By Bob Grant
With the divorce rate around 50% it's no surprise many couples want to do everything they can to strengthen their marriage. The problem is many couples believe certain myths about their marriage and spend time trying to correct those very myths.
Below are 5 of the most popular myths concerning marriage and why they aren't as true as you have been told.
1. Your marriage has a 50% chance of ending in divorce. While this is statistically correct, it doesn't mean it applies to your marriage. You can strengthen your marriage by doing simple things together that will create a bond which lasts a lifetime. In fact, couples who take a walk together each evening and have a "date night" every week are much less likely to get divorced than the average couple.
2. Your spouse is your best friend. Actually your spouse isn't supposed to be your best friend - that would be boring. What makes a marriage sizzle is having a partner who has enough in common with you while also possessing other qualities, both frustrating and fascinating. A best friend is someone who is usually similar to you. They aren't different enough from you to inspire the passion you'll want in a marriage. Therefore, don't be surprised if you have more in common with others than with your spouse. This can be a good thing!
3. Don't go to bed angry. Sometimes it's best to resolve a conflict immediately. Yet there are other times when this isn't possible. Some conflicts take longer to resolve than others and trying to "fix the problem" before you go to bed can often lead to the problem simply being ignored. Instead, promise to finish the discussion the next day and make time for the difficult conversation. It isn't easy to be with your spouse when they're angry, which is why couples often try to minimize conflict. Great couples get angry with each other, but they continue to discuss a problem until there is a solution, even if it takes several days.
4. Don't fight in front of the kids. To be honest, this is horrible advice. Children who never see their parents "fight" don't learn how to handle conflict. They tend to avoid disagreements in their own (future) relationships and assume their parents never disagreed. It's not bad for parents to disagree in front of their children, so long as they do so in a polite and safe manner. This means no threats, name calling, or violence. Handle yourselves like civilized adults and teach your children how to handle disagreements successfully. Children will learn you can love someone while also disagreeing with them. This understanding actually makes them feel more secure.
5. Having a Baby Brings You Closer. Whoever thought this up has never had children. I'm not saying children aren't wonderful. I have 4 myself and they are also a lot of work. The first few months after a new baby arrives are exhausting. It is a mixture of wonder and stress as parents cope with lack of sleep and the new mom often goes through a period of recovery after giving birth. A baby doesn't cause a couple to grow closer. Instead, the bundle of joy enhances the parents' current relationship. A bitter couple will become even more bitter. Those healthy marriages in which each partner listens and helps the other will find the addition of a new baby will make them feel more love for each other.
Although these myths are well intended, they often cause harm to a couple when they try one of these and it doesn't work. What is most important in a marriage is simply each partner's willingness to try to care for their spouse. They may not do it perfectly, but when each person feels the other genuinely cares, the marriage will thrive even when they don't follow a checklist of things to do.
Bob Grant, L.P.C. is the author of the bestselling relationship book, "The Woman Men Adore...and Never Want To Leave." For the past 20 years he has provided unique and powerful insights for thousands of men and women in over 50 different countries. You may visit him at www.relationshipheadquarters.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com