3 Marital Myths You Should Know Before Tying the Knot
With the highly anticipated royal wedding approaching, I wanted to take the time to share and debunk the most common myths about marriage I encounter in my work with engaged and married couples. These fallacies frequently come up in the premarital and marriage counseling I do with my clients, and I wanted to shine some light on the truth regarding expectations when it comes to getting married and being married.
Myth #1: You will get your partner to change after marriage
Although the word “perfect” comes up often before and during the golden span of time that is your engagement, our spouses-to-be are not always angels in the flesh. When thinking about who you are going to marry, it is helpful to keep in mind that we all end up marrying a human being. A person who is imperfect, flawed, and can honestly sometimes be a bit annoying. They may have a certain way of doing things around the house that you think is incorrect or inefficient, or they may have some unhealthy habits that you would never choose for yourself.
The fact is, these things will most likely not change after you get married or at any point in the future. If any of these habits/behaviors do change it is because the person performing these actions has chose to make a change themselves, and not because their spouse has directed them to change. Each person you might consider to marry will have a set of flaws that you will need to determine if you are willing to put up with. You decide what things are deal-breakers, and what things you can overlook. Just don’t expect your spouse to start thinking, feeling, and acting exactly as you would like them to after the walk down the aisle.
Myth #2: Your partner will never change after you get married
In direct contrast to my first point, you should also understand that people can change over time. While the first point made in this post is to advise you against marrying someone for the person you think they could become, and instead focus on who you know them to be; people are dynamic beings and life events and circumstances have an impact on who we are over time. It is also unreasonable to expect the person that you marry at 25 to be exactly the same person at 75.
Career progression, job loss, age maturity, becoming a parent, grief, and a variety of other life events have a great impact on who we are and how we live our lives. Each partner in a marriage will change in some or many ways over time, and the marriage itself will also need to change along with them. Adaptability and flexibility are two of the most important characteristics of resilient people and relationships. Understand that not only will your spouse change over time, but you will as well. Focus on continuous connection and growing together in your marriage so that you will be prepared for what life brings your way.
Myth #3: When the marriage gets tough, we are not in love anymore, and the marriage is broken.
I am surely not the first to say this, and definitely won’t be the last; but love and marriage as it is portrayed in popular media is misleading at best. These depictions of love and relationships often portray love as this magical and mystical thing that comes on like a flashflood and can just as quickly wash away over time.
The fact is, relationships are difficult and require regular maintenance and upkeep. Imagine your marriage is a house; over time it will require repairs and maintenance so that it can remain standing and functional. When you find that your marriage is no longer fun or easy, it does not mean that you are no longer in love or that you are headed toward divorce. You should go into marriage expecting to work long and hard to keep your relationship in tip-top shape. There will be times when being married is in fact easy and enjoyable, but other times when it is difficult at best or even miserable at worst. However, if you are able to perform regular maintenance on your marriage through effective communication, regular dates, marriage workshops/retreats, or even couple therapy, you will be able to prevent small issues from growing into overwhelming problems.
So many expectations surround marriage and the idea of getting married. These expectations are formed through our interaction with our friends, families, and social media, but it is wise to take a closer look at any marital expectations or assumptions we may hold before embarking on this journey with another person. Premarital counseling is a great way to address specific concerns or discuss difficult topics that will have an impact on the strength and success of your marriage. Consider working with me today to build a strong foundation for your relationship and marriage.
Lauren Barron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist-Associate specializing in serving engaged, newlywed, and married couples. Call her at (713)364-9748 to learn more or set up an appointment today.