What You were Taught about Marriage
Leads to 9 Ugly Results
I had a wise clinical supervisor, who happened to have a thriving private practice, say to me after my masters program, “If you want to be a top-notch therapist, you must unlearn what you’ve learned.”
He was right. I could not be an effective therapist by trying to implement theories and skills I had learned from a text book or from a teacher who had no clinical experience. Effective therapy had to come from within ME.
And you as well, to rebuild and create a love you can trust forever, must unlearn or rethink assumptions you were taught about love, marriage, intimacy and relational well-being.
In reality, most of us were not formally taught much about love or marriage. We had few if any classes, no books were recommended and no one spent much time talking about the ingredients of a healthy marriage. Instruction, if any, came in the form of moral or religious principles.
We learned about marriage by observing other marriages.
We learned about love from movies, television, tabloids, books, advertising and other forms of media as well as “locker room” talk and late night sessions with friends and peers.
Much of what we learned was inaccurate and/or distorted and has not served us well. The results indicate that much. The divorce rate hovers around 50%, and has so for years, and 9 out of 10 people report they are unhappy in their marriage. This probably does not include those who reluctantly accept a less than stellar form of intimacy in their marriage.
Look at the concept of “romance” or “falling in love.” We are taught through media and it’s deeply imprinted upon us that “romance” and “falling in love” is the ultimate in beginning a relationship and maintaining a marriage.
Billions each year are spent on Romance Novels, Valentine Day, weekend get aways to exotic places, chocolate, flowers, etc. We stare at grocery checkout tabloids that list the most recent romantic flame or flame-out of our celebrities.
I would be very wealthy if I received a dollar every time I heard the phrase from an unhappy marital partner, “I fell out of love, or I’m no longer in love” with my spouse. Or the belief, “We need more romance in our marriage.”
I want to twist your mind.
I want you to examine basic assumptions about love and marriage that cause you misery, unhappiness and a deteriorating marriage. I want you to throw away the illusions and distortions you were taught and incorporate new ways of thinking and feeling that will set you free from you misery and place you on the path, a rather enjoyable path, of creating a love you will enjoy and will last.
I’ve identified 9 faulty ideas about marriage and relationships. These ideas ofarriage are limiting at best and destructive at worst.
These ideas and assumptions often lead to:
- A pressure to perform in a marriage rather than be genuine.
- Responsibility is given to someone else, which reinforces one’s neediness, dependency and a sense of victimization and helplessness.
- Surface solutions and short term fix promises. There is no staying power, nothing to build on for the future.
- The faulty ideas often lead to phony marriages, with spouses responding as they think they should rather than constructively coming from the heart.
- Perpetuate illusions that keep one less than excited about the potential freedom and fun found in a marriage.
- Keep a couple cycling through the negativity and reactivity.
- Provide a false hope of shortcuts.
- Marital stagnation. There is no forward movement or consideration of growth and change being crucial in one’s future.
- Do not do justice to one’s uniqueness and spirit –key ingredients of creating a love and passion that is trustworthy and safe.
Once you dig into the faulty ideas and assumptions, these points will become clear.