Like everyone else, psychology students and psychology professionals can have damaging myths about marriages that can cause us pain and decrease our mental health for periods of time or much longer term. So in this social psychology episode, I want to break some of these myths so in case you do get married these myths might not damage your relationship.
This episode has been sponsored by Psychology of Relationships: The Social Psychology of Romantic Relationships, Friendships, Prosocial Behaviour and More Third Edition. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback, large print and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Myths About Marriages:
Whilst nothing on this podcast is ever official advice even relationship advice, I still wanted to do today’s episode to help us face up to some of these both in the present in the future.
We Should Have The Same Interests:
I’ve always had two thoughts about this myth because on the one hand it’s nice to have things in common so you and your partner can do enjoyable things together.
On the flip side, if you both have the exact same interests and don’t have anything that’s “yours” so to speak then you could have its own negative effects on the relationships because you could feel smothered.
Whatever you believe, it’s important that you both connect and have things to bond over.
These same interests don’t have to be big things. It can be as simple as going out for a walk at night and both being interested in books and talking about them. As long as you connect that’s fine and often the simplest things are the best because you can both do them at any time.
We Shouldn’t Fight
I’ve spoken about my own thoughts around conflict in relationships and their occasional benefits on the podcast before. But another way to imagine it, is it would be an extremely boring marriage if you married a clone of yourself that didn’t disagree once with you. It’s good to meet people with different opinions and attitudes and it allows you to get outside of an echo chamber.
We Have To Agree On Politics and Religion
This is exactly the same as the point above, not only are you both different people, but it might help you develop and deepen your own understanding on these issues if you hear them from a different viewpoint.
Therefore, it doesn’t make you messed up or a couple with serious problems with you disagree on these massive issues. It makes you normal.
If Things Get Bad We’re Doomed
Personally I had to really think about this one because I couldn’t believe people believed it strongly but it turned out I was coming at the myth from a different angle.
It turns out that when things have been bad for a while, couples tend to believe they’re stuck and this is how things will be forever. Their partner won’t change their behaviour and their marriage is doomed to fail because of their problems won’t fix themselves.
Granted nothing ever fixes itself, but the reason why this is a myth is because this requires communication. I know I’ve done podcast episodes on communication before and its importance so you might want to check the backlist.
But it’s important for the couple to talk about their problems AND actively seek out a solution. For example, some people recommend couples therapy, reading a martial self-help book and more.
Even if you both agree to spend half an hour together each night with each other and no technology around. Even if that’s not enough, it shows you’re both trying and the marriage might not be doomed.
It Shouldn’t Be Hard To Feel Close
So I left this myth until last because I really do understand it and it makes perfect sense. Since you believe you should always feel close to your partner even after years of living together.
Well, the truth is humans are creatures of behavioural habits and comfort. Meaning when you and your partner are living together and/or married together, you’re going to get into a routine and form your own behavioural habits.
Therefore, whilst you both might be there physically together, you might not feel too close because you’re just doing what you always do. There’s nothing special about it.
Consequently, marriage will require a bit of extra effort sometimes so you both feel close to each other.
Overall, I hope you enjoyed today’s social psychology episode and I hope this helps you, your friends or clients with their relationships in the future.
If you want to learn more, please check out:
Psychology of Relationships: The Social Psychology of Romantic Relationships, Friendships, Prosocial Behaviour and More Third Edition. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback, large print and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
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Social Psychology Reference