It seems that as soon as a young couple announces their engagement people come out of the woodwork with advice about marriage. It can be daunting to a newly engaged couple to hear warnings of mistakes they shouldn’t make. You are happy and looking forward to living a great life together and yet friends and some family members are falling over themselves to tell you how your future will unfold, both good and bad. It can be extremely difficult in the face of advice from people you care about and respect to separate the facts from the myths.
Marriage Follows Rules
You should never compare your marriage to that of another couple. What works for them may not work for you. You and your partner are different people. Your relationship is different. If your married friends have children but you and your partner have decided that children do not feature in your future you do not have to have children to be like everyone else. While the old standard of getting married, buying a house and having children was fine for people who got married 50 or 60 years ago times have changed, and many couples are opting out of having children and some are even choosing to not buy their own home. A couple who want a long-lasting marriage should be clear about their expectations before saying their ‘I Do’s’.
Marriage is Easy
Just as with ‘love is enough’ this myth is one that is as far from the truth as it can get. Marriage is hard work. When two people who believe in different things, have similar but not the same values, have different upbringings and have lived different lives before meeting decide to become a couple there is a period in which it will take considerable love and understanding to accept those differences. How long that period lasts depends on how well the couple adjusts to living together. For some couples it can take years to become completely comfortable and accepting of each other’s idiosyncrasies.
You Will Automatically Know What He/She is Thinking
Unless you are clairvoyant there is no way that you can possibly know what your partner is thinking at any given moment. While after some time you can anticipate their feelings about something you cannot ever be totally sure that they will react or act the way you think they will. Over the years of a good marriage you will learn more and more about your partner and at times will be right on the mark when anticipating what they will want for a birthday or anniversary gift. People change, and their tastes change right along with them. It’s perfectly fine to not know what your partner is thinking 24/7 but taking the time to learn what is likely to upset them, anger them, please them, make them laugh, or cry will bring you closer to each other.
Children Ensure a Happy Marriage
While it is normal for couples to choose to have children to carry on their name, children do not automatically make a marriage happier. In some cases the arrival of a baby can be the catalyst to ending an already shaky marriage. Children should be born into a stable, happy and enduring marriage, not one that is already going through some challenges. Anyone who thinks that everything will be alright once a baby comes along needs to understand that children do not fix wobbly marriages. In fact, the strain of having a newborn baby in the house adds stress as both parents face a huge period of adjustment that includes significant lack of sleep. A baby should never be considered as a solution to a rocky relationship.
You must be Alike
While it is nice that your partner likes some of the same foods as you do it is not essential to a long, healthy marriage. Just as their favorite color is likely to be different, so will many other things that they believe in. Does this mean that your relationship is doomed? Absolutely not! You fell in love with your partner differences and all so obviously their not liking football or the color hot pink wasn’t enough to stop your being attracted to them. Their tastes won’t change just because you get married. You can live just as happily together not liking the same things as you can liking some things the same. In fact it is good for couples to not have the same tastes in everything. Imagine how boring this world would be if everyone only liked football or hot pink!
Forgiveness is a Given
You screwed up. You forgot your wedding anniversary. He/she forgave you the last time you ‘forgot’ so he/she is likely to forgive you this time too. Not so! While love does make it easier to forgive someone you care about at some point if you screw up often enough he/she will run out of forgiveness and resentment will begin to build. It is not wise to assume that you can do something that displeases your partner and ‘get away with it’ because they are willing to forgive you in the name of maintaining a happy relationship. Assuming forgiveness is a path to disappointment. Some things will never be forgiven.
Love Is Enough
If anyone suggests for even a second that all you need to have a happy marriage is to love one another they are either deluding themselves or trying to delude you. Marriage, or any committed relationship for that matter, takes work. Not just every so often either. It takes work every day for the rest of your lives.
While romance novels may make marriage look easy there are going to be times when you may find yourselves questioning the decision to marry. It is in those times that your love for one another will be what you rely on to get you through, but love alone will not be enough. You will need patience, understanding, and a willingness to listen and reach a workable resolution with a dash of compromise thrown in for good measure. Love most definitely is not enough on its own. Ask any couple who has been married for 50 years or more and they will tell you that while love is wonderful there is much more to a marriage than that.