The Bad Relationship Habit You Need to Break ASAP

Comparing Your Couple to Others

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We all compare our relationships — even when we know it's not good for us. Who do you compare yours to? Your annoying Facebook friend with her perfectly curated marriage ("My husband brought me flowers again, third time this week!!!")? The athletic blonde-and-blue-eyed couple next door? George and Amal?

For most brides, the couple they compare their relationship to is their mom and dad. As in "Mom and Dad don't fight over what type of couch to buy for two months, like my fiancé and I are."

You're right: your parents do not spend two months arguing over buying a black Italian leather sectional or something slipcovered and shabby chic. No, they don't after 25 years of marriage. But back when they were engaged, they had those same fights. Through these fights and over the course of many years of living together, they eventually developed "their" style. But don't forget: There was a time when they were beginners at this whole marriage thing.

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So don't compare the challenges you're facing in your relationship to more established marriages. That's a recipe for disaster. Because these long-married couples also endured their own getting-to-know-you and figuring-out-our-way of doing things. It just happened a long time ago.

If you must compare (we know you're human; we do too), make it an apple-to-apple comparison: of an engaged couple, in the same stage of relationship, on who you have the inside emotional scoop about what really goes on between them. And steer clear of the curated love you see on your Instagram feed.

Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is the author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the '"Happiest" Time of Her Life and has been helping brides feel happier, calmer and better prepared for marriage since 2002. She is a bridal counselor, an expert in engagement anxiety and cold feet, and the founder of Emotionally Engaged Counseling for Brides.

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