WinShape Marriage Busts These Dangerous Myths About Marriage
You’ve heard them at least once. Maybe, you’ve heard them a hundred times. Often, couples are told one of the 15 statements below, or some variation of them, regarding marriage. The truth is the following statements are marriage myths. Don’t waste any more time falling for them—read on to learn how to debunk these harmful marriage myths.
1. Healthy marriages are conflict free.
It is very difficult to have a healthy marriage if you never experience conflict. When two different people come together, even if they’re foundationally in alignment, they’re going to have differing opinions about certain things. To be in a healthy marriage, you should be in an environment where you feel safe to bring things to the table you disagree on. Then, when you have conversation, seek to understand your spouse, even if you don’t agree with them—this can lead to deeper intimacy.
2. Good, healthy marriages come naturally when you marry the “right” person.
Good, healthy marriages are a result of intentionality and commitment. You commit to not only learning to dance with your spouse but learning to dance well with them. You don’t just marry the right person and you’re off the hook. When you’ve been given the gift of marriage, there’s a sense of responsibility to be healthy individually, so you can be healthy as a couple.
3. Marriage is 50/50.
Marriage is 100/100. If you think marriage is 50/50, you’re probably going to live in disappointment and resentment a lot of the time because in marriage you’ve got to be all in. If you’re only 50% in, it’s like you’re looking for your spouse to complete you, and the only person who can complete you is the Lord.
4. Your spouse completes you—they should fulfill all your needs.
Your spouse complements you. If you’re looking to anybody but the Lord to complete you, you will always be disappointed because humans make mistakes, and they aren’t always what we want them to be. Some people say when you get married, you’ll be isolated and lose your friends. The only way that’s true is if you allow it to happen, you isolate yourself, and you look to your spouse to be everything for you. Your spouse can’t live up to that, but they can absolutely complement you.
5. Happy couples do everything together.
Happy couples know that being apart creates anticipation. There’s truth to the saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” When you and your spouse are apart, you create excitement around coming back together. To clarify—happy couples do enjoy doing things together, but they also recognize in order to be happy it’s good to spend some time apart doing their own things and then come back together as a couple.
6. If you marry the “right” person, you will always feel in love.
Love is not just a feeling. It is something you do. You can go through times where you don’t “feel in love” or your spouse may not be very lovable, and you choose to love. This is the case in marriages that are facing the day-to-day challenges of doing life with another person who may have different perspectives about things (not in relationships where abuse or addiction is present). When you marry your spouse, you choose to love them on the great days and on the days when they got out of bed on the wrong side. If you look at your spouse through fleshly eyes, you’ll always be able to find reasons they’re not lovable, but if you look at them through the eyes of Christ, you’ll see they have flaws like you have flaws, but you choose to love them anyway.
7. Married sex is boring.
Married sex is boring only if you make it boring. Married sex is better than any sex people have outside of marriage, and it has to do with the commitment you and your spouse have to one another. From a faith perspective, it’s an act of worship, and it isn’t self-serving. Usually, sex outside of marriage is very self-serving, but that’s not what sex is meant to be in marriage. It’s truly a gift, and it’s an opportunity to love someone else well.
8. Having children helps couples in struggling marriages.
Having children does not help couples in struggling marriages. If your marriage is struggling, and you bring a child into it, the likelihood of you struggling even more is very great. It’s true, in general, when you have children, your marital satisfaction goes down some. What helps with that is for you and your spouse to have conversations around how you’re going to stay connected, make sure you’re still doing date nights, give the new dad the opportunity to bond with their baby via skin to skin, too, etc. Marital satisfaction may go down a tad—it’s completely normal—but it’s not going to tank. Whereas, if you’re not paying attention to protecting your marriage, it could tank, and if you bring a child into a struggling marriage, it could tank, as well.
9. Every disagreement must have a resolution.
Every disagreement does not have a resolution; it is how you manage a disagreement that is impactful. There are some things you’re going to disagree about for the duration of your marriage. How you engage with each other around those topics will either build up your marriage or fray away at the foundation.
10. Your children need to come first.
Your marriage needs to come first. When your marriage is strong and healthy, your children stand a much better chance of thriving and feeling good about themselves. So, instead of putting your marriage on the back burner, put it first. Take good care of it. Spend time with just your spouse. When you do this, you’re creating a great security blanket around your children that will allow them the space and the environment in which to thrive.
11. There is a universal path in marriage like having children.
There is no cookie cutter approach to marriage. That’s where people get sideways. They’re looking at everybody else and saying, “Oh, we should do this,” or “Oh, we should’ve had a child by now.” If you don’t know where you want to head as a couple, the world will tell you, and the world can be super wrong. You’ve got to have conversations and pray about what the Lord is calling you to individually and as a couple. Pray this prayer—how can we be kingdom builders together, and what does the Lord have for us in our marriage?
12. Differences will ruin your marriage.
Differences enhance your marriage. If you’re exactly alike, somebody is unnecessary. God didn’t bring two people together thinking, “Oh, they’re exactly alike.” He brought them together with all their similarities and differences in order to make their lives richer. Leveraging your differences can be very powerful. It can help you make your marriage all that God is calling it to be.
13. Never go to bed angry.
Never go to bed allowing the evil one to have a foothold in your marriage. You can be upset with your spouse about something and still look at them and say, “I know we’re sideways on this, and I know we have a way to go to figure out where we’re going to land. But, I love you, and I’m 100% in.” Especially, if you’re not a late-night person, you can make matters a lot worse by trying to resolve something before you go to bed. If one or both of you are tired and not thinking straight, then, the environment isn’t conducive to figuring out a solution. It’ll create a lot more angst.
14. Seek out marriage counseling as the last resort.
Seek out marriage counseling even when you are in a good place. When you’re in a good place in your marriage and you sit down with someone to have conversations about areas you’d love to grow in as a couple, you’re a lot more open to taking in information and trying new things; whereas, when you’ve forgotten you’re on the same team and you’ve got opposing perspectives, it’s harder to take in information. Seek counseling when you’re in a good place to help you think forward to the future rather than when you’re in a hard place where it’s more difficult to think about the future because you’re stuck in the mud.
15. If your spouse really loves you, they will know what you want and need.
There is nobody on this planet who can read somebody’s mind. That is a setup from the get-go for your marriage. If there are things that would be helpful for your spouse to know about you, tell them. Tell them what your love language is. Tell them what scores points for you. Help your spouse get to know you, and in turn, get to know your spouse.