Getting married is easy, but staying happy in a marriage is a challenge. Whether you’ve been married for two years or two decades, you and your partner would still argue about things. Even couples who managed to stay together for a couple of decades opt for divorce because of constant arguing. According to the American Psychological Association, almost 50% of married couples get a divorce. When things are not going well, getting marriage advice might be able to help.
Seeking marital advice is a good way to improve a relationship. Couples can get advice from free counseling, from a trusted friend, or from a family member. However, getting good advice is almost as easy as getting a bad one. Depending on the situation, a piece of bad advice might make things worse than before. Here are some common bad marriage advice and why couples need to avoid them.
1. “Use sex as a bargaining tool to get what you want.”
Using sex as a bargaining tool is one of the most common advice for partners when a certain problem arises. Do you need something from your partner? Did he or she do something that pissed you off? Although it seems like a good tactic, using sex as either a punishment, reward, or a manipulation tool is an example of bad marriage advice.
This tactic solves nothing and can cause further complications between the two of you. Sex is not a reward that you dangle at your partner to get them to do your bidding. In situations where you desperately need something to work out, the best thing to do is to talk to her or to him. The worst thing that could happen is that your partner would likely be tempted to look for it elsewhere. An even damaging result is that both of you would be distant to each other both emotionally and sexually.
2. “Involving other people to your marriage problems.”
“Misery loves company”, we heard this quote at least once in our life, and it’s very real in a lot of real-life cases. It might be very tempting to share our misery with others, especially problems in marriage. After all, if we want to get decent advice, we would need to tell every detail to the one who’s willing to listen, right? That might not be the case for a lot of people.
Making marriage problems public is a piece of bad marriage advice. This is because we usually focus on the wrongs that the other person did to us and has a tendency to lash out or vent frustration to other people. Once you told every inch of details to someone, his or her impression of your partner will likely stay the same.
The things that you say about your partner will stay as the first impression to other people. As a result, even after you and your partner settled your differences and moved on, the opinion of other people might stay the same. To make matters worse, what if the person you trusted decided to spread your story to others? It’s likely that your partner will receive a have a bad reputation. This incident can cause more fighting between the two of you.
Try to settle disagreements with your partner privately. If you really feel the need to share with other people to settle your problems, a free marriage counseling or talking to a trusted person is recommended.
3. “Be involved in everything your partner does.”
While this might seem like a piece of a good idea, this is an example of bad marriage advice. As husband and wife, it is important to know things about your partner’s activities. It is acceptable to ask your partner about today’s plans (e.g. going out with friends). However, it is not necessary to ask about each and every detail of the day’s activities. You don’t want to make your partner feel like a soldier who needs to report everything to the higher-ups. Give your partner some breathing room to be themselves and carry out activities on their own.
In return, you can also do things that you want to do, such as going out with friends and enjoy your hobbies. The fact that you and your partner have activities you carry out separately does not mean you’re going about your marriage wrongly. Growing individually will largely benefit your marriage.
4. “The silent treatment technique”
Most people want the concept of a “perfect marriage”. The truth is, that concept is likely impossible. There will always be an issue in each marriage, however big and small the issue might be. On some cases, such issues will cause the marriage to break. However, if addressed properly, these issues can strengthen a marriage. According to APA, one of the things that keeps a relationship healthy is open communication. Communication cannot flourish if each party uses the silent treatment.
Using the silent treatment is not only emotionally manipulative, it is also emotionally and mentally draining. While you might benefit from this, your partner might grow resentful towards you. Silent treatment kills a relationship by giving the feeling of less satisfaction and disconnection with each other. To talk about issues with your partner does not always mean to confront them. Instead, think of it as a way to solve the problem and its root effectively.
5. “Marriage is easy if you marry the right person.”
Marriage is never easy, even if you feel like you married the right person. The fact that you are two different individuals means there will always be a clash of interest and differences. Expect fights over major topics and even on petty things. It’s also unfair to assume that your partner should know every little thing about you because of your change throughout the years.
However, this does not mean that marriage cannot work out. Instead, embracing your differences and having great respect for each other are some of the keys for a successful marriage. Even if you marry the right person, life will still throw lemons at your direction. Marriage, just like every other relationship, takes constant work, effort, forgiveness and time.
6. “Never disagree with your partner. Always ensure you are on the same page.”
As absurd as this might seem, arguments are important in a relationship. With arguments, you can learn more about each, which helps in overcoming hurdles in the marriage. If you always agree to your partner, you will likely lose your individuality. This can cause less satisfaction for your married life. Instead of improving the marriage, this mindset can destroy it in the long run.
A good marriage is not a marriage without disagreements. Instead, is one where both couples manage to remain together after experiencing a lot of arguments throughout the years. Whenever conflict arises, look for ways to come to a compromise and settle the conflict. Sometimes, disagreeing with your partner and pointing out a flaw in an idea is necessary to help your partner grow individually.
7. “The passion and romance in a good marriage will always be blazing hot.”
Every married couple wants the passion and romance of their marriage to stay lit forever. When it starts to fade, you will start to believe that you got into a wrong marriage. This is the case for a lot of people. Unfortunately, most of these cases turn into divorce, or in the worst case scenario, indifference.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Over time, the passion and romance will dwindle compared to how it was when you first started your relationship. Even though passion and romance started to get cold, it doesn’t mean that these are gone.
You and your partner can always rekindle the fire and get it going. Take a break, go on dinner dates, and feel young again. With some adjustments and effort, both of you will feel the fire burn once again.
8. “Your family is everything. Always put your partner and children first.”
“Family should come first.”It seems like a rational idea, and also a responsible one, to put your kids and partner first before yourself. In taking care of your family, it is expected that you need to make sacrifices. However, sacrificing too much and not leaving something for yourself is not also a great idea. What if you’re already sacrificing a lot of things such as your physical and mental health?
If you want to take care of your family, you should first take care of yourself. Need a break? Go for it. Want to do something different? Pursue it. Taking a break or doing activities which help you unwind does not make you a bad parent or spouse. So don’t forget to put yourself first along with your spouse and your children.
9. “Marriage will change them.”
This advice is usually given to people who see flaws in their partner before marriage but choose to believe that somehow these flaws will change when they get married. In some cases, this is actually true. However, in order for this to work, you need to help your partner work out his or her flaws.
Marriage is not a magic wand that changes people. If you see warning signs before your wedding day, take them seriously. If loving you isn’t enough to change a person, getting married to them will not change them either.
10. “Never go to bed angry.”
This advice is one of the most popular marriage advice. However, according to experts, there are times when this advice can be harmful to the relationship. According to Elizabeth Earnshaw from Pennsylvania, if the two parties are too drained to make a grownup conversation, it is better to take a rest and re-approach your partner on another time. This way, both parties are calm and is not too emotional to avoid a heated conflict.