6 Modern Marriage Myths Debunked
Marriage is tricky, but this fresh insight is just the thing to keep that spark strong.
By Lorraine Allen
Marriage often feels easy at first, when everything is new and exciting. But when responsibility piles up (and up, and up!) and/or kids are thrown into the mix with many needs, keeping the spark alive in your marriage can feel like a chore of its own. But here to give you some fresh insight on how to stay happily married, relationship experts debunk six common myths and shed new light on this important partnership:
Myth #1: Don’t argue with your spouse.
Truth: “Arguing is a sign that the marriage is alive and connecting, whereas silence and ignoring a partner leads to distancing,” says Jeanette Raymond, PhD, a psychologist, psychotherapist, and author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don't!
According to Raymond, arguing benefits a marriage by showing that you actually care and are invested in the relationship, indicating that both individuals are attempting to maintain their individual minds (a vital part of maintaining the balance between being your own person and being part of a couple), and bringing out the “truth” about what each person is really thinking and feeling, which keeps the relationship fresh.
“Of course, it all depends on how you argue,” says Raymond. “It's not OK to be violent or condemnatory. But it's healthy to disagree, dislike, be disappointed in and angry.” And it’s encouraged that you voice your feelings to your spouse, so you can start to work through issues together.
Myth #2: Spouses don’t need to court each other.
Truth: In fact, few things lead to boredom faster in a marriage! “Remembering to court each other regularly during the course of the marriage will keep the excitement alive,” encourages Tina B. Tessina, PhD, author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage. Remember all the fun ways you first drew each other into your lives, and be sure to keep up that effort. You’ll both be glad you did, and your marriage will be much stronger for it.
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Myth #3: It’s normal to be bored with your spouse.
Truth: Boredom is a sign that spouses are “taking each other and your relationship for granted,” cautions Tessina. Pay attention to feelings of boredom in a marriage, and discuss them with your spouse, she advises.
“Perhaps your activities have become too routine,” Tessina explains. “Counter the boredom by taking necessary risks. For example, have that scary discussion about intimacy, aging, your in-laws, or dare to suggest a change in your routine. It doesn't matter what you do as long as it's different and can be shared.” Tessina also encourages these three simple, but key actions to help avoid boredom in your marriage: Celebrate, play, and laugh together, as much as possible.
Myth #4: It’s weird to have individual social interests or take separate vacations.
Truth: These activities honor the individual in a marriage, Raymond says. Having your own social scene and taking trips without your spouse actually promotes your sense of self-worth, she explains. Plus, partners are usually drawn to the “otherness” or differences in their spouse. So, giving each other the space to be yourselves and keep that unique appeal you each once had actually helps strengthen a marriage, not hurt it, Raymond notes.
Myth #5: You don’t need to be polite and considerate all the time with your spouse.
Truth: “Couples may lapse into disrespectful or uncaring behavior with each other, not remembering to be polite and kind,” says Tessina. But a marriage deserves the same level of consideration as any other relationship, if not more. Paying attention to how you speak to each other, including how polite and considerate your tone and manner is with your spouse, will help keep you both happier.
Myth #6: There’s no time for fun in a marriage, especially with kids.
Truth: A key ingredient for success for any long-term relationship is having fun together, says Tessina. Taking time to enjoy each other, no matter how busy you are at work or with kids, is crucial to keeping both spouses feeling connected and happy, throughout decades of marriage.
Finding new ways to have fun together can also be an exciting challenge. Consider going to unexplored places (a coffee shop or museum), or just branching out and watching a different comedy show together when the kids are asleep. Wouldn’t any relationship be better if it included more time for fun, after all?
Which of these marriage myths have you previously bought into?
Lorraine Allen is a writer, and mom and personal chef to one spunky 6-year-old girl with severe food allergies. You can enjoy their delicious recipes and follow their amusing family cooking adventures at Feeding Lina.
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