While mistakes can be a constructive factor, offering the experience of learning and the chance of improvement, some lack this attribute and can cause irreparable damage.
While it’s generally understood that cheating is the big NO-NO of any marriage, there are other mistakes–some overlooked most of the time–which can also lead to broken hearts and dreams. Here are five of the most common slips that can turn into critical mistakes:
1.Expecting our partners to like everything we do and treating the differences as an omen.
We may have admired and envied the couples that are all smiles and “yes dear”, those who go everywhere together, take the same tennis class and watch the same TV programmes. “Why wasn’t I that lucky?” you may wonder to yourself. But do hold your thought as, “there’s something rotten in Denmark!” If in a marriage the partners like the same things every nanosecond, it’s either the case of one completely submitting to the other or only pretending to like for the partner’s sake. Frustrations accumulate and the peachy bubble will burst. The damage caused may be twice worse, as this won’t be the case of a mere argument, but of days and years of self-denial which now ask for the lion’s share.
Our parents accept and love us unconditionally even if we openly hate Humphrey Bogart. We should try and do the same with our partners. Accepting and embracing differences are the sign of a healthy marriage. We can go on our own or call a friend to join us for that latest Kate Winslet film–no need to make a fuss!
2. Ending the girls’ or boys’ nights out.
We are social beings and now and then a night out with old time buddies should not be interpreted as a sign of boredom or a reason for jealousy. While the good ol’ banter may include small complaints about married life, it is actually a realisation that all marriages have their charming little flaws that actually make things work. Let’s call this therapy and it’s a bit easier to embrace now!
3. Misunderstanding intimacy.
While our partners may know every birthmark, wrinkle and hair on our bodies, some things just work a bit better if not shared, no matter how natural they may be. Unless it’s a serious problem, a medical condition when going into details is compulsory or advisable, the bowel movement information may just spoil the appetite. Sometimes it’s better if we don’t know how burgers are made. Let’s just say the same rule applies to our bodies.
There’s no other enemy greater than comparison and thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. Some couples abide by the “no dirty laundry in public” principle, others couldn’t care less. If a couple is not seen arguing, it does not mean they don’t do it–it’s just that they choose a more private place to solve their issues. I remember the shock when I happened to assist to such a couple’s quarrels and couldn’t believe it. I always imagined their marriage was nothing but milk and honey because that’s the image they had always let others see. It is better accept that are some issues and work to solve those issues than pretend there’s nothing wrong. And it is always better “look only at what’s on your plate,” as my late grandpa used to advise.
5. Not sharing the tasks around the house.
Gender equality will be a hot topic for the next 100 years to come. It’s just a handful of countries where women enjoy genuine gender equality. Others are only starting to enjoy the freedom offered by sanitary pads (here‘s an incredible Ted talk and video about the revolution started by Arunachalam Muruganantham) and others are caught in the middle juggling between their jobs and the chores they are still in charge of.
If “porn for women” were understood in Susan Anderson‘s terms, with men contributing more to cooking and doing the laundry, women’s lives would not only become easier, but much enriched in terms of the respect and appreciation they are shown.
The experts of the Gottman Institute tell us that marriages based on a positive attitude where encouragement and respect are nurtured have always worked better. As long as there’s respect, differences will be accepted; out of respect our partners will not cheat on us and out of respect they’ll help us if we let them know what’s aching.
While it’s sometimes difficult and there are moments of doubt, married people are happier. I’m not saying it because I happen to be married, but because research has proven this. And I’d add we’re much kinder, patient and wiser–all because marriage teaches us how to be.