressful events nonetheless. If the marriage isn't on firm ground, taking these steps won't bring an instant fix.
Discuss this before taking vows. Continue discussing important decision throughout the life of your relationship.
4. Couples should or must live together before getting married
On the surface, this one sounds mighty logical. Meanwhile, much of the research done on the topic runs counter to this modern-day myth. For example, couples that live together before marriage are more likely to cheat. Like everything else, this is a decision to be made by each couple within the context of their unique partnership. If you choose to live together, do not take for granted that marriage is the only next step you can take.
5. All you need is love
Love can be enduring. Compatibility rarely is. Plenty of divorced couples still love each other but would never choose to live together again. It’s not a romantic ideal, but staying together is more about doing the nuts and bolts work than it is about endless love.
Just because there is strong chemistry between you won't mean a smooth and satisfying marriage. That passion can also take you into negative as well as positive places.
Consult a Myth-Buster!
Another myth of sorts is that couples counseling is only a last resort. When all else fails, why not? Reality: Committing together to weekly therapy sessions before things reach crisis mode is one of the best ways to not become one of the statistics cited at the beginning of this blog.
The ideas of being "soul-mates" and “happily ever after” and “don’t air dirty laundry” are all deeply conditioned within our culture. These can prevent us from seeking help and guidance when we need it. Choosing couples counseling busts these myths. Once the sessions start, all the other myths may come tumbling down, too!