Many years ago when I was having trouble in my marriage, I felt like all of the other couples I knew were effortlessly and happily sailing along. The truth is, married life is a challenge for every single couple. Many of us fall into the trap of believing that something is wrong with our relationship, even though what’s happening is perfectly normal. So, if all our time is spent thinking that the ship of our marriage is sinking, we’re not doing the thing we most need to do: learn how to sail.
Don’t let these relationship traps steer your marriage ship off of its happy course.
1. Marriage shouldn’t be such hard work.
This is a biggie. The misconception that marriage should be easier than it is keeps people from making an effort when they most need to – when things aren’t going well. Why not think, “If it takes this much work, we need some better tools to address our difficulties?”
Or, “If we have to work this hard, maybe there’s something I’m doing that’s making it even harder.” Better still, “If it takes this much work, we’re obviously committed to having a high-quality marriage.” Never lose sight of that commitment to each other and your relationship no matter how rough the waters become.
2. Fighting is a sign our marriage is in trouble.
Research has shown that couples who fight are no more unhappy and no more likely to divorce than couples who don’t. In fact, people who don’t fight can be having marital troubles as serious, or worse than those who fight tooth and nail.
There’s a world of difference between having good problem-solving skills that keep fights within bounds and stuffing things under the rug in the name of peace. Fights that do not end with repair are exhausting and problematic and erode a couple’s goodwill.
But couples whose conflicts lead to deeper understanding, empathy, and reconciliation report high levels of satisfaction and often consider their fights to be worthwhile.
3. People should only marry their soulmate.
You probably know at least one couple who are convinced that their husband/wife is the one and only person on earth for them and that they miraculously found each other.
In case that’s not you, don’t worry about it. Most of us marry someone who is a combination of positive and negative traits from our experiences of love growing up in our family.
Rather than thinking, “There must be some perfect someone out there and unfortunately I didn’t marry him/her,” a more healthy way to think about it is this: there are many hundreds, if not thousands, of suitable partners to choose from and we just need one.
Whomever we choose, he or she will sometimes push our buttons and sometimes touch our heart.
4. “Marriage” is the problem.
It’s amazing how much marriage gets a bad rap. People often talk about how half of all marriages fail rather than focus on the fifty to sixty percent of marriages that succeed.
They say marriage is the end of freedom, the end of romance, and the end of……fill in the blank with your favorite thing about sex.
People blame the institution of marriage rather than think, “Man I’m really not very good at this.” or “Wow, did I have unrealistic expectations!” Marriage is a tough teacher, and we all have plenty to learn.
5. Married couple are supposed to make each other happy.
Marriage is much more difficult than any of us expect and, when trouble arrives, our experience of being “happy” in our relationship can take quite a hit.
Some people assume that having a good marriage would mean that life with their partner should be blissful. Well, bliss is overrated and fleeting.
The key to marital happiness is to figure out how to be happy without needing to be “perfectly” happy. Happy couples aren’t happy 24/7, and they don’t expect to be. Sometimes they’re driven nuts by some of the things their spouse does.
Sometimes they face serious issues that don’t have quick and easy solutions. The most important thing to remember is that your happiness is your responsibility. Nobody can make you happy. YOU have to make YOU happy.
This article was republished from dailyvibes.org. You can find the original post here.