We go to school for 12 years, some go on to college, and a few even go on to graduate school. With so much education, you’d think that we would learn a thing or two about relationships! Yet somehow these five myths have been floating around for a while, threatening to strain our romantic relationships.
Not only are we not learning the secrets to great relationships, we are actually listening to incorrect information.
Let’s bust these myths once and for all.
Myth #1: Relationships Are Hard Work
When you believe that relationships are hard work, then your love life becomes about as much fun as cleaning the toilets and mopping floors. When you’re in a relationship with your beloved, being together shouldn’t be a chore.
They do, however, require attention. Fortunately, when you’re in love, you want to spend time with your mate. When tending to the relationship is a shared goal, then enjoying life together becomes a pleasure and a privilege! My book 75 Habits for a Happy Marriage offers easy and fun ways to nurture your relationship so it doesn’t feel like hard work.
Myth #2: Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
Quite the opposite—love means that when you mess up, you apologize. Your partner will see the best of you and the worst of you. They’ll see you when you’re angry, tired, hungry, and sleep deprived. If you are cranky, or worse, nasty, even when it feels like you have a good reason, then say that you’re sorry. You can teach your partner how to apologize by your example.
Having a quarrel is inevitable. How you “repair” your quarrel is your choice. So say “I’m sorry” and then have fun kissing and making up.
Myth #3: Neither of Us Could Ever Have an Affair
You may think that each of you is devoted, moral, and loyal. And yes, you probably both have the best of intentions. However, we all have needs for emotional and physical intimacy. Therefore, if you start to neglect your relationship or develop parallel lives, it’s likely that one or the other of you could start looking for intimacy, even unintentionally, outside the marriage.
When you know that an affair is possible, it keeps you motivated to tend to your relationship and make sure that both of you are feeling satisfied. Don’t take your fidelity for granted.
Myth #4: Once We Get Married, Then Everything Will Be Perfect
If you’re dating or living together, sometimes there is the fantasy that everything will be better if you just get a ring and a legal document of commitment. Then, you think you’ll feel safe, happy, and settled.
Unfortunately, relationships don’t work that way. Marriage brings its own array of stresses (financial, legal, etc.) It isn’t a magic pill to fix or improve a relationship. If you can’t be happy together before marriage, it’s unlikely that a ceremony is going to cure what ails you. First, make your relationship great, and then maybe marriage will be in the cards.
Myth #5: My Partner Knows That I Love Him, So I Don’t Need to Say It
Wrong again. We all need to hear this in multiple ways, over and over again. So tell your partner with words, with love notes, with gifts, with thoughtful gestures, with texts, with phone messages, with hugs, and with healthy relationship habits every day!
We are wired to attach to people and we need to know every day that we matter, that we’re appreciated, and that someone has chosen us to be their special one. Don’t assume that your partner is feeling this, show them again and again. An outpouring of love strengthens your bond and ensures that your partner doesn’t feel taken for granted.
Improve your relationship education and bust these five myths out of your life. Once you do, you’ll be well on your way to living happily ever after.
This article was originally published on The Huffington Post.
Ashley Davis Bush, LICSW is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in couples therapy, grief counseling, and trauma recovery.