If you’re striving to have a happy and healthy relationship with your partner, it’s easy to assume certain “truths” in order to define a happy and healthy relationship. It’s also easy to compare what you know for certain about your relationship with what you think you know about someone else’s relationship. But be careful when defining those truths and making comparisons because you might inadvertently sabotage yourself with unreasonable expectations.
Here are a few of the most common myths about happy couples:
Happy Marriage Myth 1: Happy Couples Don’t Fight
I don’t care who you are and how happy your relationship is. You will at some point in the course of your relationship have a difference of opinion. You will fail to see eye to eye on a given subject. And if you honestly think that a happy relationship is devoid of conflict, 1) you’re going to be disappointed and 2) you’re insane.
A happy relationship provides you with a sense of contentment and joy but it doesn’t mean that you never disagree with your spouse. Happy couples fight. They might even disagree frequently, but they do it in a way that doesn’t permanently damage their bond. They communicate their feelings without letting it devolve into a personal attack. They also pick their battles. Before you open your mouth to yell at your husband or mutter something under your breath to your wife, ask yourself the question, “in the grand scheme of things, is this really important?” If the answer is “no,” shut your mouth. That’s not always so easy to do, but is it worth arguing over who’s turn it is to do the dishes? Absolutely not.
Happy Marriage Myth 2: You Share EVERYTHING
No, you don’t; nor would you want to and it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about your feelings, your free time, or your hobbies. You will not and should not share everything. It’s just not physically possible nor is it healthy. You should share a common view regarding where you’d like to be in five years, whether or not you want to have children, how to spend/save your money. But there are some things that you should keep to yourself.
Let’s take your feelings and opinions for example. Have you ever blurted something out in the heat of the moment only to regret it the moment it came out of your mouth? Has your partner ever said something that you couldn’t forget and it just ate away at you slowly and made you question every aspect of your relationship? I’m not saying don’t voice your opinion, but keep in mind once you say it, it’s impossible to take it back and you never know how your words will resonate with another person. Choose your words wisely.
You’re hobbies and interests are another good example. Your husband probably doesn’t want to get pedicures, shop for shoes, or gossip about your frienemies over a glass of wine. That’s why you have girlfriends. You probably don’t want to watch football, drink beer, or play poker while smoking cigars. That’s why he has his boys. I realize I’m making broad sweeping generalizations here but let’s just say there are reasons stereotypes exist.
You need a life of your own. Just because you’re married or in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you completely lose your identity. You’re still an individual with interests and personal goals and a little “me time” is good for both of you.
Happy Marriage Myth 3: You’re Always Perfectly In Sync
Being married doesn’t make you clairvoyant. There’s no mind-reading clause in any marriage contract so if you think you’re husband is going to know exactly what you’re thinking and exactly how you’re feeling all the time, you’ve got another thing coming. He’s not a mindreader. If you want something, you will have to ask for it. Just don’t nag him into submission.
Happy Marriage Myth 4: You’re Having Sex Often
Happy couples are not having sex constantly. Sadly. You probably think being blissfully content translates to laying in bed naked with each other for hours on end. False. That’s not to say that occasional naked Saturday is non-existent but it certainly isn’t happening all the time. Sex, or lack thereof, can be an indicator of other problems but there are too many articles out there claiming that if your husband isn’t sleeping with you consistently, he’s probably sleeping with his mistress. Before you let your paranoid jealousy get the best of you, is it possible that maybe the recent dry spell is the result of stress? or maybe you haven’t expressed much of an interest in sex either? or maybe neither one of you needs sex more than once or twice a month? Make sure your definition of “often” is consistent with both of your needs.
Happy Marriage Myth 5: Couple’s Therapy Means You’re Doomed
Going to therapy has a bad rap which is unfortunate because it really shouldn’t. Therapy can be enormously beneficial for couples. The perception that couples therapy is a last ditch effort to salvage your relationship comes from the tendency for couples to seek therapy only when their relationship has hit rock bottom. They’ve been unhappy for a while and have gotten to the point where their dissatisfaction with their relationship is unbearable. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.
Therapy can be preventative. It can help relatively happy couples learn to communicate better or strengthen their relationship before little problems become massive issues. Therapy can be even be beneficial. It can help couples connect in ways they never thought possible. You spend time bringing your car in for maintenance to prevent it from breaking down. Are you doing the same thing with your relationship? Couples therapy can be the equivalent of a tune-up rather than an overhaul. It just depends on your view.