10 MYTHS ABOUT MARRIAGE

Growing up I remember shows like The Walton’s, Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, Happy Days, Bewitched, I Love Lucy and others. Most of these shows showed us a traditional family of mom, dad, and kids. They didn’t seem to have any real problems because there are no story lines about prior marriages, step-children, lack of sex, chores, physical abuse, infidelity, drinking problems, drugs, dropping out of school and threats or even thoughts of divorce.

We got the idea from shows like this that marriages were perfect, every one’s needs were always met, children raised themselves and never caused problems. And no matter what, you always lived happily-ever-after. Wow, how untrue.

I require in every wedding I do that I have premarital counseling with the couple. I also do some marriage counseling for couples who have been married and are having problems. In counseling there are always some things I pick up on that are myths or untruths about marriage that we have created in our minds over time. Here are a few I’ve noticed…

  1. GOD WANTS ME TO BE HAPPY: I’ve heard this phrase more than any other. Most of the time it’s from the person that’s wanting out of a marriage and they are looking for a reason. “But I believe God wants me to be happy in marriage and I’m not,” has been muttered a million times. Understand this, happiness comes and goes in marriage. You will not always be happy all of the time. It’ll take work from both sides to be happy.

  2. THE KEY TO A LONG MARRIAGE IS ROMANTIC LOVE AND SOME LUCK: I can’t help but smile when young couples who are wanting to get married tell me, “Trey, we’ll be alright. When things get bad, we’ll live off the love we have for each other.” It’s at this time I’m usually looking for a trash can so I can throw up. Believe it or not, marriages that last are built on good old-fashion work; no one ever “lives on love.” Good marriages and even great marriages don’t just happen, they take work. What kind of work? Read a book, attend a weekend marriage seminar, go through a His Needs Her Needs class, take a weekend to get away without the kids, be willing to make changes in your own life or simply start by asking your spouse “How are we doing?”

  3. HAVING KIDS WILL BRING YOU CLOSER TOGETHER AS A HUSBAND AND WIFE: Actually most studies show the opposite. The stress of having children often pushes the struggling marriage of a husband and wife farther apart. If you have children make sure you maintain your relationship with your spouse. Continue to date, spend time together and go for walks to keep your relationship strong with your spouse. If you focus 100% of your time and energy on your children you relationship with suffer from it.

  4. COUPLES WHO LIVE TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF HAVING A LONG LASTING MARRIAGE: Actually that’s false. The divorce rate is quite a bit higher for couples who have lived together before marriage than it is for those who didn’t.

  5. ALL MY NEEDS WILL BE MET ALL THE TIME IN MARRIAGE: That’s a big whopping lie. Hopefully your spouse will do everything they can to meet your needs, but thinking every need will be met at just the perfect time is unrealistic. There will be times in your marriage that “romance” will be lacking. Your spouse won’t always be there at your every beckon call for sexual fulfillment. Plain and simple, your goal is not to get your own needs met in marriage, but to meet your spouse’s needs and in turn they meet yours.

  6. MY SPOUSE WILL KNOW MY NEEDS WITHOUT ME SAYING ANYTHING: No way. Just because you are married doesn’t mean your spouse can read your mind. You have to tell your spouse what your needs are in order to have them met. Quit giving your spouse the stupid old phrase of, “We’ll you should know my needs without me having to tell you.”

  7. CONFLICT WILL NEVER HAPPEN IN MARRIAGE: Conflict happens in every marriage. In fact, conflict can often bring growth in your marriage. I’m not saying that the couple who is constantly having a knock-down-drag-out will have a healthy marriage, but that working through conflict can bring marital growth.

  8. A HAPPY MARRIAGE WILL NOT HAVE PROBLEMS: Every marriage will have its problems. Couples who truly love each other have problems and stress just as any other two people. In order to make it through the difficult times, the couple must have a commitment to each other and effective and honest communication. Seek help when you come to an impasse.

  9. MARRIED PEOPLE HAVE LESS SEX AND LESS SATISFYING SEX THAN SINGLE PEOPLE: I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this, but it’s just not true (read this). According to a national survey, married people have more sex than their single counterparts and report more physical and emotional satisfaction. Maybe it’s because it the way God created it to be!!!

  10. MY SPOUSE WILL CHANGE AFTER WE’RE MARRIED & THINGS WILL BE BETTER AFTER WE’RE MARRIED: People and things do change. However, the most accurate prediction of the kind of companion your spouse will be in the future is the kind of companion he or she is right now. Those who marry a person with the intention of overhauling their personality or of converting them usually face serious disappointments.

In the long run, marriage is built on good old-fashion work. Your marriage needs love, support, tolerance, communication, realistic expectations, caring, nurturing, and even a sense of humor to be successful.

Did I leave any “myths” off that you can think of?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
24 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Tim Archer says:

    Thanks, Mr. List, those look great.

    I might add:
    “MOM’S/DAD’S WAY WAS THE RIGHT WAY” You know, the old “At my house, mom always mowed the grass.”

    Also…
    “SEXUAL TEMPTATION WILL DISAPPEAR WHEN WE’RE MARRIED” Maybe couples don’t fall for that, but churches seem to. “Let’s get a married youth minister so we don’t have any problems.” Do a quick survey… more problems have occurred with married ministers than unmarried ones.

    OK, back to your regularly scheduled blog now…

    Grace and peace,
    Tim

  2. Alan Gable says:

    How about…
    “There will always be enough money to pay the bills…”

  3. Liz Moore says:

    How about if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy… oh wait that might not be a myth! Just kidding! I loved your list. I think it’s something every engaged couple should read and study before they are married. Blessings!

  4. John Roberts says:

    Great list! I’m adding it to my handouts to give to couples in pre-marriage counseling.

  5. AncientWanderer says:

    For once you have compiled a list that needs no improvement. It is balanced – fair – accurate…. I hate it. How am I supposed to come up with some pithy, humorous remark.

    This is blogging at it’s worst. :)

  6. Mommysmart says:

    Perfect list and one that we should all read to remind ourselves.

  7. Anonymous says:

    amen!
    romance is great but an abuse.
    “life is not a fairy tale”
    which is just another way of saying what you said.

    thanks
    brian

  8. TREY MORGAN says:

    Excellent additions Tim, Alan and Liz. All you guys sure enjoy giving me a hard time about my “lists.”

    As for the “If momma ain’t happy …” phrase, that one is true. No myth there.

  9. Danny says:

    Absolutely right on the money post- especially myths 4 & 5.

    This is good stuff and I plan to use it and share it.

  10. Chris says:

    Great list, Trey. As usual, you deliver.

    As far as some other possible marriage myths, how about:

    1. Ignoring issues will make them go away.

    2. Men shouldn’t have to help with dishes or the laundry.

    3. There is no danger in platonic relationships.

    4. The children should come first.

    5. Our faith will keep us together.

    Interestingly enough, Trey, all of these are summed up with your statement that a marriage takes work!

    Great relationships aren’t easy, they are built over time and all the hard work is worth the result.

  11. James says:

    Trey,
    I too think the “list” is good. I would take exception with one. I do not think it is a myth that God wants us to be happy.

    We simply define it wrongly and use it as an excuse if it is not a reality. The sermon on the mount is about being happy. It is sad when rather than choosing the happy life we rebel and want to live the selfish life.
    James

  12. ben overby says:

    Trey,

    How about this one: “My spouse is obliged to satisfy my sexual appetite regardless of what I ask.”

    I’ve counseled several couples who were in trouble because in one case the wife was asked to smoke, where a blond wig, and have sex she was very uncomfortable with. In another case the husband would watch porn half the night and then expect his wife to act like a porn star. Needless to say, to her it was very degrading. Neither man could conquer his demons and both ended up divorced, leaving hurt wives in the wake.

    Ben Overby

  13. DJG says:

    – We will always agree on how to discipline our children

    – I/he/she could never love anyone else.

    – I am protecting him/her by not telling her/him everything….

  14. The Preacher's Household: says:

    Great list and great add ons! I’m with Don. I really can’t think of anymore at the moment.

  15. The Preacher's Household: says:

    On second thought, Maybe to add to #2 the whole myth of ‘falling in love’. If you can fall in love then you can fall out. Love is not a hole. It is a state of being that as you said requires work to remain a constant.
    Also, I think it is important for people to realize that they are not always going to feel that warm fuzzy feeling of first love, or of love at all. That is when you hang on just for the sake of hanging on regardless of feelings. Work work work (and fun fun fun- make sure you have a little of both.)
    Kathy

  16. TREY MORGAN says:

    James – I see your point. I think we may be talking about two different aspects of “happiness.”

    Ben – I think that’s an excellent example. And I think I’ve counseled with the same couple.

    Donna – More good additions.

    Kathy – You bring up a good point about falling into and out of love. When you love your wife you are supposed to love her “Agape-Love” which is something you choose to do. Paul said, “Husband’s love (agape – choose to) your wives. That makes it hard to “fall into love” which is something you don’t have a choice in. “I just fell in love” sounds like something you stepped in on accident.

  17. john dobbs says:

    Another great post ListMan!

    Your sermon on Jesus Saving us in our Storms was really good.

    Thanks for sharing so many good things.

  18. Matthew says:

    Very helpful stuff, I will use it in some of my premarital counseling.

  19. Monalea says:

    Wow, I’m stunned. I thought all these were true. Ha ha! Good list.

    Monalea aka www

  20. Neva says:

    Great list, brother

    Peace
    neva

  21. Anonymous says:

    saw a headline and found this.
    haven’t read through it closely, but looks to be helpful

    brian

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/LIVING/
    personal/08/02/o.marriage.questions
    /index.html

    (copy and paste it)

  22. Jeanne M. says:

    Being in the “old” generation, I must say I grew up in a mostly Ozzie/Harriet – Ward family home. Of course, there were problems, but they were worked out with love and concern for the other people. This is what the TV shows often did, too. I am very sorry for those who did not have this kind of family relationship, and know I had an extra blessing that does not come often. My marriage is a lot like my parents’ – takes two, with each giving 100%, not 50% – looking for the good in the other person, and overlooking a lot.

  23. Karen Sherman, Ph.D. says:

    Being a relationships expert, I absolutely agree that it is essential that a couple have the proper expectations rather than myths going into their relationship. Regarding #7 about conflicts – not only will a couple have conflicts – but how they manage their conflicts will determine how well they thrive. I offer a FREE teleseminar to teach the “7 Tools to Manage Communication Conflict.” To hear it, go to: http://choicerelationships.com/teleseminar_resources

  24. TREY MORGAN says:

    Mike – Amen to “the one.”

    Brian – very interesting stuff from Oprah. Some good points too.

    Jeanne – You’re a wise woman. Although, I’m not sure who Ozzie and Harriet are :)

    Karen – thanks for stopping by and giving imput. Excellent points regarding conflict!

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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