There is a lot of wrong advice out there that is presented as great relationship tips. Such advice has come from people who are either in marriage or who have been married. Experience in marriage doesn’t necessarily make you a marriage guru. You might have some secrets that worked for you but that doesn’t mean they will work for everyone else. Spread by the media and popular culture these myths have wrongfully become the norm.
In his book The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman said there are many relationship myths out there. According to Gottman, these myths are not just false but have the potential to be destructive. These myths can lead couples down the wrong path or convince them that their marriage is a hopeless case. The need to get the facts straight cannot be overemphasized. Myths and misconceptions on relationships can definitely have damaging effects on your relationship.
Here are 20 of the most common relationships myths that I have discovered:
The romance will always exist if we are truly in love.
Falling in love can be very exciting. When the chemicals associated with pleasure are activated in our brains, we can only hope that the feelings will last. As time passes, these chemicals fade making us become more comfortable with our partners. The initial exciting newness wears off. However, this doesn’t mean that you call it quits. This is one of the subjects of the book Con-Fessions: Truths, Myths, and Stereotypes about Men and Women and Relationships. E Weems, the author says a long-term relationship, is likely to see the waning of feeling in love. To keep the romantic fire burning, you need to try something new together.
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A relationship that was meant to be will just work out.
Any relationship is like a ship which needs to be steered. You can’t just let the tide take you wherever it’s headed. You need to be in control to ensure you don’t crash or sink. When you do happen to get into inevitable storms, you shouldn’t quickly say it wasn’t meant to be. Relationship tips should tell you that passivity and lack of effort can make a promising relationship to fail. So, if you want your relationship to work out, you must take deliberate actions.
Never voice dissatisfaction in a new relationship.
When a relationship is still new, there is a lot of learning between the two partners. Issues range from those such as future expectations about each partner’s roles to initiative levels. Partners are still learning about each other’s communication styles and other dynamics of the relationship. If your partner is not living up to your expectations, why keep quiet about it. That only tells them that they can carry on with the bad behavior. So speak up about things you are not pleased with.
You need to have sex X times a day/week/month.
Sexual dissatisfaction arises among couples because of faulty expectations. Thinking you should have sex a certain number of times per period will only breed problems. You are bound to think there is something wrong with your sex life when you start having it less frequently. It’s the sex drive of the partners that determine the frequency of sex in a relationship. Also, the actual circumstances and opportunities to have sex also play a very important role. So avoid checking with your friends to see how frequent they are having sex. Instead, discuss directly with your partner.
Couples in good a relationship don’t argue.
All couples argue. It isn’t a question of whether couples argue, it is how they do it that really matters. Productive arguments avoid escalation and always result in resolutions and problem-solving. Couples in a relationship are able to find ways of dealing with similar situations more productively in future. It is not so much about avoiding arguments, it is how you argue that matters. If you are in a relationship, learn to argue productively. Also, practice the relevant skills to enable the two of you to change how you handle conflict.
He or she knows what has left you upset.
No matter how he or she tries, your partner is not a mind-reader and telepathy is just a myth. That doesn’t mean they cannot tell you are upset. What they can’t do is figure out exactly what they did to upset you. They probably have done thousands of things to upset you over the years. However, they just cannot tell what you are upset with this time around. For the sake of your relationship, stop waiting for them to confess. So just tell them why you are upset to save both of you time and aggravation.
Having a baby is the solution to your problems.
Getting a baby can change your lives in every conceivable way. That includes bringing with it lots of stress to the relationship. You might do this to create a way of being too busy with the children so you don’t argue. However, if you are already having problems, deal with them directly. This is much better than expecting a baby to make them disappear.
In his book Great Myths of Intimate Relationships, Matthew D. Johnson addresses this issue. He says having a child doesn’t necessarily fix relationships problems. For most couples, marital satisfaction almost always wanes after the birth of the first child. So you need to bear that in mind as you do family planning.
Love is all you need.
You might have entered your relationship because you were in love with your partner. However, feeling in love tends to wane with time. The arrival of children can bring to a stop the romance, great sex, fun, and adventure you used to have as a couple. You might end up with endless to-do lists and conversations being limited to talking about errands. When this happens, you need to find ways of keeping the relationship going.
One of the most common relationship tips is introducing a little bit more of substance in the union. What’s it that binds you together. Is it the common interest you have or your life goals? Whatever it is, ensure you lay more emphasis on it to ensure the glue in your relationship remains strong enough.
You are happy with your partner, why be close to anyone else?
This might be true for massively co-dependent couples. If you are not, this could just be one way of either partner attempting to control the other. It could also be out of sheer ignorance. The truth is that even people in relationships need others to be fully functional. After all, you are part of a greater community to which you should be seen to belong.
If your partner loves you, he or she would want to spend all their time with you.
When you first get into the relationship, you might be so love-struck that you can’t spend a minute apart. With time, the love spell will fade. When this happens, remember to make time to be with your partner. Remember that being a couple doesn’t mean your other relationships have ended. You will need to make time for your families, friends, and interests. That doesn’t mean you don’t love each other anymore.
I know what I want in a partner and I’m not compromising.
Stop dreaming. You can’t find a perfect anywhere. Neither can you custom order them from the maker. Most people in relationships fall in love with the differences with their partners, not similarities. If you are the quiet type, you will find yourself in a relationship with an overly outgoing partner. However, what you find attractive in your partner could just be the thing that drives you crazy. Being open-minded as you enter into a relationship can save you a lot of stress. You will learn to have your partner just as they are.
You should never go to bed angry.
All couples in relationships have their own difficult days. You won’t resolve relationship issues with a magic wand. Relationships dictate that disagreements, feelings, and issues should be communicated and talked through. Of course, it is much better to resolve relationship conflicts before going to bed. However, it’s unrealistic to expect that you will be able to do so well past midnight.
Surely, you need to be out of bed early the following morning so you can prepare for work. You might be the type that needs to sleep, recharge, and think before talking about resolving an issue. So tell your partner you need space and decide when to carry on with the discussion or argument. In addition, you might just want to say you are sorry, even if you aren’t the one at fault. Do the wise thing and take a rest after saying you are sorry.
Good relationships don’t require work.
Far from it. All things that are worth having will take lots of effort. Your relationship does require lots of work. When you first come together, you have to merge your life, wants, desires, dreams, hopes, and needs. Yet these aspects of a relationship keep changing over time and with changing circumstances. This means you have to do lots of work as a couple to make the relationship succeed.
The work required to make a relationship work might be more or less as time goes by. No matter how the relationship is, you and your partner must invest in it lots of work and attention. If you and your partner have different interests and hobbies, learn respect what the other likes. Keep encouraging each other to pursue their interests and succeed in them. The more you invest in your partner, the more you get out of them.
You have to learn to love the worst qualities in your partner.
Most people have disgusting and impossible habits. Of course, they have their good side which you love them for. However, you don’t have to love your partner’s poor qualities and habits. All you can do is simply accept them, learn how to shrug them off, and diminish their importance. That way, you can be at peace with the choice to be in a relationship with an imperfect person.
You need to be compatible for your relationship to work.
That’s as far from the truth as can be. It’s the differences between the two of you that make your relationship interesting. Claus Wedekind is known for the T-shirt study. He showed that the pheromones you find most sexy are from people who are most genetically different from you. So the compatibility people talk about is not necessarily genetic. It has more to do with agreeability and conscientiousness. It is shown when partners in a relationship support each other’s views without being judgemental. Also accepting that you may be wrong and your partner right during an argument works to strengthen the relationship.
You are jealous because you love him or her.
It could be true or false. Of course, you would be jealous if you didn’t love your partner. However, the jealousy in your relationship could be due to relationship problems, lack of trust or self-confidence issues. You need to pause and reflect on the real reason for your jealousy. This is so as to avoid making anything rash.
However, if you are always jealous, there could be a problem with your temperament. In this case, you definitely have to make some changes which may involve trusting your partner more. Also, identify any underlying relationship problems and deal with them conclusively. If you are having confidence issues, then you need to believe in yourself more.
You are doomed because you fight all the time.
Your relationship won’t necessarily break up simply because you fight. This is because the likelihood of a break-up largely depends on the nature of the fight you are having. If you are having small arguments and disagreements, that’s just part of a normal relationship. Matthew D. Johnson says, “having disagreements in a relationship is very normal”.
The reason why you were attracted to each other, in the first place, was because of your differences. Since the two of you are different, it’s normal for you to think differently. It is completely healthy to communicate these feelings calmly. When handled in the right way, disagreements are healthy. However, letting your fights get out of hand is something you should avoid. Seek counseling or an alternative way to resolve your relationship problems. When the fighting gets physical, it’s time to call it quits.
Your partner needs to change for you to be happy.
It is normal and healthy for people in a relationship to make changes and compromises. It’s much better when such change if self-initiated. You can never force someone to change. It just doesn’t work. Allow your partner the liberty to want to change themselves. This is the only way they can put in real work to ensure self-improvement. However, the question you should ask yourself is if the changes your partner makes will actually make you happy. Why depend on your partner for your happiness?
When you are in a romantic relationship, you are bound to get an element of joy. However, true happiness should come from within. First, place, never go into a relationship looking for happiness. First, build the levels of your inner satisfaction and you will be happy no matter the foibles of your partner.
The spark in the relationship fades out once you are married.
People spend too much time, effort, and money to have a grand wedding. What follows once you are settled down in marriage seems like an anti-climax. Marriage is not an event; the wedding is! You need to look at marriage as one of your life’s greatest adventures. In marriage, you are supposed to have fun and grow. In essence, marriage should be fulfilling, exciting, and challenging. But that’s not to say that marriage is supposed to be like that every day. After all, you and your partner are in a
In essence, marriage should be fulfilling, exciting, and challenging. But that’s not to say that marriage is supposed to be like that every day. After all, you and your partner are in a relationship of two humans. However, being in a healthy relationship should enable you to evolve positively. It should leave you energized, not drained. Both of you will definitely overcome obstacles together and grow. Your team will get stronger as the passion builds up. Common milestones such as bringing a child into the world should make your relationship stronger.
True love is all about passion.
For your relationship to be healthy, there has to be an element of fire and passion at the heart of it. However, never rule out the place of practicality. You should feel at home when you are at home. Great chemistry doesn’t necessarily work on its own to make you feel at home. Great love or sex doesn’t work on its own either. Your relationship definitely needs substance, trust, common values, a common vision, and great communication.
Both parties in the relationship have to make an effort towards this. Find out what the common connections in the relationship are. Are they all about physical attraction or everyday fun activities? Are your conversations deep enough? If you are lacking a physical or mental connection, ensure you enhance it. If you don’t, your relationship is bound to suffer.
Clearly, those seemingly lovey-dovey relationships from the movies are nothing but fairy tales. For your relationship to work, you must put in lots of work. You also need lots of understanding for your relationship to endure the test of time.
David Smallis the founder and editor of relationshiptips4u. He is a dating, marriage & relationship coach, speaker, and author. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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