There is no shortage of marriage advice out there. Oftentimes, shared wisdom can help us to avoid making common mistakes and propel us into better relationships. However, for as much great advice that exists, there is an equal share to ignore. Let’s take a look at some common pieces of bad marriage advice that you may get and how to avoid following them.
Do whatever makes you happy.
There is no greater sacrificial relationship than marriage, and there will be plenty of times that sacrifice looks quite opposite to what makes you happy. On top of that, “happiness” can be a fleeting feeling, and very circumstantial. What may look like happiness one moment could change the very next, especially in times of conflict.
If you are making decisions in marriage based upon your happiness, you are sure to be walking on a shaky foundation. Instead, hold fast to the commitment you made on your wedding day. Look at marriage for what it is: a lifelong commitment through good times and bad. You may just be surprised at the amount of happiness that brings.
There is always a plan B.
It is a sad but true fact that up to 50% of marriages fail. I can almost guarantee that you have either been personally affected by divorce, or know somebody who has. The truth is, it is easy to get married, and as statistics show, it’s also easy to get divorced.
If you are entering your marriage knowing that there is always a way out, you may be destined to fail. Our society as a whole has become desensitized to divorce. Ignore any piece of advice that leads to an easy out. Instead, enter your marriage with no plan B. There is no greater testimony than unwavering commitment.
Your kids should always come first.
Children are one of the greatest gifts we can get in life. They undeniably require constant care and attention. But it can be detrimental to your marriage to place your kids first. In fact, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is a strong marriage. Setting an unspoken example that your spouse comes first will communicate to your children what a healthy family structure should be. Your kids are important, but your spouse comes first.
Never go to bed angry.
As much as the idea of this sounds good, it’s simply not always attainable. In fact, there are times that the best thing you can do is create space to heal in a conflict. That may involve getting a night of rest before responding out of anger or hurt. It could just be the healthiest thing that you can do to gain perspective and regroup. Though well-meant, this piece of advice is a standard that we can never live up to. If you have taken this to heart in the past, let it go. Forgiveness is key in marriage, but there are times when it comes easier the next morning.
The grass is greener on the other side.
The idea that things would be better with another person may be the most dangerous thought you could ever have. Abandoning your marriage for the idea of somebody better is an idea that simply never works. The most beautiful–and oftentimes hardest–part of marriage is growing together.
There will be times when you seem further apart, times when you may not see eye-to-eye with your spouse–but that can never be easily replaced by another person. The only way to have a healthy marriage is to invest in the one you have. Grow yourself. Allow your spouse to grow. The grass is never greener on the other side; it’s only the easy way out.
It will never get better.
It is unfortunate, but marriages struggle at times. But never, ever buy into the lie that it will never get better. Persistence pays off. Forgiveness is key.
The idea and commitment of never giving up makes all the difference. It will get better. If you’re in a season where it seems like it won’t, hang on. Do the work. Believe in the reason you got married. It can, and will, get better.
Counseling is a sign of weakness.
So very often we need other people to show us where we can improve and where to grow. A good counselor is a gift, and counseling can be the very thing that saves your marriage. We encourage proactive counseling, as opposed to crisis control. Counseling is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of wisdom. One or two simple hours out of your week could be the best investment you will ever make.
Marriage is a gift, and something that is better when we do it together. It is great to give and take advice from others, but we have to be careful to not live and die by what others tell us. Our hope is that you can sift out the bad and move forward into a strong and healthy marriage.