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Marriage Counseling Myths: “Happy Couples Never Argue”
Marriage Counseling Helps You Debunk Marriage Myths
Your marriage counselor will likely spend some time in your counseling sessions identifying, discussing, and debunking common “marriage myths” in your relationship. You have likely heard lots of common adages about what makes a good marriage. People in your life will have many things to say about how they believe relationships work.
Sadly, these ideas are often not based on experience or research, but are common marriage myths. While these suggestions usually come from a good place, it’s important to understand these myths and address them (Related article: Couples Counseling). These ideas and approaches might actually make things harder for you and your partner.
Today, you will learn about why a common idea about relationships isn’t necessarily accurate. You will also learn a better approach for your own marriage.
Myth #1: Happy couples never argue.
I’m sure you can already think back to a time where you have heard someone make this claim! Maybe you heard someone talk about a couple they know. They might even mention their own parents. They say “oh yes, they were a perfect couple- they always got along and they never argued!”. This sounds great in theory, but don’t start feeling bad about your own marital disagreements just yet.
If You Are Never Arguing, You Are Not Communicating
John Gottman, a well-known marriage researcher, has worked with thousands of couples. Through his experience, he discovered one overwhelming fact: all couples argue. If you are able to argue well, then you and your spouse can address concerns and resolve conflicts (Related Article: How to Fix Communication in Relationships). If you don’t know how to argue productively, or you avoid conflict in your marriage, you may find that approach leads to larger issues and resentment later on (Related article: Fixing How You Fight).
Thankfully, if you and your partner argue, you are not doomed! Gottman goes on to emphasize that having disagreements does not make you incompatible or a bad couple; it is how you approach these arguments before and after that matters (Source/Related article: Be the Change You Wish to See in Your Relationship).
Marriage Fact: Happy couples know how to argue in a healthy, productive way, and put in effort to “repair” after their arguments.
Work on Yourself
Gottman goes on to explain that if you want to grow together and not apart after arguments with your partner, then you need to work to do two things. The first is to reflect on your own approaches and actions, and see where you can improve how you communicate. In your marriage, generally conflict will not come from just one person doing one thing. Whether you know it or not, you both participate in behaviors that might be hurting your marriage. It’s important for each of you to proactively work to recognize them and work to change them.
Prioritize Good Repair
The second thing Gottman recommends is to work on making sure you are putting effort into repairing things after an argument with your spouse. This can look different depending on your relationship and the argument. For example, you might take time to be vulnerable with your spouse and share your feelings about something. Or maybe you offer to hug your spouse to encourage physical connection (Related article: The Empathetic Partner). There are many ways to improve intimacy and connection with your spouse, and those things make a difference after an argument.
Gottman added that “The couples that don’t repair those hurts end up with festering wounds that grow bigger day by day, the month, and the year until they finally break the couple apart. Repair is absolutely crucial in any kind of relationship, particularly intimate relationships.” (Source).
Marriage Truths over Marriage Myths
Marriage myths will likely come from your well-meaning friends and family. So, it is important to understand how to find the truth for your own relationship. In this case, remember that arguments themselves are not always inherently bad for your marriage. If you work to develop good emotional trust and quality communication as a couple, arguments are a great opportunity to learn and grow together (Related article: Marriage Counseling- Resilience).
Marriage Counselors Can Spot Marriage Myths
Luckily, you do not have to do this alone! It can be hard to spot and resolve these marriage myths in your own relationship without some help to identify them. In marriage therapy, your counselor can help you understand and resolve these common misconceptions so you can have a happier and healthier marriage.
Ready to find a marriage therapist and get started? Start couples therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins