These 6 astounding myths about marriage may be destroying your happiness with your partner…
When relationships are getting damaged or beginning to fail, couples are usually believing some or all of these six myths. See if you have any of these beliefs:
Myth #1. I don’t have to do any special kind of work on the relationship to make it good…it will just happen.
While some relationships seem to just work effortlessly at first, after some time additional skills may be needed to make the relationship work. For example, at first there may be enough natural excitement to keep the relationship feeling rewarding. But if someone in the couple stops doing the things that keep the relationship fresh, it will get stale. If you stop going out on dates, things will probably get boring and someone will end up feeling unloved.
Hurts and resentments build over time. If you don’t do things to talk through and repair these small damages to the relationship, they end up turning into big issues that drive a wedge between the couple.
Myth #2. Once it’s damaged it’s over…there’s no way to repair the damage.
Some people believe that there is nothing they can do to fix hurts and resentments that they have triggered in their partner. Also, sometimes a person doesn’t want to fix the damage. They may feel they were right or justified in saying hurtful things. More often, a person just doesn’t know what to do, doesn’t believe it will be helpful, or has a belief that repair just isn’t possible. In that last case, they may believe it’s better to just move on, sweep it under the carpet or hope it disappears.
Repair is possible…and highly recommended. Usually repair involves:
a) Listening to your partner’s upset without interrupting, defending or explaining why what you did was okay.
b) Let him/her know that you regret doing something hurtful.
c) Apologize. Let him/her know you don’t want to do hurtful things again.
If you’re not sure how to give a good apology, take a look at this article on my website.
Myth #3. My partner won’t ever change – why even try to go down that road.
I come across this belief a lot. It’s understandable, but just not true. People really do change, I see it frequently. The thing that gets in the way of change is:
a) Belief it’s not possible.
b) Fear you’ll lose your real identity – that you won’t be yourself if you change.
c) Fear you are just becoming a doormat for your partner…that you lose authority and respect if you change for another.
d) Not knowing what change is the right one, or how to do it.
Change is actually more about growth: becoming a better person, being more effective in the world and in relationships.
If appropriate change is not happening, I recommend you talk to a therapist about that. A couples therapist would be a likely place to start. Your couples therapist will help you identify the kind of change that will help you become a more effective person in the world and in your relationship. I believe everybody can grow and change is positive ways. The end result of that is more happiness for yourself and your partner.
Myth #4. I’ll never get the love I desire from my current partner.
Many people have this belief about their partner. The reality is that many couples who come into couples therapy do improve their relationship. People do change, relationships do get better. Relationships that were distant and damaged do become close, loving and definitely repaired.
Now, there is no guarantee of that. If you are hesitant to do things differently, then nothing will change.
Myth #5. If your partner doesn’t see things your way, it’s because he/she is defective.
Yes, people really do see things differently than you and it doesn’t mean one of you is wrong. I see this one frequently in my office when working with couples: both partners are arguing about what happened during a certain event that created tension between them. They both remember the same event differently. The thing is…it doesn’t matter that much…you may not ever agree on the details. The more important matter is how to work it out. This means smoothing things over between you two. Maybe, this means to try an apology, maybe with a plan on how to do it better next time. And maybe this means acknowledging how the other person is feeling.
Myth #6. Men and Women live in the same reality.
Okay, some of this may be obvious…but men and women are different. Not just physically different, but in how they experience reality. These differences create some of the biggest problems in marriages.
Usually, women seem to live in a more emotional reality. When women are sharing their feelings, they need a response that acknowledges what they are feeling. If the man is trying to argue a point logically, he is not responding to what a woman is actually saying. He is taking an emotional discussion and trying to turn it into a logical one. You probably know the results: she gets angrier, and both of you end up feeling frustrated and distant.
The solution is to learn how to read the nature of the conversation: is it one that is logical, or one that requires an emotional response. The emotional response is one that involves: listening and understanding another’s point of view without arguing about how she is feeling.
If you want to find more strategies to improve your relationship, you may find the articles on my website useful.
If you try working on any of the strategies mentioned in this blog, I would be like to hear how it went. You can comment below, here on this page, or send me an email. If you have suggestions for future blog topics, I’d love to hear about it.