We are all faced with the myth of the perfect marriage. We watch movies in which everyone lives happily-ever after. While you cozy up to a box office hit, popcorn in hand, you often see couples argue, resolve their issues, and return to their picture-perfect lives in roughly two hours!
This “Happily-Ever-After” syndrome causes many couples to experience much grief, as they have unrealistic ideas about the way that healthy couples should interact when the going gets tough. And if you haven’t bought into these picture-perfect stereotypes, you still might see your relationship as falling short. It’s not uncommon to compare your marriage to that wonderfully, affectionate couple down the street who seem to never fight. The couple that goes out on regular date nights while their model children behave perfectly toward their babysitter. Never mind the fact that your stagnant sex life pales in comparison to the wild sex you’ve heard your friends talking about.
Don’t fall into the trap of judging your relationship based on what you observe on the surface about another couple.When you compare your marriage to someone else’s, you may overlook the difficult circumstances or challenges that they experience but don’t reveal. When you play the comparison game, you automatically overlook your own strengths, your partner’s strengths, and the special qualities that exist within your relationship – let alone the qualities that brought you together in the first place. You can overlook the challenges that you have faced together and overcome – those challenges that make you stronger as a couple.
Being in relationship with another is a challenging experience, but also one that is full of reward. All couples have periods of difficulty, but every relationship has positive attributes that can be built upon. However, if you hold the expectation that your marriage should be perfect, or that you should never disagree with your partner, you will be setting yourself up for disappointment. You will also rob your relationship of the joys that come from learning how to navigate the bumps in the road.
Here are 5 Tips to help you shake the feeling that your marriage is flawed or unworkable:
- Remember there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. We don’t have Hollywood scriptwriters feeding us lines and writing happy endings for our lives. We are imperfect human beings who choose other imperfect humans with whom to move through life.
- Remember that different things work for different relationships. What may help your best friend’s marriage may not be the most appropriate fix for your relationship. Comparing your relationship to anyone else’s can leave you feeling like your relationship is damaged beyond repair.
- Take the time to look at what does work in your relationship. Instead of focusing on every negative trait your partner displays, focus on his or her endearing qualities. What strengths does each of you bring to the relationship to help navigate life’s challenges?
- Acknowledge that all relationships require care and maintenance to create a deeper bond. You can learn how to work as a team so that you communicate more joyfully and effectively with one another and reconnect in healthier ways after a disagreement. You can learn to reach for each other to resolve difficulties and strengthen the bond between you.
- Celebrate your relationship! No matter how demanding your life may be, schedule the time to enjoy one another. A simple date (even if held in your living room once the children are asleep) is vitally important to re-establishing a positive connection with your partner in your over-scheduled, busy life.