Psychological Self-Help

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940
Myths about marriage
Earlier we mentioned some common beliefs about love. There are
similar beliefs about marriage, some true and some false. Learning
how to cope involves unlearning popular misconceptions as well as
learning the truth. We certainly have many misconceptions about
marriage to unlearn (Lazarus, 1985; Glick & Kessler, 1974; Lederer &
Jackson, 1968). We, unfortunately, make important decisions on the
basis of these misleading beliefs. Examples: People marry because
they are passionately "in love." Married people "love" (again, meaning
wild ecstatic passion) each other. Maintaining romantic love is the key
to marital happiness. Marriages should be totally happy and most of
life's satisfactions should come from the partner. Men and women are
very different emotionally. Opposites always attract. Marriage will cure
loneliness. Family "togetherness" is crucial. Partners must be totally
honest and tell all. Marriage requires total trust. Good marriage
partners agree on every issue and never fight. Incompatible couples
can't have a successful marriage. Volatile marriages never last, quiet
unions last. 
More myths: good sex means a good marriage. An affair means
there are problems in the marriage. An affair will destroy a marriage.
A good partner never thinks of him/herself. The husband's work is
more important than the wife's career. Husbands are happier when
their wives are homemakers. Competition between spouses adds zest.
In an argument someone has to be wrong and it is important to know
who. Most marriages can't survive a period of hate. In a good
marriage, sex will take care of itself. Married people understand each
other without talking. Good marriages simply happen ("are made in
heaven") and don't require attention or work. A lover can be made
over to your liking after the marriage. In a secure, devoted marriage,
things do not change. Everyone knows what makes for a good wife
and a good husband. Having children will improve and stabilize a
marriage. Today's "normal" family is happy and doesn't have any real
problems. Even a poor marriage should be held together for the
children's sake. After the "high" of the first few months, marriage is all
work and disagreements. Once gone, love can't be rekindled. You must
feel positive towards your spouse before you can change your behavior
towards him/her. If a marriage is not working out, an affair will help.
Getting a divorce and finding another partner will solve most of the
problems. 
All of these "beliefs" are wrong to some extent; yet, there may be
some truth in them. We misunderstand so much about love and
marriage, it's not surprising that we aren't very good at loving, yet.
But even though our ignorance leads to upsetting disagreements with
our partner, the love is so thrilling and the companionship so satisfying
that romantic relationships are a vital part of our lives. We should
learn all we can about loving and insist that research tell us more of
what we need to know to have a good love life. 
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