8 marriage myths you shouldn't believe, according to a couples therapist
The minute people find out that you’re about to get married, they instantly want to give their two cents. If they’re married or have been previously, they might tell you anecdotes about their own marriage and give you unsolicited advice on what to do and not do. While most people do have good intentions, a lot of these marriage myths are subjective—and, frankly, false.
According to licensed marriage and family therapist Racine Henry, marriage myths mostly come from social folklore. “We commonly say, ‘they say’ or ‘I heard’ without any real source or fact attached to the statement. Our families and friends tell us what they believe, and those things can be influenced by cultural guidelines, personal experiences, and/or superstitions,” she tells HelloGiggles.
The good news is you don’t have to believe these myths because, well, they’re myths. A healthy marriage is whatever you make of it; there are no hard or fast rules to follow. So before you walk down the aisle and say “I do,” read on for all the marriage myths a couples therapist believes you should ignore.
1. Myth: Your spouse should be your best friend.
Just because you’re going to live happily ever after with this person doesn’t mean that you have to be BFFs for life. While they should be your ultimate support system, you don’t have to like everything they like or do everything together.
“You and your spouse should have the relationship you both desire, according to what you both believe is healthy and realistic. Period. Whether you are best friends or not doesn’t mean anything about your relationship,” says Henry. “[Ultimately,] you should enjoy spending time with each other, have the intimacy you both desire, and have a healthy method of resolving issues.”
2. Myth: Every argument has a resolution.
Eh, not exactly. As many times as we’re told that there is a solution to every problem, sometimes there just isn’t. And that’s okay, too.
“Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and let a topic go. You may never reconcile it or lay it to rest beyond agreeing that it is a topic you avoid and ignore,” says Henry. “This does not mean your marriage is failing or unhealthy. It may just mean you are two different people who cannot see eye to eye about something.”
Keep in mind that this myth usually references those everyday topics that you can let go. But if you and your partner can’t agree on a core value (like having children, money, or religion) then you may want to reevaluate things.
3. Myth: 50% of marriages end in divorce.
“This statistic is just not true. People are still carrying this finding from a study [that was] done at least a decade ago, which included first, second, and third marriages. Also, it was not generalizable to the whole population, nor was it reflective of a trend,” says Henry.
At the end of the day, this statistic shouldn’t keep you up at night. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing and try to focus on building the healthiest relationship you can with your partner.
4. Myth: Old problems don’t exist once you get married.
Let’s be honest: Relationships take a lot of work. The problems won’t disappear the minute you and your partner put rings on each other’s fingers.
“A wedding is a glorified party. It is not a magic spell that resolves every problem and wipes the slate clean,” says Henry. “All the problems you had before you got married can and will resurface during your marriage if you do not truly come to an understanding [about them].”
If you feel like you and your partner still have a lot of issues, opt to see a couples therapist before you walk down the aisle. They can help resolve some of the problems you can no longer ignore.
5. Myth: Sex after marriage either doesn’t happen or is bad.
Comparing your sex life to another couple’s will only make you feel bad about your relationship. What works for one couple might not work for another. But if you’re not happy with your current sex life, address it with your partner so that you’re both on the same page—especially before you get married.
“You don’t have to be unsatisfied or unhappy just because you’re married. It is important to communicate your needs to your partner so that you can both be aware of what is lacking,” says Henry. “If you don’t talk about the sex being different or unenjoyable, that pleasure may be sought elsewhere.”
6. Myth: Name-calling is normal.
Simply put: No, it’s not. No matter how angry you and your future spouse get, you should ever call each other nasty names.
“Being mad is NEVER an excuse to be mean. You can argue without low blows or name-calling,” says Henry. In fact, she believes that when the argument gets to this level, it’s “indicative of other, deeper issues within your relationship beyond the current argument.”
7. Myth: Never go to bed angry.
This old myth is far from accurate. While it might be uncomfortable to go to bed without solving an issue, sometimes, one partner needs time to think and sleep on the argument before they can finish the conversation or provide a healthy resolution.
“The insistence of continuing an argument for hours upon hours just to avoid going to sleep angry could intensify and prolong tension,” says Henry. “Instead, it may be better to pause the conversation so that both partners can get rest and then re-address the issue with a calm and clear mind.”
8. Myth: Your spouse should meet and fulfill all your needs.
In addition to your spouse not being your best friend, you shouldn’t expect them to fulfill all your needs, either. Having a healthy romantic relationship means both of you understand that you’re both individual, whole people who are coming together to create a life together. And if that means you need to spend time apart either by yourself or with other friends, then do it.
“Married people need friends, too! Don’t think that becoming a spouse means you don’t need other people around or that your spouse will think you are their only friend,” says Henry.
Basically, it’s not healthy or fair to your partner to expect them to be your one and only source of happiness. Love is a multifaceted thing, and nothing is wrong with your relationship if you believe in fulfilling your needs elsewhere.