Every relationship is a little bit different – and because of that, there aren’t really “universal truths” that apply to each and every couple. There are, however, pervasive myths that can lead couples to make bad decisions or incorrect assumptions.
We’re here to set the record straight! Don’t believe these myths, or let them make you second-guess the choices you’ve made for your own relationship. Instead, let these myths serve as lessons for understanding what really works in a marriage, and the effort happy couples put in.
Myth #1: Half of Marriages End in Divorce
This claim has been floating around for years. In the 1970s, divorce rates saw a big spike, and those figures sparked a myth that persists today. Actual divorce rates (from 2009) are more like 30% - this still isn’t great, but it doesn’t have the same mental impact as “half.”
When people believe this myth, they see their own marriages a coin toss. If half end divorce, they incorrectly assume that they’ll either be part of the half that works, or part of the half that doesn’t. The myth tends to make people surrender the power they have over the success of their marriage.
Regardless of the statistics, don’t fall victim to “sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.” If you want a strong marriage, YOU have to make it so.
Myth #2: Married Couples Have Worse Sex Lives
This stems from a very real, very common problem – where couples that have been married for a long time lose sight of the physical part of their relationship, and settle into cohabitants… While this does happen, it’s not just a matter of course. It doesn’t just happen on its own.
Maintaining a great sex life takes some effort, or at least making it a priority. You have to want to have a good sexual relationship with your spouse – and this is true of unmarried couples as well!
It’s not marriage that hurts a couples’ sex lives, it’s lack of effort and attention (intentional or not).
Myth #3: Happy Couples Don’t Fight
Disagreements are completely common! A couple that agrees on everything, 100% of the time is just unrealistic! To assume that happy couples never argue causes damage in a couple of ways…
First, it can make you think that you and your spouse fight sometimes, that there’s something wrong with the marriage. Second, it can make you avoid issues simply because you don’t want conflict – which only causes more problems in the long run.
Plenty of happy couples go through disagreements. The difference is in how they handle them, how they listen to one another, and how they take steps to improve.
Myth #4: If You’re Truly In Love, Passion Never Fades
Now, for some (a very small number) of couples, this might be true… But for most people, time can take a toll on even the most passionate relationships. In fact, the couples who seem to stay passionate after years and years together are likely taking steps to keep it that way – even if they don’t know they’re doing it.
Keeping passion alive takes quality time spent together, novel experiences, communication, and so on. This stuff doesn’t just happen on its own, but is instead a product of prioritizing the relationship and making a conscious effort to fan the flames of passion.
Myth #5: Kids Make Marriages Happier
Not to offend any of the parents out there, but this simply isn’t true! Sometimes couples think that having a child together will help them bond or fix problems in the marriage… But all of the data says otherwise. Couples without children tend to report far higher levels of marital happiness.
Now, that’s not to say that parents can’t have truly fulfilling and happy marriages, but rather that having kids won’t automatically put your relationship back on course. Having kids for the sake of your marriage is a disservice to both the child AND the relationship. They won’t fix problems, and will likely add more stress, pull you away from each other, and bury the issues to become worse in the future.
Parenthood is a beautiful thing, but don’t think that it will save a broken marriage.
Overcoming these myths is an important part of building a strong marriage. If you believe in misconceptions, and taking actions based on bad information, you won’t be doing developing the relationship you want. If you previously bought into these myths – stop! If you hear others perpetuating them, help set the record straight!
We’ll all be better off if we stop believing them.
For more advice on how to strengthen your marriage, check out the StrongMarriageNow System today!
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Dr. Dana Fillmore and Amy Barnhart, co-Founders, StrongMarriageNow.com