Getting married soon? Been married for while now? Thinking about getting married one day?
Brace yourself. You're going to get a lot of marriage advice, most of it unsolicited, some of it reasonable and sound — and a whole bunch of it tinged with cynicism, warped by misinformation, or twisted by well-intentioned friends and family members whose experience with marriage might just have left them somewhat bitter about the whole experience.
There is good marriage advice. And there is bad marriage advice.
You're going to want to know which is which.
To aid you in that pursuit, YourTango reached out to a group of relationship experts and asked, "What is the 'best' marriage advice you've heard that actually is toxic and even potentially dangerous?"
Here are their answers.
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"Work" implies that you are constantly having to please your partner. Marriage should be seen as an emotional commitment that requires effort to maintain both harmony and romance.
That can mean keeping a clean house and having a date night. Conflict can and will come up but that doesn't mean you can't agree to disagree.
Managing expectations, being considerate, and avoiding the "c" words (criticism, contempt, complaints) are the keys to a happy marriage.
- Julia McCurley, matchmaker
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People say it should feel effortless when at times all relationships will be challenging.
They say you shouldn’t go to sleep angry when sometimes sleeping on it is exactly what you need. It’s important to remember marriage is not a one size fits all kind of deal.
You have to find what works for you and your partner. You have to be mindful that you are two evolving beings and at times you won’t feel as connected and will drift apart.
It’s up to you and your partner to put in the effort to reconnect.
- Erika Jordan, love coach, NLP
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An expectation that the couple will each contribute 50 percent financially to the expenses of the marriage and the family can create a toxic environment.
They could be earning very different amounts. One person could be taking on more of the parenting responsibilities, or even becoming a stay-at-home parent and taking a step back professionally to help the family.
Rather than trying to reduce the contributions to an arbitrary percentage or an amount have an honest conversation with your spouse and try to figure out not only what works for both of you financially short term, but also the possible long-term implications and how to address them in a fair way.
If you can't have honest conversations about this issue it can lead to a lot of resentment and fester over time. Also, don't feel like you have to explain what you and your spouse are doing financially to anyone else.
It is none of their business. Figure out what works for you and your spouse.
- Anna Krolikowska, Esq., Illinois divorce attorney
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Learning to "fight fair" is potentially toxic and dangerous. It's near impossible to remember a particular set of "rules" when emotions run hot.
Therefore, it sets couples up for failure.
When we fight with someone we love, the fear center of the brain is set off and we can't access our rational thoughts and reasoning abilities. I think there are ways to calm down the escalations but to expect fairness is probably not a reasonable expectation.
The repair after the fight is crucial. At some point, partners usually do calm down and that's a good opportunity to sit down face-to-face and create a safe environment to unpack what happened, try to walk in each others' shoes, and of course apologize if necessary.
- Marni Feuerman, LMFT
Assuming that your partner will be better off not knowing something is a rationalization that when exposed almost always immediately crumbles a stable, loving and flourishing household on top of itself.
Trust is dismantled, communication becomes strategic and difficult and quite frankly we cannot trust our own memories to tell the same story over and over.
Digging your way out of the wreckage can often take years of therapy and behavior modification.
Conversely, being radically honest and courageously intimate solidifies the bonds between couples. The truth is a powerful healer and also the most powerful form of growth and emergents.
On the other hand, there are solid marriages where the couples clearly agree not to discuss or share specific things. These “un-knowings” are by consent and almost always come with an understanding that the consent can change over time.
- Larry Michel, founder of the Institute of Genetic Energetics
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One commonly held belief is the idea that couples should "always put their partner first before themselves."
While this may seem like a commendable and selfless attitude, it can actually be detrimental to the health and well-being of both partners.
- Clare Waismann M-RAS/ SUDCC II
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No, not all couples fight. All couples do, however, disagree.
Fighting is a choice you both make because you don't know how to talk things out productively. All the techniques for "fighting fair" are great.
It's the permission to fight that is problematic because most people don't learn and use those techniques. Not just being given permission to fight, but actually being told it's both good and inevitable can do lasting harm to your relationship.
Even if you do have good repair techniques, and this is often a big "if," the damage done each time you fight is a withdrawal from your Love Bank Account.
The bigger the fight, the bigger the withdrawal, and the more damage that needs to be repaired.
- Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author
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A common piece of advice given to couples who are in sexless relationships or where one party has low desire and the other wants lots of sex — is to schedule sex.
And while this can work for some couples, for a lot of people, it actually further dampens their sex drive and turns sex into a pressure-filled experience, causing anxiety at just the thought of sex.
This can take a toll on your emotional health as well as the health of your marriage.
For that reason, it's important to work with a sex therapist or coach to find ways to create more desire and intimacy — ways that are applicable to your unique situation and marriage. Because sex should be fun, not another chore to cross off on your to-do list.
- Leigh Noran, sex therapist and coach
This is one piece of advice that is often heard by many people in their marriage journey if things are going south. It is an accepted fact that time is a healer, but it is no guarantee that the passage of time will help.
This is a two-edged sword that has the potential to be toxic and dangerous. It is better to make a decision at the early stage if things are really not working, rather than wait for time to pass.
- Sidhharrth S Kumaar, astro numerologist and relationship coach
This is terrible advice. Marriage is hard when it's a bad marriage.
But the belief that marriage requires work keeps many people struggling in the relationship when they should get out. Yes, all couples deal with difficulties and life tragedies, but in a good marriage, the partners support each other and solve problems together.
- Donna Andersen, relationship expert and author at Lovefraud.com
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Carter Gaddis is the senior editor for experts and wellness with YourTango.
This article originally appeared on YourTango2023-02-06T05:04:12Z dg43tfdfdgfd