Myth # 4 A Great Relationship Requires Common Interests that Bond You
First of all, let me say that a couple’s genuine common interest can be a tremendous boost to a relationship. Perhaps you and your spouse have a great common interest that makes the two of you happy. That’s fine! All power to you. But the greater myth is that if you don’t have one, you must find one to make the relationship more fulfilling. That is just not true-not true at all. There are thousands of couples that have been happily married for years. They love their time together, they love being great companions, but they respect each other’s quirks and don’t feel that they have to engage in lots of activities together.
It’s not what you do as a couple; it is how you do it. If forcing yourselves into everyday activities creates stress, tension, and conflict, then don’t do it. It’s wrong to think that there is something wrong in your relationship if you don’t have many common interests and activities.
Myth # 5 A Great Relationship is a Peaceful One
Truth: Two people living in the same space will produce stress, anger, discomfort, and a lot of love.
Many people are fearful of volatility because they think arguing is a sign of weakness or relationship breakdown. The reality is that arguing in a relationship is neither good nor bad. The key is that, as the Scripture says, “And don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Ephesians 4:26 NLT, if arguing is done by some basic “rules of engagement,” and fighting fair at some point can help the quality and longevity of the relationship in many ways. For some couples, such fighting provides a much-needed sense of release of tension. For others, it brings absolute peace and trust because they know they can release their thoughts and feelings without being abandoned or rejected, or humiliated. Think about rain showers, thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Which ones are not destructive? I am not saying that you should look for a fight, but research does not support the notion that couples who fight fail in their relationships. A connection is more likely to fail if the conflict is never aired or if the encounter turns to violence.
Myth # 6 A Great Relationship Lets You Vent All of Your Feelings
We are currently living in a time when we are repeatedly urged to let it all out, tell it like it is, get in touch with our inner self. Some therapy types support a cathartic projection whereby the client is encouraged to do whatever he/she needs to do to verbally or physically release emotions.
The problem with this view of emotional health is that it doesn’t work. No data supports the notion that venting all of your feelings is good—quite the opposite—it hurts self and others. We all have an infinite array of thoughts feelings about our partners, a lot to which we have given a voice because it seemed like “a good idea at the time.” But upon reflection, the thoughts shouldn’t have been communicated for several reasons, not the least of which is that you didn’t mean it. Think about the number of times that you have blurted out something in the heat of the moment about your partner’s weakness.
Let’s be honest; it felt good to let it go, to feel like you got the upper hand finally. But what good did it do? None. For a brief moment, you felt the power of rage—and you possibly damaged your relationship, and sometimes the damage can be permanent.
Remember, you cannot backspace or delete what you say.
The point is clear. Before you say something that could be disastrous, you must give yourself breathing room, you must (perhaps literally) bite your tongue, you must allow yourself time to deliberate. This is critical to the future of your relationship. I’m not telling you to hide truths and be dishonest. But I am telling you that to meet the criteria of being open and honest, and you need to be sure how you genuinely feel, you need to know if what you’re about to say is going to be said most appropriately. That may take more deliberation than is available in the heat of the moment. If what you say will turn into a “life sentence” either for you of your partner-you’d better think about it and think hard.
If all else fails, remember You can’t backspace or delete what comes out of your mouth. So be careful!
John Thurman M.Div., M.A., is a Licensed Mental health Professional, Author, Speaker, and Certified Corporate Crisis Response Specialist who lives with his wife Angie in Albuquerque, NM. In addition, he is the Director of Covert Mercy Inc., a ministry that provides Stress Management Consulting and Training for ministry leaders and missionaries serving in the North Africa Middle East area. Learn more at JohnThurman.net
Reprinted with permission from John Thurman.
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