All too often couples begin married life with false assumptions and myths about marriage. These create unrealistic expectations and cause some to give up on their relationship before it even has a chance to grow.
Here are seven common myths about marriage to watch out for.
1. A good marriage doesn’t need work. Many of us believe that if two people love each other, everything will just naturally flow from there. But the truth is that every marriage requires a conscious, daily investment. Like most things in life, if a marriage is left alone, it will tend towards entropy and gradually unravel. Like anything meaningful, persistence is key.
2. My spouse should make me happy. Although we can bring much joy and love into each other’s lives, the responsibility for our own happiness and growth in life still remains our own. A marriage thrives when both spouses are happy enough with themselves to be able to give their attention and affection to each other.
3. Love conquers all. It may not seem important in the beginning stages of a relationship, but having different values than your spouse can become a huge obstacle later on, especially if you are planning on having children together and disagree on how you want to raise them. Don’t marry someone who has radically different beliefs than you. Love does not conquer all. It dissipates very quickly when you have to face the reality of compromising on what is most important to you.
4. People change. We may think our spouse will give up that habit we dismissed when we were dating. Or that she will be more caring. He will be more attentive. She’ll become more religious. He’ll stop watching so many sport games. But the truth is that most people don’t change after the wedding. It can take a lifetime of hard work to change a personality trait. Marriage may help us grow, but we shouldn't expect our spouses to change for us.
5. Children will bring us closer. Yes, children are gifts that we treasure more than anything else in our lives. But they will not “fix” or help a marriage. In a healthy marriage, children bring shared moments of joy and meaning, but they can also put a significant amount of stress onto a relationship. Couples with children need to work even harder to make sure that they give their relationship the time and nurturing that it needs.
6. In a happy marriage there is no arguing. The truth is that even the happiest of couples argue. It is the most distant couples who are so apathetic towards each other that don’t bother to argue when they disagree. In a healthy marriage, couples argue and then find a way to resolve or move on from their argument without bitterness or contempt.
7. Marriage isn’t forever. Some people go into marriage thinking, we’ll stay married if… If our spouse is always attentive and giving, if our spouse makes enough money, if our spouse is never moody, gets the promotion, never yells… Marriage is built on the commitment to remain loyal through the good times and the bad, the wealth and the poverty, the sickness and the health, the family reunions and the feuds.