There are some rules we grew up hearing were necessary rules for a successful marriage. The elders would call the younger ones in and share with them the rules of marriage, things that have been practiced for years, with no arguments or discussions you would listen and then as they say, “run with it”.
“A lot of rules are myths,” says Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., research professor at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and author of “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great.” “They’re not relationship realities.”
Rule to Break #1: Never Go To Bed Angry
“It’s not always a good idea to stay up and resolve your differences,” says Orbuch. “You might say something you’ll regret. Getting a good night’s sleep is a better idea. You’re much more likely to resolve things when you’re refreshed in the morning or later that day. You do have to come back and resolve it—usually within 24 hours.”
Orbuch says this myth has caused many marriages many problems. Because people think they can’t go to sleep until they’ve made up, they sometimes stay up long into the night, which often gets them only deeper into an argument. “If we changed our thinking and realized that it’s not a good time to resolve a conflict, then we could be more relaxed about solving the important issues later on,” she says.
Rule to Break #2: Your Spouse Should Be Your Best Friend
People have friends and they have a spouse, says Scott Haltzman, Ph.D., a former Brown University professor and the author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity. “People expect a spouse to be everything,” Haltzman says. “They want their spouse to relate to them on a very close emotional basis, but relationships and studies show that while best-friend marriages do last, they sometimes have less satisfying sex lives.”
In addition to that, sometimes it’s easier to talk to friends about certain things—and friends are generally less inclined to judge. My dad had a situation that he was very sensitive about, shared it with our mother and his biggest regret in life was sharing it in the first place, so his advice to us is, you do not have to share everything with your partner.
Of course you want to share activities, thoughts and feelings with your spouse, but one person can’t meet all of your needs, says Haltzman. So take the pressure off your relationship, and if your spouse doesn’t want to talk about emotional issues, or doesn’t want to do a certain activity, call a friend.