It’s often said that movies, television and novels have created myths about love and marriage that have done nothing to help people have happy, satisfying and sustainable relationships. We would have to agree. Romantic comedies and classic novels have created icons of “perfect” mates and given us unrealistic pictures of what a “forever” relationship looks like. But as therapist Ashley Davis Bush writes in a new article on HuffingtonPost.com, there are several other widely-believed myths about love and marriage that can ruin your marriage if you accept them wholesale. Here are her “5 Myths That Can Ruin Your Relationship.”
1. Relationships are hard work.
We’ve certainly heard this repeated by plenty of television experts and magazine articles. But as Davis-Bush points out,
When you believe that relationships are hard work, then your love life becomes about as much fun as cleaning the toilets and mopping floors. When you’re in a relationship with your beloved, being together shouldn’t be a chore.”
She goes on to explain that relationships do need attention, but that if you’re both committed to that attention, it shouldn’t be hard work.
2. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
This one was perpetuated by the movie “Love Story” back in the sixties and it’s always been a dud.
Having a quarrel is inevitable. How you ‘repair’ your quarrel is your choice. So say ‘I’m sorry’ and then have fun kissing and making up.
3. Neither of us could ever have an affair.
Davis-Bush warns that while we should feel secure, positive and be equally trustworthy, it can be taken to an extreme that leads to neglecting the relationship and driving our mate elsewhere.
When you know that an affair is possible, it keeps you motivated to tend to your relationship and make sure that both of you are feeling satisfied. Don’t take your fidelity for granted!”
4. Once we get married, everything will be perfect.
Have you ever noticed that most fairy tales and romantic movies end when the couples decide to get married? It may have taught us growing up that marriage was the finish line or that it meant that an imperfect relationship (or mate) would somehow be transformed by a wedding.
Marriage brings its own array of stresses (financial, legal, etc.) It isn’t a magic pill to fix or improve a relationship. If you can’t be happy together before marriage, it’s unlikely that a ceremony is going to cure what ails you. First, make your relationship great, and then maybe marriage will be in the cards.”
5. My partner knows that I love him, so I don’t need to say it.
Men get the brunt of the blame for this type of attitude, but women can believe it a well. However, it’s dangerous and unkind to assume that your spouse knows how important they really are.
We are wired to attach to people and we need to know every day that we matter, that we’re appreciated, and that someone has chosen us to be their special one. Don’t assume that your partner is feeling this, show them again and again. An outpouring of love strengthens your bond and ensures that your partner doesn’t feel taken for granted.”
Romantic movies, Jane Austen novels and television dramas are meant to be entertainment, not training for a real-life marriage. Have fun with them, but don’t let their myths guide the way you conduct your marriage!