There’s so much conflicting advice about marriage out there nowadays that can hinder any newly engaged or married couple. It can often be difficult figuring out how to settle arguments and create compromises in a partnership. Dr. Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley, authors of BEFORE YOU PLAN YOUR WEDDING…PLAN YOUR MARRIAGE, debunk various myths about marriage, while offering advice on how to handle conflict.
So many people marry for all the wrong reasons. They’re deceived by a few gremlins called marriage myths that leave them disappointed, disillusioned, and, all too often, divorced. Consider just a few of the more popular marital myths.
Myth # 1: If you fight or argue, then you must have a bad relationship.
REALITY: Conflict happens in every marriage. Fighting fair and for the relationship, and not just to win, can actually increase the health of a marriage.
Myth # 2: My mate always knows how to meet my needs and will meet all my needs without my having to verbalize them.
REALITY: Regardless of a spouse’s intelligence or personal strengths, no individual has the ability to read a partner’s mind. Needs for security, affection, emotional support, encouragement, or physical assistance often must be verbalized in clear language, sometimes repeatedly. If the need is something the spouse can realistically provide, she must first know the need exists.
I’ve heard people say, “Why should I have to tell my mate what I expect? She should know.” This is belief in mind reading, and it destroys helpful communication patterns. Some take this misperception a step further and feel that something is wrong with the relationship if she needs to ask. Or worse, “if she asks and I respond, then it won’t be meaningful.” The belief that spouses should be able to read each other’s minds often is based on the assumption that mind reading reflects the degree of love and intimacy in the relationship. Yet spouses’ attempts at mind reading often result in misperceptions, misunderstandings, and escalation of conflict.
Myth #3: My mate will make me whole.
REALITY: Spouses complement each other; they do not complete each other.
Myth #4: This person will bring me happiness.
REALITY: We can’t expect our spouse to be our one source of happiness. Our personal happiness must come from within ourselves. Marriage can complement our own individual happiness, but it can’t be the primary source. Only God can be our source for joy.
Myth #5: Love is forever, without work; once decided, always committed.
REALITY: A good marriage doesn’t just happen. It takes nurturing and work.
Myth #6: The honeymoon will last forever and everything will be rosy after the wedding vows.
REALITY: If you’ve already read this far [in our book], you know our story—so how could you still believe this one?
Myth #7: We’ll have sex every night.
REALITY: Virtually all relationships experience peaks and valleys. Sometimes, the realities of married life will cloud over romantic feelings. Scott Peck, in his book The Road Less Traveled, states, “Every couple falls in love; every couple falls out of love.” Just because the feelings of love are not always present, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of love. Love may often involve feelings, but it also requires a continual choice.
Debunk some more myths about marriage by checking out BEFORE YOU PLAN YOUR WEDDING…PLAN YOUR MARRIAGE by Dr. Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley.
Also from Tips on Life & Love: Why Asking Questions Is Key to Marriage Success
Excerpted from Before You Plan Your Wedding…Plan Your Marriage by Dr. Greg Smalley and Erin Smalley with Steve Halliday. Copyright © 2008 by Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.