1. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

It’s a great line for a movie but not true in real life. Whoever enters a relationship believing that true love means you never need to apologize is heading for disaster. A good relationship requires that we hear each other, feel empathy and recognize our mistakes. No one is perfect. When you blow it, be big enough to admit it. Asking for forgiveness paves the road to repairing the relationship and brings us to healing.

2. The best marriages depend on being alike.

You are not a carbon copy of anyone else and you should not think that you must be similar to make the relationship work. You can each have different likes and passions, enjoy different activities. Relationships become richer when we learn from those we live with. The key is to appreciate our differences instead of resenting or mocking.

Natures, too, can be totally opposite. There is the shyer partner who finds social engagements torturous paired with the boisterous one who doesn’t want to leave the party. Can you both come to a place of valuing the other’s joy and learning how to make peace with your disparity? Can you look at your spouse and cherish that which sets you apart? Will you work together to find balance in your lives?

3. Great marriages require constant passion.

Of course we want to live with a feeling that we are ‘in love’, passionate and infatuated with our partner. But life is not a romance novel. Only in Hollywood films do couples spend their lives with hearts on fire. Falling in love is just the beginning – not the end. What comes next are the different stages of love. You may think that you’ve reached a platitude. You may not always feel as if you head over heels in love. Don’t make the mistake of discarding the relationship seeking new excitement. With commitment you will grow into a mature love that is deeper and more secure. You will learn about loyalty. Your spouse will become your best friend to whom you can bare your soul. You will share pain, feel each other’s agony and comfort one another in the darkness of the night. Your joys will become sweeter.

4. Love means we never disagree.

Even the strongest couples disagree at times. This is not a sign of weakness or that there is a serious problem in the relationship. Shift your focus from being distressed that you argued to thinking about how you differed. Create standards to live by like:

  • maintain a respectful tone
  • don’t speak in or react with rage and anger
  • no put downs and humiliating your partner
  • don’t speak in the heat of the moment

Learning to listen to each other and communicate with consideration brings a couple closer together. We realize that we can trust each other despite our differences.

5. We can change our spouse.

Many people enter relationships believing that they will change something in their partner and then life together will be perfect. Some examples are losing weight, greater ambition, overcoming stinginess, learning to be prompt or becoming better at gift giving. This is an immature attitude that will only bring resentment to both sides. One for not seeing change and the other for being pressured to change.

We can only choose to change ourselves. Love requires responsibility for who we are and the choices we make. We cannot enter a relationship assuming that our happiness depends on altering a trait, physical or emotional, in our spouse.

Alternatively, we can work on modifying our reaction to what frustrates us. It would be helpful to concentrate instead on the qualities that brought us together instead of what is driving us apart. Seeing the good helps offset the irritations. We can zero in on what attracted us; allowing us to see our partner’s soul once again. (Of course there is a difference between serious issues like abuse and addictions versus quirks and idiosyncrasies).

A life filled with love is a life filled with blessing. Overcoming these myths will help connect us, strengthen our bonds and build a more successful partnership for life.