Myths about marriage are all around us. Some come from the media and others from our own families. One of the most persistent myths that continues is that when you are with “the one” then the relationship should be easy. Other misconceptions are developed in our family, for instance if you grew up in a family that fights through their problems then you might expect to fight with your spouse. Or the opposite could happen if you did not ever see your parents fight then you might believe that your marriage is broken if you have disagreements. The main problem is that myths are often believed as truth. So, let’s examine the myths and discover the truths.
1. Your true love will automatically know what to do and say to make you happy.
This one is number one because it is where marriages often break down. We all have expectations of our role and our spouse’s role. We expect them to live up to them without us even having to share the information with them. But our loved ones are not mind readers. They have their own expectations. Think about a favourite holiday: How many traditions are different in each of your families? It is the same for how we give and receive love. Our families taught us what love looks like and we think that is how its supposed to be but really your partner is thinking the same things because their family taught them what love is too. Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages talks about how we each experience love differently. To keep our marriages healthy, we need to learn the other person’s love language to speak love into them.
2. There is a universal path to marriage
We all know the nursery rhyme, first comes love then comes marriage then comes baby in the baby carriage. People often complain that when they are single people ask when they are getting married, then when they become married they are asked when they are having kids etc. Living up to other people’s expectations will cause you to lose connection with your spouse. There is not a linear line to marriage. Yours is unique to you and your spouse because you are unique. Allow yourself to live your life the way that works for you which will create more contentment and feel like you are on the same page.
3. Marriage is time limited
This is a recent myth that has evolved over the last 20 years. Media has pushed that a good length for a marriage is about 7 years often because the celebrities are not able to sustain their own marriage. The truth is that according to Statistic’s Canada, over 41% of marriages are longer than 25 years. It is possible to have a long happy marriage, you just might need some help to break the myths that are creating the expectations that are causing your marriage stress.
Myths were created to justify the hurt and pain that happens, but it does not make it true. You can challenge the myths that you believe about marriage to help make you marriage stronger. Sometimes you need the help of a professional to be able to see through the lies to the truth for you and your spouse. Here at HELPPS we have marriage therapists who are here to help. We are also offering a relationship educational group this October to help you reignite your love. For more information about our services please visit our website.
Trish Pauls, MA RP Registered Psychotherapist