Because I hang out in unsavory places like Facebook, Twitter and social media, I see a lot of misinformation about what healthy marriage and relationships are like, so I thought I’d correct the most prevalent ones.
Myth: Happy couples don’t argue
Myth: We don’t need to talk about the relationship
I often recommend couples increase their mutual respect and appreciation by having a regular “State of the Union” meeting, to enhance your cooperation, tolerance and rationality, and to defuse conflict as soon as it arises. Whether you are single, dating, married or have a family, this meeting date will make a tremendous difference in the emotional tenor of the relationship. If you’re blending a family from previous situations, it will make a huge difference in your success.
If you set a pattern of doing this early in a relationship, it will be easy to expand the group to include children if you have them. For relationships and families that are already established, it might feel a bit awkward to begin the meetings at first, but if you follow the steps below, everyone will soon experience the value of having an appropriate time and place to talk about issues and plans. As you clear the air, everyone will relax, problems will be minor, and the couple or whole family can use the time for bonding, sharing stories and experiences, and creating quality time together.
Myth: Spouses don’t need to court each other; once you’re committed you can relax
Remembering to court each other regularly during the course of the relationship will keep the excitement alive. Remember all the fun ways you first drew each other into your lives, and be sure to keep up that effort. You’ll both be glad you did, and your relationship will be much stronger for it.
Myth: It’s normal to be bored with your spouse
Myth: It’s weird to have individual social interests or take separate vacations
But if there isn’t a certain degree of similarity between you and your partner, it will be too stressful to last. The excitement and challenge of your relationship comes from your differences; the security and ease of your relationship comes from your similarities. Some separate activities honor the individual in a relationship. Having your own social scene and taking trips without your spouse actually promotes your sense of self worth and giving each other the space to be yourselves and keep that unique appeal you each once had actually helps strengthen your relationship, not hurt it.
Myth: You don’t need to be polite and considerate all the time with your partner
Let your partner know you appreciate what he or she does, personality traits, (i.e.: his sense of humor, her generosity, his practicality, her hard work) and companionship. The more you praise what you like, the more you’ll get of it. We all want to be appreciated. Celebration + appreciation = motivation.
Myth: There’s no time for fun in a relationship, especially with kids
Finding new ways to have fun together can also be an exciting challenge. Consider going to unexplored places (a coffee shop or museum), or just branching out and watching a different comedy show together when the kids are asleep. When you do have time alone as a couple, do some of the things you did when you were first together. You are more than just parents. You began as lovers, and you need to keep that in mind.
Myth: Someone has to be in charge in the relationship
Myth: A relationship requires a lot of sacrifice
Myth: If you let your partner know you’re angry, you’ll start a fight
Busting these Myths, and correcting the corresponding habits and behaviors will set the tone and create an atmosphere where your relationship can thrive. They’re like the water, sun and fertilizer to a plant: the natural necessities of relationships.
© Tina B. Tessina. Adapted from: Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences (Kindle and Paperback)
Author Bio: Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 35 years’ experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, Dr. Romance’s Guide to Dating in the Digital Age; The Ten Smartest Decisions a Woman Can Make After Forty; Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences and her newest, The Real 13th Step. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.
Online, she’s known as “Dr. Romance.” Dr. Tessina appears frequently on radio, TV, video and podcasts
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