There are many “myths” about marriage that people hear often enough that they begin to believe them. Some of these have been repeated and passed on through the years with such frequency that many people buy in to them and are shattered when they discover reality.
In our marriage mentoring and research, we have heard these myths from real people who truly believed in them, and were devastated to learn the truth.
Here are a few marriage myths that may sound familiar, and some you may believe to be true…for now.
Myth #1 “When we’re married, we’ll live happily-ever-after.”
Truth: That only happens in fairytales. This implies that marriage is ‘easy’ and anyone and everyone will achieve marital success. That is foolish thinking. Marriage is far from easy. In fact, it is one of the most difficult things you will do in your life.
Myth #2 “We fell in love the moment we met.”
Truth: We don’t ‘fall in love’ we choose to love. Love is a choice—a conscious decision we make on a daily basis. When we meet someone, there is definitely an attraction and chemistry, but love at first sight is also found only in storybooks. Love grows and develops over time; it doesn’t spring forth in an instant.
Myth #3 “It will be best if we keep our finances separate.”
Truth: “His and Her” money arrangements rarely, if ever, work. While it may be smart budgeting to pay certain bills out of one paycheck and some bills from the other paycheck, splitting up the bills and maintaining separate bank accounts is a recipe for disaster.
When you entered your marriage covenant, you became one, in all things. That oneness includes finances. Trying to maintain separate finances breeds distrust, confusion, suspicion, greed, and many additional emotions.
Myth #4 “We will have sex as often as I want it!” – So thinks the husband.
Truth: “Life” gets in the way. Anyone who has been married longer than a few days beyond the honeymoon knows this just isn’t true.
Sex is a thermometer of your relationship, it is not the thermostat. Frequent sex will not ensure a close relationship, but a close relationship will most often produce a high level of intimacy and passion.
Myth #5 “Money won’t be a problem in our marriage.”
Truth: The perceived lack of money is a major obstacle in many marriages. “Total Money Makeover” author Dave Ramsey says one of the top 4 causes of divorce is couples failing to agree on finances before getting married.
With few exceptions, money is a problem in marriage. The husband and wife often come from different social and economic backgrounds and therefore they have different fiscal priorities.
Myth #6 “Our children will be perfect little angels.”
Truth: We are all born with a sin nature and a natural tendency for evil. We are inherently greedy, selfish, self-centered, egotistical, and proud. Not exactly a resume of an angel!
Don’t think for a moment that your children won’t impact your relationship with your spouse. While children are an incredible blessing, they are often the cause of disagreements and stress in marriage.
Myth #7 “We won’t fight; we may just have minor disagreements from time to time.”
Truth: All couples have disagreements and all couples fight. What’s important is how you fight. Avoid name-calling, personal attacks, and bringing up past issues. Maintain respect for one another and fight fairly.
Additionally, resolve the issue completely and forgive one another to clear the air.
Myth #8 “My spouse should know what I need.”
Truth: You can live with your spouse for years and not know everything there is to know about him or her, including what they need most. Unless you communicate your needs and desires, they may never be met.
Unmet expectations typically poison your relationship and can lead to bitterness and resentment. The solution is to clearly communicate your expectations to one another.
Myth #9 “I can change my spouse.”
Truth: Your spouse will only change if he or she believes change is necessary and desires to change. Rather than try to change your spouse, do a self-inspection and make improvements in your own life. Through your example, you may be able to influence your spouse to recognize their own faults and inspire the desire for change. Focus on fixing your own faults, not theirs.
Myth #10 “The longer we’re married, the easier it will get.”
Truth: Your marriage will only get better if you invest wisely in it. Choosing to put your spouse’s needs before your own and making him or her feel as if they are the most important person in the world to you is foundational to a successful marriage.
It should get easier the longer you are married, but only if you put in the work and make the right choices.
Myth #11 “Infidelity only affects struggling marriages.”
Truth: Some research reveals that as perhaps up to 57% of men and 52% of women cheat on their spouse. Those are alarming numbers, and should cause every married person to initiate steps to protect his or her marriage.
In the electronic environment we live in, we are bombarded hundreds of times a day with sexually suggestive ads, references, and innuendos.
Cars, beverages, electronics, and almost everything advertised on television and in magazines imply a sexual connection or are sexually suggestive.
We need to guard our hearts and avoid compromising situations. Openly discuss temptations with your spouse and hold one another accountable.
Myth #12 “We’re the exception to the rules.”
Truth: While you may have an exceptional love for one another and a remarkable commitment, you are still human and subject to the many difficulties married life brings. Cultivating an amazing marriage is hard work and takes effort on the part of both partners to put the needs of their spouse before their own on a consistent basis.
This last myth may be the most devastating to a relationship. People often think they are the exception to the rule and that bad things simply can’t happen to them.
You may think…
“Infidelity only happens to the other couple.”
“Cancer just couldn’t possibly touch my family or someone I love.”
“My job is secure – I don’t really need to budget my money.”
“I’ll stop drinking when it becomes a problem.”
“She’s (he’s) just a facebook friend from high school – there’s no harm in that.”
When we let down our guard and think that we are ‘in control’ of the situation, we are at our weakest point and temptation looks more like a fuzzy little lamb than a wolf waiting to devour us.
Marriages don’t crumble in a day; it’s a slow erosion of our principles and ever-increasing compromises.
Understand your weaknesses, honestly communicate your feelings with your spouse, seek out an accountability partner, and guard your heart!
About the authors
Jason and Debby Coleman are marriage mentors and the authors of “Discovering Your Amazing Marriage” (Seraphina Press).
They have survived infidelity during the first year of their marriage and have been married now for over 22 years. They have four children and reside in Federal Way, WA.
Please visit www.youramazingmarriage.com for more information.
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