Welcome to Marriage Myth #5! As you read the Relationship Stages Myths article and read on here, you might consider talking with the people in your life about what marriage means. What do you believe is the purpose or point of marriage? This kind of conversation can be enlightening. While I talk to my spouse about our beliefs about marriage, our connection grows, our patience increases and our love deepens. Give it a shot and please let me know how it goes! (PS – What did you and your spouse discover about your endorsement or rejection of Myth #4?)
Myth #5: The more my spouse discloses positive and negative information to me, the closer I will feel to him or her and the greater our marital satisfaction will be.
Though I’m aware that this idea is presented as a myth, I still believe that more communication is better. I always will. It may not be wise to do so, but I often buy into it when couples boast: “We don’t have any secrets from each other.” They then gaze longingly into one another’s eyes almost as if to prove that the very corners of their souls are completely open and available to each other. I’m easily bewitched by the closeness that transparency appears to bring.
Even so, my young marriage continues to teach me that some types of communication may not be all that helpful. I now know that communication works best when it is purposeful. I’ve learned that timing is important. My husband continues to remind me that thought should be given to what I can reasonably expect in response to my comments.
For example, it’s pretty difficult for me to relate to my father-in-law. We have very little in common. He tends to be a bit bold in his presentation and I’m a little more reserved. More often than not, I’m nervous and guarded when we are together. If I hope for my husband to empathize with my insecurities around my father-in-law, I’m not likely to get it by stating: “Your dad is so abrasive. He is so loud and he always dominates the conversation.” I may believe those things to be true, but my saying so could easily hurt my husband. He loves his dad. It’s an impossible situation for him to be caught between defending his dad and supporting his wife. Even if my husband isn’t offended by my comment, he’ll likely be confused about what I want him to do about it. I may find more success in choosing a quiet, private moment when I can solicit my husband’s help with specific strategies to manage my anxiety when I’m with his family.
There’s also something to be said for keeping the mystery alive in marriage. I may have mentioned that my husband and I were blessed with a new baby boy just under six months ago. Try though I might, I’ve not yet regained my pre-pregnancy shape. My added padding provides a source of considerable insecurity for me. My husband doesn’t seem to see it. Even if he does notice my little bit extra, he certainly doesn’t obsess over it the way I do. I could choose to involve my husband in my obsession. I could demand that he stand with me next to the mirror and scrutinize my shrinking (or not) belly. I could seek his support in measuring the fade factor of my stretch marks. Though my misery may love his company, I don’t know how much will be gained by such sharing. For one thing, my poor husband is in a lose-lose. If he gives me an accurate assessment of my belly, I may take offense. If he chooses the safer, complimentary route, I will probably dismiss his comments. Instead, it may be in the best interest of our relationship for me to continue on with my early dating efforts towards putting my best face forward. Marriages work best if spouses continue to date. Dating tends to be more successful when compliments are accepted and some insecurities (like my extra pound or two) are left to my blog.