7 Myths About Marriage You Can Forget About Right Now
I have to be honest: I love being married.
I wasn't exactly the"relationship type" in the few years before I met my husband, so I was pretty sure marriage wasn't going to be a thing I wanted. I didn't believe in monogamy, I really hated committing to literally anything, and I always just felt suffocated with other people.
When I connected with him, though, I grew up a little and realized that the ideas I had about relationships were just that: ideas. I had always lived my life exactly the way I wanted, including quitting a lucrative career to travel full-time, so I realized that there was no reason I couldn't have my relationship exactly the way I wanted, too (well, exactly the way we wanted).
I'm now a big believer in writing your own script on marriage, just like I am a big believer in writing your own script for your life.
In that vein, I realized there were some harmful myths about marriage that some of us believe, so I wanted to bust them. Here we go!
1. There's A "Correct" Amount Of Sex For Marriage
This is one of my least favorite myths about marriage, because people believe it and it hurts their relationship! Too many people fall victim to the idea that they should be having a certain amount of sex — and/or that their sex life will just naturally fade over time.
There is no "correct" amount of sex to be had in a marriage. Sure, there are averages for long-term couples and married couples, and researchers study things like this and then publish articles on the same. But "average" doesn't mean "must."
Not only that, there's no reason that your sex life will have to dwindle in your marriage. Dr. Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist (DHS, MA, BA) and founder of Eros Coaching, says that it can last, as long as you work on your passion:
According to the triangular theory of love, developed by psychologist Robert Sternberg, there are three three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Most couples get the commitment and intimacy parts down, but they are terrible at passion. [When] there is a less desire in each other, they tend to work on having more date nights [that] include romantic dinner, when in reality what this is strengthening is intimacy, not passion. Think of fanning the flames of passion as doing new things: practical jokes, play with puns, or even springing surprises on each other.
In other words, your sex life can be as good as you want it to be, if you put in the work.
The amount of sex you should be having in your marriage is the amount of sex that works for you and your spouse. When we got married, my husband and I decided to prioritize having sex once a day. We're both pretty sexual and wildly attracted to each other and we knew we'd probably do that regardless, but we wanted to make sure we kept the importance on it.
Sex once a day might sound like a lot to some people and not enough to other people, but it doesn't matter, because it's what works for us.
Have sex as much as you want in your marriage — not as much as you think you should.
2. The Love Always Flows Naturally
I'm a newlywed, so I am wildly, passionately, crazily in love with my husband — and he is with me. That said, we didn't go into our marriage just assuming that we were going to love each other perfectly all the time — we went into our marriage knowing that we would be committed to it every step of the way.
The thing that my husband and I believe about love may not be the most romantic thing in the world, but it probably is the best for marriage: We believe that we fell in love because we're soulmates, but that marriage isn't just about falling in love, it's the decision to love.
Dr. Wyatt Fisher, a licensed psychologist and marriage counselor, says it's normal to feel varying degrees of love: "All marriages go through seasons where the couple doesn't feel very in love because they haven't been resolving their conflicts well or haven't been spending enough time together."
In your marriage, you'll have days where you feel totally thrilled with your spouse and perfectly in love. You'll have other days where you can't stand them and you need to remind yourself that you are committed to loving them, still.
Dr. Fisher says the most important thing is to work on keeping the feelings of love over time.
Don't worry if you don't feel perfect love for your spouse all the time — and don't let someone else's idea of marriage dictate your own.
3. All Marriages Have The Same Rules And Path
Too many of us believe that our lives should go in a perfectly linear fashion, on the exact same path as everyone else: dating, love, engagement, marriage, babies.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
No two marriages are ever going to look alike, and nor should they! We're all unique individuals and we come together as unique couples, so it makes sense that each of our marriages will have different rules and a different path.
My husband knew I didn't want children before we got married, and he knew I didn't believe in monogamy. He also knew I never really wanted a stable job in one city and that I wanted to travel and party and be a kid myself, forever. We're not doing the "traditional" thing at all — we're doing our own thing.
The two of us are building the marriage that we think is perfect for us, not according to anyone else's rules. And so should you.
4. Your Spouse Will Be Perfect At Making You Happy
If you think your spouse should be able to make you happy all the time, you might be in for some disappointment. This is a common myth and goes along with another myth some people believe: that they'll get along better after marriage.
Neither of these is true. Just like anything else, you and your spouse will work at making each other happy and will learn how to do it better over time. But still, you'll never be perfect. Expecting someone to make you perfectly happy all the time is like expecting someone to read your mind: It just doesn't work.
Nina Rubin, a life coach with a focus on relationships, says it's also a trap to believe you and your partner will get along better after marriage: "You will be exactly the same, if not more pressured, when you're married. Marriage doesn't make couples get along better. Communication does that. So if you're thinking everything will improve when the honeymoon is over, think again."
Communication is the key to staying happy and getting along.
5. The Partnership Should Be Equal
Too many of us are guilty of believing in the myth of an equal partnership in marriage, but that's just not how it works.
Sometimes, you and your spouse will be contributing equally to the relationship. Sometimes, you'll be contributing 100 percent and they'll be contributing nothing. Other times, you'll barely be capable of giving one percent and your spouse will have to do it all.
Marriage isn't an equal partnership; it's a partnership where both parties give as much as needed at any given moment. In practice, this means that you'll both be giving it your all, day in and day out. It's just that sometimes your "all" won't be that much, and that's OK.
Marriage is about supporting each other and the marriage as much as you can, so ditch any beliefs you may have in the idea that it's supposed to be 50/50 all the time.
6. There's A "Correct" Amount Of Arguing For Marriage
Just like there's no "correct" amount of sex to be hard in a marriage, there's no "correct" amount to argue.
My husband don't fight at all. Literally never. We rarely disagree at all, because we see life pretty similarly. That said, whenever we have to talk about something, we have fun with it: We figure out what needs to get figured out and then we go back to laughing and being kids.
Some people would say that because we don't argue, something is wrong with our relationship. Conversely, people would look at a couple that argues every day and say there is something wrong with their relationship. But no one truly knows what's going on between two people except the two people.
Don't let other people's ideas of fighting get in your head: You and your partner should have healthy communication, yes, but other than that, it's truly whatever works for your marriage.
7. You Should Be Really Similar And Do Everything Together
As someone with high needs for personal space, this myth bothers me a lot.
My husband and I see life very similarly, yes, but our personalities are totally different! I like to always have my head buried in a book; he likes to watch movies more. I'm more outspoken with my political opinions; he's quieter. I'm more likely to want to be out a lot; he likes long periods of doing nothing with me.
Not only that, but though we do a lot of stuff together, we also make it a point to nurture our personal space.
You don't have to be very similar to make your marriage work, and you don't have to do everything together. In fact, being different and giving each other space gives the marriage itself space to grow and change overtime. It'd be pretty boring if you married your clone!
No two marriages are ever going to be alike, so believing these myths about marriage will just make you and your spouse unhappy. The truth is, you should be building the marriage that works for the two of you and the two of you alone and forgetting about other people's advice or opinions.