Google "marriage advice" and you will get an absolute ton of hits. I think there comes a time in most marriages where you feel that things aren't going well and you need some fixes. But not all marriage "fixes" are created equal. Every marriage, as with every person on the planet, is different. There are no one-size-fix all solution to everything. That doesn't keep relationship writers from giving out these "solutions" though. Here's seven pieces of marriage advice we tend to hear over and over -- and why they're worthless.
1. Anything that tells you how to "affair proof" your marriage. Not possible. There is absolutely nothing you can do that guarantees a spouse won't cheat. You can cook him a five-course meal in your push-bra and then give him the best blowjob a man has had every single night and he could still cheat. There are a million reasons that people cheat, and believe it or not, a lot of them have ZERO to do with you. People in happy marriages cheat (Why do you think they try so hard to cover up the cheating? Because they want to remain married to you!). Cheating often has more to do with a person's own internal dynamic -- it might make him/her feel powerful, or they may get addicted to the adrenaline rush. It could be just as simple as wanting a new body! The point is, advice like how to "affair proof" your relationship just sets up unrealistic expectations and makes you feel responsible if the cad DOES cheat.
2. Never go to bed angry. This is one that has always baffled me. Seriously, if you get into an argument at 10 p.m., go to bed!! Don't stay up all night hashing it out. And don't sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened all in the name of going to bed. You know you're still pissed, and it's bound to come out later -- probably when your spouse has forgotten all about the argument and has no idea why you're mad! There's nothing wrong with sleeping on an argument. In the morning, you may even wonder why things got so heated and have a different viewpoint.
3. Have sex when your partner wants it. I think occasionally having sex when your partner is randy and you're not is okay if you are okay with it. But if you aren't, don't do it. If you find yourself hardly ever wanting sex with your partner, then deal with that issue, because there's something going on. But you shouldn't have sex just because someone else wants it -- unless you are fine with that. But if you're not -- maybe you don't want sex because you're angry with your spouse -- then don't.
4. Be willing to compromise. Compromise is a nice element to any relationship. Hey, we had Chinese last night, honey, can't we have pizza tonight? etc. But when it comes to compromising your values, don't do it. Additionally, if you find yourself always being the partner who compromises, then there's something off.
5. Get therapy. I joke that therapy is the death knell of any relationship. The truth is that usually by the time a couple enter therapy it is after huge amounts of resentment, anger and frustrations have built up on both sides. Therapy is often just a way to post-mortem the relationship. Granted, I'm not saying DON'T go to therapy if things are tough, just don't expect that it is definitely going to solve your problems. I wonder if it often doesn't just prolong a doomed relationship -- but at least this way you can say you tried everything.
6. Read marriage help books. Marriage books might give you some ideas of how to handle issues, however, it's dangerous to think that marital books are going to save your marriage, because everyone is different. One book might work great for one couple but not work at all for another. And some marital advice books are just downright quackery. If something strikes you as strange, don't do it just because it's in a book. You should read what marriage advice books used to tell women in the 1950s. (Example: If a man was beating you, it was your fault.) In 20 years, we very well might look at the books we have now in the same way.
7. Divorce is not an option. What a silly saying. Divorce should always be an option. Not your first option, but an option. Sometimes two people are just not working anymore and it's for the betterment of everyone involved, including the children, if the romantic aspect of the relationship is dissolved and the peaceful-and-mature-coparenting aspect built up. People who think divorce is never an option can unfortunately turn to even worse options -- like murder or suicide. Breaking up is hard to do but it can be the right thing to do sometimes too.
What are some pieces of marriage advice you've learned not to take?
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