Busting Marriage Myths Series

Busting Marriage Myths Series: Part 1

John ThurmanBy John Thurman8 Minutes

Are marriage myths keeping you from enjoying your spouse? Did you know nine marriage myths could be hindering your relationship?  I am going to reveal Marriage myths and how they should be busted and removed from your marriage.

After a nearly six-year absence from private practice, I have to tell you that I am loving being back in the counselor’s chair.

Primarily because of Covid-19, I see a large number of couples. These beautiful people are across the entire spectrum, from newlyweds to couples married close to forty years. What do they have in common? Primarily the accumulated stress from the Corona Virus pandemic, which has put additional pressure on their marriages.

Hey, the past several months have been hard on all of us!

I will debunk nine of the common Marriage Myths.

My ultimate goal is to help you clear out some of the concepts that may slow your growth as a couple and show you how to fund your emotional bank account fully.

Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane, pre-Covid days.

Remember the first years of your marriage? You were both filled with a fantastic mix of brain chemicals that made you feel heady and madly in love with each other. And there is absolutely no way you believe that those feelings could ever change. When you see that older couple sitting in a restaurant gazing at their phones and not gazing passionately into each other’s eyes, you silently say, “That will never be us!” And that couple in your small group that is in the middle of a divorce! No way this will happen to you and your honey! After all, you two believe that you are anything but average. You think that love will conquer all.

Eight years later, you have become that couple that stares at their phone at the restaurant. When things heat up, the “D (divorce)” word gets dropped. And the stellar sex you used to have has become routine, less frequent, and at times uneventful.

One couple recently told me, “We are roommates with benefits, we both go to work, participate in our kid’s lives, and have sex from time to time, but there is no fire.

Now, if you goggle the so-called experts, many of who have cashed out of their marriages, they will tell you to move on. And while we live in America, and you have choices, divorce is never as clean as it is made out to be.

So, what is the secret of turning a “less than stellar” relationship around?

Once I share it, you will probably be surprised and maybe even relieved.

This secret has been both research-vetted and scientifically studied in various cultural frameworks and is magnificently simple. Also, too simple!

It does not even involve working directly on your relationship at all.

Instead, all you have to do is think of your marriage relationship as an emotional bank account. This idea of an emotional bank account was first popularised by Dr. Willard Harvey’s 1986 book His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. Remarkably, this book is still in print and has gone through a couple of updates. I still refer to it, even for couples who are attempting to repair their relationship after infidelity.

So, for many people, this is a mind shift. When you begin to look at your relationship as an investment fund, a type of trust that is consistently funded with deposits of optimistic, edifying, forgiving, and hopeful words and actions will grow. By this simple choice, you can invest your way from being in the red to fully funded and vetted in the black.

Pretty exciting, right!

Myths Couples Must Confront

Before jumping into why you should think about viewing your relationship as an investment opportunity, we need to look at some common myths that exist as to why marriages succeed or fail. I firmly believe that we must identify which ones hold us back or trip us up before we can begin a robust investment program without a spouse.

The 9 Relationship Myths (these come from my Get a Grip on Your Marriage Workshop)

Myth # 1: A Great Relationship Depends on A Great Meeting of the Minds

For years I have heard therapists and pastors teach that married couples should see things through each other’s eyes. I have been to training groups and have attempted to help couples develop a Great Meeting of the Minds, but it just will not happen regularly.

The truth is, you will never be able to understand your spouse completely. You will never ultimately be able to see things through your spouses’ eyes. You will rarely understand and appreciate how and why your partner views the world in a particular way. The reason that you won’t be able to be that you are different from your partner. The good news is that this is part of the mystery of long-term marriages. You are genetically, physiologically, psychologically, and historically different than your partner. The world has conditioned you; you have different learning histories, you have other priorities, and you value different things in different ways.

I am aware that many will beg to differ with me. The truth is that the more we try to blur our roles into a unisex world, the more we are spinning out of control, and confusing things become after the entire Bible talks about a man and a woman, Adam and Eve.

I am not saying that two people of the opposite sex should not try and be compatible. The Bible talks about mutual submission (Ephesians 5:21), which requires mutual respect. Instead, it means loving the other person enough to acknowledge your differences and learning to work with them. Although our primary characteristics might be different, we can secondarily have certain traits and tendencies that are “somewhat” opposite sex’s direction. Get rid of the notion that your relationship will be worse off than those of your friends if you and your partner don’t seem to have both male and female perspectives and characteristics. The male in your relationship may not be in touch with his “feminine side.” And the female may have absolutely no inclination and interest in “muscle up” and defend the cave.

We will talk later about how we can biblically meet our partner, where they are naturally in their hearts and minds.

Reprinted with permission from John Thurman.