Married sex sucks. All you need is love. Happily ever after doesn't ever happen.
Marriage myths like these perpetuate our society, convincing us they're real. But luckily, our experts are here to wade through the lies and get to the truth, busting seven all-too-common marriage myths. You might be surprised to find out that much of what you believed about marriage is more fiction than fact.
1. Marriage is where sex goes to die.
Think your single friends have more sex than you? Think again. "The truth of the matter is that married couples have sex more often than single people," says Lesli Doares, marriage coach and author of Blueprint For A Lasting Marriage. Not only do married couples get down more often, "but research also suggests that their sex is also more enjoyable. This is because they have the time to really develop trust that allows them to be more open about their desires and what feels good."
2. Having sex with the same person for the rest of your life is boring.
While we're talking about sex, there's a little rumor floating around that sex with your spouse gets inevitably boring over time. But, says Doares, "people's bodies and desires don't stay the same over time, so sex changes too. This actually allows for more experimentation to find what will work at that point in time."
3. All you need is love.
If The Beatles said it, it must be true, right? Wrong. (No offense, Beatles.) "Love is great but it is not enough," says Doares. "Most couples get married because they love each other and believe that everything will just work out. But marriage is unlike any other relationship you will ever be a part of, and there are skills you can learn that will help keep your love alive and growing."
4. A loving partner always knows how you feel and what you need.
Surprise: your spouse is not actually psychic. And believing that your spouse can read your mind is a major myth, says Toni Coleman, psychotherapist and relationship coach. Those who buy into it often find it "leads to a breakdown in communication with the wronged partner furious with their spouse who obviously doesn't love or care that much for them," she says. "Somehow the idea that they should share what it is they feel or need can lead to a lot of anger and resentment towards this clueless or insensitive spouse."
5. Marriage is about making each other happy.
Despite what anyone tells you, it's not your partner's job to make you happy. "Happiness is an inside job," Doares says. "No one, not even your spouse, has the ability to make you happy. What studies show is that your happiness increases as you do things for other people. So the reverse is really true: You become happier when you do positive things for your partner. It's a side effect of your focusing on each other."
6. It's not whether you fight but how you fight that matters.
Yes, when you fight, you should aim to fight fair. But how often you argue does actually matter. "A fight is characterized by harsh words and raised voices, and I don't know anyone who feels good after one," Doares says. "No matter how much you sincerely apologize, your partner can never un-hear the words you spoke or un-experience the tone you used. A fight will always damage the relationship and requires lots of positive interactions to compensate for it."
7. Happily ever after is only for fairy tales.
Calling all wannabe Disney princesses: Fairytales do happen. "The commonly accepted rate of divorce is 50 percent, and this gives the impression that the chance of success for every marriage is no better than a coin toss," says Doares. But the actual divorce rate is slightly less than 50 percent, and even better odds are afforded to couples with certain ages, levels of education, and socio-economic statuses, she says. "In addition, there are skills a couple can learn and tools they can use to not just have a marriage that lasts a long time but one that is actually happy," Doares says.