The Biggest Myths about Marriage

There are a lot of “secrets” to marriage that people who have been in long-lasting marriages will tell you. But I’m here to tell you: they’re lying. In my one and a half year of marriage experience (yes, I am totally an expert), these are the biggest myths I’ve encountered:

Never go to bed angry

This is the biggest myth EVER. I don’t know how Eric and I would ever survive if we didn’t go to bed angry sometimes. I still remember being at a luau when I was about 15, and this couple who had been married 50 years (!) said the number one rule is to never go to bed angry. So I held onto that, and when Eric and I were first married…well, we didn’t really fight at all. But after the honeymoon period was over (maybe after three months?), when we first had a major argument, I remember holding on to the belief that we couldn’t go to bed angry! No! Not us! We were going to work through this, talk it out until our eyes bled out. Because I knew that if we went to bed angry and didn’t follow the “number one rule” our marriage would be in trouble.

So Eric and I would talk and talk yell and yell and get nowhere. And I knew that it would get to the point that if we kept going, we would end up looking like that scene in Mr. and Mrs. Smith where they blow up their house.

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Finally, I would just give up and go to bed. And you know what? In the morning, I usually forgot what we were fighting about anyway. Or at least I wasn’t as angry. And I can talk about it more rationally, see his side, and explain in a calm manner as to why he should see it my way.

It’s not yours or mine, it’s ours

I don’t understand why married people have to share everything. Sometimes, don’t you just want your own space? You all know Eric and I have our own coffee mugs. We have a silent understanding that he doesn’t use my mugs, and I don’t use his mugs. It helps keep the peace.

However, the other day, Eric decided that because he had used all of his travel mugs and hadn’t bothered to take them out of his car and wash them, that it would be okay to just take my travel mug–even though I have told him many times not to take my travel mug. So when I went to grab my travel mug for coffee that morning, and noticed my mug was gone, I was furious. Seriously. Why can’t he just be more responsible and wash one of his five travel mugs so that he has a clean one instead of stealing mine?!

When I texted him about it, he thought it was funny. I was not amused. So I had to get super furious and tell him that he was now going to be packing his own lunch, washing his own dishes, making his own dinner and doing his own laundry because I quit. Hey, I had to teach him a lesson. And he learned it quick.

He hasn’t taken my travel mug since.

Love is all you need

I hope everyone knows by now that this is the myth of all myths. Love is very important to have, but it doesn’t put food on the table. Love doesn’t wash the dishes, or do the laundry. And that ill-advised one-liner from Love Story that goes, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” is probably responsible for a lot of problems as well.

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Love means saying you’re sorry, and actually meaning it, and promising never to do it again. Love is a very important part of relationships. But so is respect and appreciation. And last time I checked, saying please and thank you have never gone out of style.

What are some other marriage myths?

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27 thoughts on “The Biggest Myths about Marriage

  1. January 24, 2015 at 2:11 am

    These marriage myths are so spot on. Singles out there should really think long and hard before getting hitched. It’s not all sunshine.
    Darlene recently posted..Hello world!

  2. December 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Never go to bed angry is total crap. Sometimes going to bed angry is the best thing that can happen to an argument. After 15 years together, almost 8 married, I can say that with absolute certainty.

    And you are dead on about love not being enough. Yes, it needs to be present in order to have a strong marriage but you need trust and respect to go along with that love. Without that, you’re marriage won’t last.
    Jana @ Daily Money Shot recently posted..Managing December birthdays

  3. Neo
    December 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    My wife and I make a point to talk out things after we fight, in fact its a rule my house. But let’s see if it is still a rule in 10 years…

    I agree that we do not need to share everything. We have joint accounts for all the “big” money, retirement, investing, long-term savings. But we each have our own accounts for day-to-day. My wife can spend whatever she wants in that account because its hers and the money in there is net of savings and shared expenses. It’s good not to share everything…

  4. December 7, 2011 at 8:55 am

    We don’t go to bed angry. Sure, we’ve only been married for 4 1/2 months, but we never let the sun go down on our anger while we were courting and engaged either. It’s just something that came with practice for us. (But then again, neither of us yell when we’re angry. We clam up, which, in my opinion, is harder to deal with.)

    We do have some things that are individually mine or his, but things like food, towels, and toothpaste are “ours.” The things that are individually mine or his are obvious (toothbrushes are one example)…

    Love wasn’t even something that brought us together. Friendship did. Love has grown over time, but with 2 college students married, going to college with no debt, living only on his full time income and a little bit of part time work I have, with a baby on the way… We have a whole lot more love now than we did when we started courting.

  5. December 6, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Thank you, thank you for debunking the ‘don’t go to bed angry’ myth.

    Anger amplifies when your eyelids feel like lead. Fact.

  6. December 6, 2011 at 8:22 am

    You’re so right-on!! Will and I fight when we “merge” into “ours” too much, but when we maintain a healthy separate sense of self, we get along much better.

    I understand “it’s ours” about big-picture things like your net worth, but for small, day-to-day stuff like your laptop? That’s totally MINE or HIS.
    Paula @ Afford Anything recently posted..Carnival of Personal Finance

  7. December 6, 2011 at 6:46 am

    I think that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” may be one of the most damaging lines in all of movie history. Number 2 on the list is almost certainly “You complete me”.

    I would love to think that never going to bed angry is an option, but sometimes I need time to cool off before I can be really present to a reasonable conversation that leads to greater understanding on both sides.

    Great post. πŸ™‚
    Leah recently posted..Budgeting on a variable income

  8. December 6, 2011 at 5:03 am

    This is very good. The biggest problem that can occur in the happy marital life is ego problem and this is the root of everything else. I need to learn, when we fight we generally end up sleeping in separate rooms. In the morning we barely talk to each other. I seriously need some work.

  9. December 6, 2011 at 2:03 am

    Aw, I can’t go to bed mad. I will stay up all night if I have to, until I am so tired that I just don’t care what he did and all I want is a cuddle and sleep. If I try to go to bed mad, I end up staying up all night thinking about all the things I could have said that would make me right so I could win πŸ™‚
    But I totally agree with your other two. And kind of feel bad for my bf because he gets (forced to) to stay up all night and talk when we have a fight!
    RubySongbird recently posted..Tiny mouth! This is the cutest thing ever.

  10. December 5, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Oh that is too funny. I’m with ya on the never go to bed angry thing. Sometimes it is just better to take that breather, shut your damn mouth and sleep on it.

  11. December 5, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    Bookmarking for future reference!! πŸ˜‰
    I too have learned that it takes WAY more than love to make it work.

  12. December 5, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Amen, girl! I held on to the “never go to bed angry thing too for a while (I honestly think I saw that on The Cosby Show when I was a little kid and believed it, no lie. LOL) and you’re right once you go to bed, you either forget why you were so pissed or once you’ve had time (and sleep) to cool down, the reason for the fight isn’t as bad anymore…

  13. December 5, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Couldn’t agree more on the “never go to bed angry”. I’m GROUCHY when I’m tired, and not in the best state of mind to have a rational conversation. 99% of the time, I wake up in the morning with a much different perspective of how I feel.

    My marriage motto, “Is this the hill I want to die on?” Seriously, is this ____ argument worth the drama and fighting? Is it worth impacting my marriage? Almost every time, I answer “no, not worth the fight.”

    • kim
      December 6, 2011 at 8:08 am

      All too true! My husband also can’t seem to bring his travel mugs inside to wash them – I wonder if that’s in the bro code?

  14. December 5, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Hahaha I am so with ya on the going to bed angry part. I remember coming home from a 12 hour day and the BF started getting mad at me for not cleaning the room or some crazy thing. I started crying and yelling horrible things because I was delirious and tired. I went to bed angry and the next morning he wanted to buy me dinner. WIN!

  15. December 5, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I loved this post so much that I just wrote a post (linking to yours, of course) about my thoughts on each of these. I think every relationship is different so I don’t agree with your first two but your third made me laugh, I TOTALLY agree!

  16. December 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I was at a bridal shower Saturday and FOUR people gave the “never go to bed angry” advice. I wanted to raise my hand and disagree! Not only do I not think it is not reasonable – I think it’s wrong!

  17. Katie
    December 5, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Lol, I love you Erika! I totally agree with all of these. Like you and Eric, David and I resolve fights more quickly if we go to bed angry. Sure, it means going to bed angry, but it also means I’m calm in the morning. I can usually see things from his side better when the red has faded from my vision. That’s not to say we always sleep on it when we fight, but we usually do.

    I’m all about keeping things separate. I mean, not in a roommate way, but we don’t share everything and I’m a-okay with that. Your post about your money because YOURS really resonated with me because, even though technically it’s OURS, I have a very hard time thinking of my paycheck as belonging to us both.

  18. December 5, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I’m not married (or in a relationship!), but I had to laugh at some of these. I do believe there are few/no one-fits-all advice for when it comes to marriage (except infidelity–dont do it!), and I like how you challenged these and figured them out through your own experience.

    I personally think I’d agree with #2. I don’t think I want to share *everything*, nor want to take ownership of *everything* the other person owns. I am not very territorial, but I’d want some space and respect of my stuff, just as I’d respect their stuff.

  19. December 5, 2011 at 6:24 am

    Wow, I was just saying to M last night that love is the basis for marriage and why people get married…but it doesn’t carry a marriage. Work, communication and a partnership does. Totally true to your last point!!

  20. December 5, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Our number 1 rule is to never go to bed angry actually. And it’s worked really well. Technically we’re not married though but we’ve been together for over 5 years. Not everything worked for everyone though! Because my friends think we’re crazy for that.

  21. December 5, 2011 at 5:49 am

    The first one is definitely not an absolute. Sometimes you need time to deal with something, and if that means you need to sleep on it to get on the same page, then so be it. One thing that we try to do is when we see something escalating is to say that we will deal with it later. Often, that’s all you need to get on one accord (or to forget about it… just as you mentioned)

  22. December 5, 2011 at 3:48 am

    The first one is so right. And actually really thinking about it, it’s probably the single worst marriage advice I’ve ever been given.

  23. Teri
    December 5, 2011 at 3:26 am

    You are sooooooo right! I just got married in April.

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