Marriage is rewarded with gifts and tax breaks and shared health insurance. The pooling of resources makes it easier to rent a nicer apartment, buy a house, and even travel. Directly and indirectly, we are told marriage will make you happy, but will it?
A happy marriage does a lot for health, wealth, and personal fulfillment. One study found it's as stabilizing as earning over $100,000 a year and the health equivalent of quitting smoking, but an unhappy marriage undoes all that and then some. Here are five myths that can challenge even the most promising marriages.
- Love is all you need: While it's certainly a prerequisite, it won't get you much farther than the altar. Communication, shared values, tolerance, realistic expectations, commitment, and kindness are just a few requirements for a good marriage.
- You complete each other: Complementing each other is definitely a benefit of a good relationship, but expecting another person to make up your shortcomings is an unrealistic expectation.
- You share everything: Sharing may be caring, but sharing everything is unrealistic, too. What will be shared and what will be kept separate is different for every couple. Telling yourself otherwise just creates another problem.
- Babies bring you closer: Babies definitely make parents forever entwined, but several studies show the birth of a first child often pushes people apart. I'd say the worst loneliness is one felt in a relationship, because it contradicts everything we expect to feel.
- Everything will fall into place with Mr. or Mrs. Right: How often have you heard of people breaking up because "it shouldn't be so hard"? While there may be some truth to that, expecting a relationship to run on autopilot if it's right removes all responsibility from the only two people who can make it work.
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