Marriage is both the greatest thing you will ever do and the toughest. We give up a little bit of personal freedom to share our lives with another while gaining a bit of the other that they have to give to the marriage. Some times that stuff we bring into the marriage is baggage and sometimes it is a deep love.
What we want to do here is to dispel five myths that people commonly bring into marriage, both consciously and unconsciously. The hope is that a slight shift in how you think about your marriage can save you a lifetime of pain and suffering.
- The other person will make me happy. So many people go into marriage hoping that this woman will fulfill every joy I have every had or that that man will give me what I need. In the dating time frame, it might even seem that they will meet your every need, but life happens and even the best spouse will let you down more times than you would like. It is wonderful that your spouse knows what makes you happy, but do not expect them to fill that part of your life. Instead, be joyful when they do without any expectations.
- I can change the other (If you cared about me you’d…). When everything is butterflies and unicorns early on, we tend to look past the things that make us upset. If you’ve been together for awhile and get engaged, you might hit a point where those “flaws” start to really get to you. For some people, both men and women, they see during this engagement as the opportunity to not have to worry about it because we will get them to change after we get married. In fact, the only person that you can change in a marriage and get the results that you want all the time is yourself.
- A differentiated person must be cold and unfeeling. What we mean by a differentiated person is someone whose emotions are reliant on someone else. If my spouse is happy, then I can be happy. For some that find a husband or wife who does not get upset when their spouse is having a bad day may be seen as heartless. A husband regularly going out for guys night to play paintball or a woman going to the spa with her friends is a sign of a healthy marriage.
- Whenever one “needs” to talk it out or get feelings out, the other must agree to listen. We have this lie within marriage that it should be 50-50. The problem with that is that when someone is having a bad day, then the marriage stops running at a 100%. Instead, both people should be putting in a 100% to the marriage, adding to the “love bank.” Then, when someone has a bad day, you are still running at optimal levels. This marriage bank is kind of like a piggy bank. Every day that you put into it, complimenting your husband or showing your wife how much you love her, you add a bit to the bank. When those times come that you have nothing to give, when life sucks and everyone seems against you, you will have something to draw from other than your spouse.
- I can cut off from my extended family and still have good relationships. It’s a Biblical concept, right? Leave your current family and cleave to the one you married. But a marriage was not meant to work in isolation of everyone else, especially the families that we came from. There is so much history, tradition, and love there that we must draw from. To deny them is honestly to deny a part of yourself and marriage. We all bring in baggage which could come a bit from your extended family, that is to be expected. But to not get along with your mother-in-law and make them the enemy draws away from the whole family.
You will be challenged by these. Post your rebuttled in the comments and lets have a great dialogue about this!