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Lessons From the End of a Marriage

A “How to Thrive” Guide After Divorce

Mythical Thinking About Marriage

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One of the more fun aspects of blogging is the record of what you were doing and thinking at various points in your past. Some of my posts can still make me smile or cry. Some are funny to read to see the progress in my writing and my mindset over the years. And some? Well, some are just plain embarrassing:)

I recently unearthed one of my first posts from January 2012. I was so new, I even approved an obvious spam comment on the original post just because I was so excited to have someone, even if it was a bot, comment on my page. Even though I was a neophyte at the time, I still find some good points in this post. See what you think.

Oh, and if you’re a spam bot, don’t waste your time trying to comment. I’m smarter now:)


Myths…or Mythical Thinking

The article, 3 Myths About Happy Marriages on PsychCentral introduced myths that are based on the work of John Gottman, Ph.D and his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I think these myths, although possessing some truth, are a bit of a slippery slope.

Myth 1: Better Communication Will Not Save Your Marriage

If the marriage is on rocky footing, talking will not bring in the rescue copters.  And, as the article states, it is difficult to remain calm and rational in the midst of a perceived attack (I know those “I” statements well, after growing up with a counselor for a mom, and even I can’t maintain that poise in a heated discussion).  My concern comes from the implication that communication is not important;  that a marriage can exist in the spaces between withheld information.  I cannot work well with a coworker when there is not adequate communication; I’m not sure how a marriage is supposed to thrive.

Myth 2: Avoiding Conflict Will Kill Your Marraige

Not every need can be expected to be met, and sometimes conflict is just because of a grouchy mood,but there is a danger to not addressing legitimate concerns.  In retrospect, I realize that my marriage was conflict-avoidant; I tended to shy away from problems due to anxiety and my ex-husband refrained from conflict in order to not trigger my anxiety.   As a result, the problems grew too large for anyone to face.

Myth 3: Reciprocity Underlies Happy Marriages

I once knew a couple who kept a scorecard on the fridge to keep track of the “he dids” and “she dids.”  I don’t think they were very happy!  However, I do think reciprocity is essential in a marriage  in terms of mutual respect, and that this respect takes the form of acts of service or kindness for the other person.  Tallies shouldn’t have to be drawn, but each person should be operating with the other in mind.

All marriages are different (my current relationship is quite unlike my marriage in many ways), but I think that each of these myths has a place in a healthy relationship.

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7 thoughts on “Mythical Thinking About Marriage

  1. Well said Lisa, but almost everything here is a double edge sword in the truest sense of the idea to me at least
    In my STBXW’s mind lack of “communication” pushed her to another man.It took me a year to really get over my mother’s death and work through the demons in my mind, if she would have hung in there a little longer I would not be where I am at today.

    Avoiding conflict is what I did a lot as I was always the one to compromise with almost everything to keep her happy, but conflict also can be dangerous as well.

    Scorecarding she did it all the time I didn’t but then again I was never one to keep track of slight or perceived hurts.

  2. One of the harshest myths about marriage comes in the vow “for better, for worse.” This is healthy and ideal in a sound relationship. It’s what we strive for and what we desire, what we dream of, someone to walk beside us in good times and bad, and to return the same. But when one partner is of the psychopath ilk, the other partner suffers all manner of wrongs before realizing that some “worse” is just too much wrong to be endured. It keeps us hooked, waiting faithfully for things to get better when better never comes.

    1. I for one have always taken the “for better or worse” part seriously and I still think it should be. Unfortunately it is not seen as “vow” in today’s world it is taken more as “for better or worse till I find someone else”
      Don’t get me wrong there are very valid reasons for a divorce such as being in an abusive marriage or adultery and a few more.
      But when it comes down to it too many people jump ship over the smallest misunderstandings and arguments.

      1. I agree 100%. I took the vow seriously and still do. It was my downfall, though, because my wife didn’t take it seriously — in fact, they were meaningless words to her. I don’t think the day will come when I’ll ever make those vows again, but if I do, I’ll mean them, and I’ll be darn sure before I make them that the person taking those vows with me is on the same page.

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