Unfortunately, dreaming of "happily ever after" as a newlywed can create unrealistic expectations and lots of problems down the road. So much of marriage advice today is too complicated, too pie-in-the-sky, and too out of touch with contemporary marriage.
Over the past three decades we have researched marriage around the world and discovered the six deadly mistakes newly married couples often make.
These six mistakes are not complicated to understand. Yet, newlyweds who make these mistakes at the beginning of their lives together will get off to a rough start:
1. You tally or keep score of wins and losses.
Couples should never ignore bothersome behaviors, but "keeping score" or holding grudges is not okay. There are no winners and losers in a great marriage. You can't hold grudges and you shouldn't cast blame when things go wrong.
Don't be afraid to argue and debate an issue. Just remember to fight fair and learn to argue effectively. It will serve your marriage well down the road.
2. You lie to your spouse or make promises you cannot keep.
Little white lies and broken promises erode the glue that holds marriages together. Even small lies can form a habit of dishonesty in your relationship.
Trust is the foundation of any lasting relationship. Dishonesty erodes the very essence of the bond between the two of you.
3. You make assumptions about what your new spouse likes, dislikes, enjoys, or thinks.
Assumptions lead to trouble — and men who order for their wives could end up eating alone. Ask them!
The old adage is certainly true that to assume is to make an "ass out of you and me!" And the corollary is, never ignore behaviors in your spouse that bother you.
Talk about them. It will strengthen your relationship if you talk out issues calmly and respectfully.
4. You assume role stereotypes early in your marriage.
Phrases such as "that's a man's job" or "that's woman's work" have no place in modern romances. Early role assignments based on stereotypical roles will only create imbalance and potential frustration later.
Take the time to talk about each of your strengths, what responsibilities best fits each person, and how the two of you can share the burdens of life together in your marriage. Think in terms of "us" and "we" instead of "you" and "me."
5. You mount up a "butt load" of debt when you first get married.
Racking up too much debt is pure poison when it comes to your marriage. Keep the use of credit cards under control. The single greatest cause of divorce and marital discourse is debt and other financial-related issues.
6. You assume that marriage is fair, just, and beautiful all the time.
Just like life, marriage comes with its ups and downs. If you go into marriage believing it will be like a Hollywood movie with roses, sunshine, no responsibilities, and no setbacks, you are in for a big disappointment. Every successful marriage has to deal with setbacks.
The problem is, they don't!
If newlywed couples follow the simple advice we have outlined in this article, they will discover what we and other happily married couples have discovered over the decades — a successful marriage is an accumulation of having done the simple things. A great marriage is no more complicated than that!
Creating a successful marriage is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your relationship work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.