Seven marriage myths
1. Marriage fixes everything
The idea that everything in your life will get better when you’re married is far fetched when you think about it. Imagine two people who are miserable with bad jobs, bad health and bad attitudes. If these two people were to somehow meet, fall in love and marry, how would their union create a better set of circumstances for either of them? That’s an extreme case, but as a general rule, the attitude you bring to a marriage is the one that soon asserts itself.
The idea that ‘marriage fixes everything’ does the most damage in context to bad habits. If you’ve ever heard an engaged person say, “Yes, it annoys me when he drinks too much, but after we’re married he’s going to work on that,” then you’ve heard the kind of hopeful thinking that can doom a marriage. In fact, a good rule of thumb is that any habit or tendency that your partner has before your wedding day will not suddenly change after you’re married.
2. Married people have less sex
In the United States, a Chicago university study established that married couples have more sex than their single counterparts. Married couples enjoy between 25 and 300 per cent more sexual activity than non-married people, depending on age. 43 per cent of married men reported having sex at least twice a week, while only 1 per cent of non co-habituating single men had sex that often.
However, there are times in a marriage when sex can suffer. For example, babies are not known to have a positive impact on their parents’ sex life. But on the whole, marriage can actually be a gateway to more sex.
3. Married people are less lonely
Being single can be lonely, but being married can be just as lonely. Where a lonely single person can meet someone in an instant and experience romance and joy, a married person may feel anchored in their relationship and trapped in their loneliness.
Sometimes single people will think, “If I was with someone, at least I wouldn’t be so lonely.” It’s an understanding thought, but it’s a siren song. As eHarmony founder Dr Neil Clark Warren wrote, “Being in a bad relationship is a million times worse than having no relationship at all.”
4. Marriage makes you happy
Marriage doesn’t make you happy. You make you happy. Marriage can bring you great joy, companionship and satisfaction, but it can also bring you feelings of frustration, annoyance and confusion. Some new couples are shocked when they find one year into marriage that they aren’t automatically happy.
If you’re looking to your spouse to make you happy, you’re putting unrealistic pressure on the relationship. Just because you now have a life partner doesn’t mean that you give up responsibility for your own happiness.
5. Marriage is the finish line
Since a wedding is the beginning of the marriage it might seem unusual that some people view that day as the finish line, but many do. All too often couples stop putting in effort when it counts. Husbands stop calling to see how her day is going. Wives stop giving him a massage while they watch TV. The idea of possession starts to enter in, “I’ve got them now. Why do I have to try anymore?”
With a 50 per cent divorce rate, couples need to understand that being attentive, staying romantic, sharing intimately and remaining connected are vital to building and keeping a happy marriage.
6. “I’ve had my fun, now I’m ready to settle down”
The idea that a 45-year-old man needs less fun than a 25-year-old man is absurd. It could be argued that as responsibilities and expectations mount, we need more fun the older we get!
Simply put, if you see marriage as some sort of tremendous sacrifice, that’s a warning sign that could result in resentment. Healthy couples acknowledge that marriage brings new responsibilities such as sharing yourself in new ways – but believe that union is a gain in the fun and satisfaction department.
7. Marriage is hard
You’ve heard it a million times. “Marriage is a lot of work.” Marriage is lots of work only if you consider talking, having sex and taking weekend trips together where you stroll hand-in-hand as work.
Marriage doesn’t require ‘work’, it requires attention. In fact, one marriage therapy exercise is simple. At the end of the day when both people come home from work, sit for five minutes and simply talk about what happened that day. By sharing you reconnect. It’s a way of saying, “You matter to me”.
Marriages often fall victim to the same behaviors that can wreck our bodies, friendships, and our dreams – we don’t dedicate focused time to our most important priorities. The time that you give to your marriage will pay exponential dividends in joy, sexual satisfaction and companionship.
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