As my husband and I approach our tenth wedding anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about married life. Is it what I thought it would be? In some ways it is. And in other ways it’s not. So just for fun, let’s talk about some marriage myths.
Myth 1. People don’t change.
Never marry or commit to someone hoping he will change, because you’ll wind up disappointed. But as we age, we evolve. Think about it: are you the same as you were 10 years ago?
I’m not the same person I was 10 years ago. Most of my core values are the same, and some have changed.
My life experiences have made me more empathetic, more patient, more health-conscious and more goal-oriented. I’ve built a house, launched a freelance career, given birth to 2 sons, adopted 1 daughter, nurtured a marriage, made new friendships and become a runner. I’ve made mistakes. Lots of them. I’ve said unkind words and regretted them. I’ve also become brave enough to reach out to strangers in kindness. I’ve lived through amazing highs and terrible lows.
I’ve evolved. My husband, too, has evolved during our 10 years together. And I’ll bet you have evolved in the past 10 years, as well. When you marry or commit to someone as a long-term partner, you must be prepared to support and nurture that evolution. (We all know by now you can’t change your partner – but don’t count on your partner remaining exactly the same.)
Myth 2. Marriage is an equal partnership in all things.
Some friends of my husband’s divide up household chores into Pink Jobs and Blue Jobs. The wife does the Pink Jobs, like laundry and dishes, and the husband does the Blue Jobs, like fixing the screen door and taking out the garbage.
Whether you divide your duties based on tradition or skill, sometimes it feels like you’re doing way more than your partner is.
And that’s okay. Because sometimes he feels like he’s doing way more than you are, … and sometimes neither of you realize how much the other one is really doing.
In our house, my husband does way more hand dishes than I do. I hate hand-washing dishes. I do way more laundry than he does. He does way more yard work, and I always bathe the kids. He hates cleaning the stovetop, so I usually do that. I hate cleaning the shower, so he usually does it.
If you focus on making everything equal all the time, life turns into more of a competition than living. Find a balance that works for both of you, and go with it.
Myth 3. You’ll always like your spouse.
My husband and I had a whirlwind romance. He proposed just a few weeks after we started dating, and we married 6 months later. At the time, I found him so charming and adorable. I loved everything about him, from his dimples to his quick wit.
Now that we’ve known each other for a decade, I admit, I sometimes want to punch him in the face. I’m sure he feels the same way about me. There are days when we just drive each other crazy.
I’m not talking pet peeves. I’m talking honest-to-goodness dislike.
Marriages and long-term relationships go through seasons. Some are better than others. Some feel longer than others. Some make you want to hurl yourself off a cliff or hop on the next flight to outer space.
What’s the secret?
Don’t take disliking your spouse too seriously. (Of course, if he’s always an asshole and you never like him, that’s call for a more serious discussion—I’m referring here to the occasional dislike.)
Chalk it up to a bad day or a bad week, and find a way to reconnect and start liking each other again.
Myth 4. You should always kiss goodnight.
Well … not if you’re afraid you’ll claw his face if you get within kissing distance. Some nights it’s better go to bed angry than to have it out like you really want to. My husband and I always say goodnight and that we love each other, but sometimes the words come out in a growl.
Myth 5. Marriage is boring.
Marriage is fascinating.
Watching someone you love grow and change over time—as an individual, as a parent, as a career person—is remarkable. When you truly love someone, it’s an honor to play a role in his transformation as a person… and to lean on him as you transform too.
In a good marriage, two people grow together. They find new hobbies or cultivate old ones. They develop certain facets of their personalities. They do fun things (and chores) together. They talk about their feelings, discuss their days.
They struggle together, trudging through life’s muddy spots arm in arm. They celebrate together, toasting life’s bright spots side by side.
And that is anything but boring.
What do you guys think? What are some myths you believe or believed about marriage? I’d love to hear from you.