toxic beliefs about marriage that lead to unhappy marriages or divorce

Antoinette Lavoisier

(Photography by Getty images)

For many of us because of fairytales and Disney movies marriage is a happily ever after fantasy. Young girls start fantasizing about their marriage while they play with dolls, and boys even fantasy about finding the perfect woman to complete them. Most of our ideas about marriage are completely unrealistic fantasy stories or old values about gender roles for men and women from long ago. We don't even realize how damaging and toxic these irrational beliefs about love and marriage are until we eventually settle down and get married ourselves. Half of marriages end in divorce because it's a really rude awakening to discover that marriage is nothing like we have been lead to believe it is. Here are 7 toxic beliefs about marriage that can be the reason for unhappy marriage or divorce.

1. You expect your partner to complete you.

For many of us the idea that a partner is supposed to complete us comes from our religious beliefs. Many religions teach us that we are only half of a person. Old outdated rules and ideals from a time when women had no rights or purpose other than being a wife and mother support this idea as well. It's crazy that even in the year 2021 many people still believe that they are not complete until they are joined to someone else. What makes this belief toxic is people go into marriage with the expectation that they will be fixed or that they will fix their partner by completing them. This idea creates a huge strain and unhealthy codependency in marriages. If you expect your partner to complete you in your marriage the weight of that responsibility on your partner can actually cripple your relationship.
What many people have yet to understand is that love and companionship are not all that it takes to feel like a whole person. Miserable housewives all over the world will vouch for this. I used to be one of them. I had health beautiful children and a husband I've never doubted loves me even in the most difficult times of our relationship. I still had an empty space inside and a feeling of worthlessness because I wasn't pursuing any of my personal passions and I didn't feel comfortable with myself. I could not understand why I felt so miserable because I was in a happy marriage that was supposed to fix me. I depended on my husband to make me happy instead of trying to figure out what I was missing. I thought I was supposed to complete him too, so I only focused on his needs and what I thought would make him happy. After my father died I shut down and became unresponsive to my husband but with the same expectation that he was supposed to fix me. This lead to my husband and I separating for 2 years and almost getting a divorce. During the 2 years I was away I begin to establish more independence and got honest with myself about my aspirations in life. I thought I was happy before in my marriage but I didn't start feeling complete until I started pursuing my dream career and improving my self esteem. I became less dependent on my partner and regretful that I ever believed he was supposed to complete me. I'm happier than I have ever been my whole life today because my partner supports me and motivates me towards my aspirations and congratulates my personal growth.

2 . You try to adjust your marriage to the standards of other people's marriage or the expectations of what you expected your marriage to be like.

If you have never been married you don't actually know what a marriage is supposed to be like. What you see on the surface of other people's relationships even if it's your parents relationship is not the whole picture. The truest vision of marriage is something unseen by public eyes because it's the connection and understanding between those two people. A lot of people go into their marriages wanting their relationship just like their parents marriage, or they have built up some image for themselves of what they think the perfect marriage looks like. Your marriage will be based on you and your partners agreed personal values, your wants together , your needs together, and personal vision for the future you share with each other. The cookie cutter perceptions of what a marriage is supposed to be has always been a myth because everyone is different. Sometimes the perception of what we believe something is supposed to be like can hurt the beauty and the magic of what it actually is. Abandon your expectation and grow the real thing with someone you love. Don't try to be a husband or a wife that society tells you to be because it may not even fit your lifestyle. Many couples relationships fail because they just can't be happy trying to be what they think is expected of them. Don't be what's expected of you by other's be organically connected to your partner to decide what's best for your marriage.

3. You expect your partner and yourself to stay the same.

If you listen closely to married people explaining why they are getting divorced one of the most common complaints you will hear is he or she changed. What do you expect to happen when you choose to share a life with someone else? You will be there through the death of their parents, having or losing children, illnesses , addictions, career changes, and pretty much through the best and worst of times. You and your partner will continuously change a lot. The objective is to support each other and love each other to grow together through the changes. It will be difficult sometimes and you may grow apart through the changes but the changes are to be expected. It will be equally challenging to your relationship if you and or your partner do not change. Changing is growing and growing is essential for all relationships to build strength.

4. You believe your marriage should be equal effort at all times.

There is no chance in reality that any relationship will be 50/ 50 effort at all times. Sometimes your partner will lose strength and momentum to pull their weight. They will only be able to provide small amounts of effort, and you will have to stand up and be strong enough for them to handle the slack. The effort provided in a marriage is all over the place all the time. What is truly important is that you do not give up when your partner needs you and that they don't give up when you need them. Gender rolls in society has also influenced the amount of effort we are expected to provide in our relationships. It's lead us to believe that our effort should be provided in a certain kind of way but the truth is effort needs to be provided anywhere it's needed. It's okay for men to be stay at home fathers while women work. It's okay for women to be strong and bold to motivate their husband's. When you love someone enough to bind your life to their you compensate the best way you can without looking for ways to even the score. Marriage is a team effort not a competion or scales balancing act.

5. You believe that getting help in your marriage is something you do as a last resort.

I don't know why so many people wait until their marriage is on the rocks to get help. Because of this many states require couples counseling before you can even get a divorce. You shouldn't wait to seek out a marriage therapist or counselor when you are struggling in your marriage because by then both you and your spouse are ready to give up. I think some people do not get help early on because they think the only people that go to therapy for their marriage is people with serious problems. If you can afford it or have the services readily available to you get help through out your marriage. Marriage therapy helps partners communicate better with each other so that they can handle issues in their marriage more effectively. Marriage is a life long commitment that if you intend on staying until death you must do as much as you can to reach that goal. If you get help in your marriage before you have big problems it's possible that you may avoid big threats to your marriage altogether.

Marriage is a difficult but very beautiful and rewarding experience. Don't allow other people's point of view, or even your own preconceptions about what it to taint your experience. When you chose a life partner stay open minded and true to the connection you create together.

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