Have you ever heard the saying, “love means never having to say you’re sorry”? It’s actually a line from a movie, but I ran across it in a cute graphic on Pinterest the other day. I’ve seen and heard it so many times and I honestly never gave it much thought. But when I saw it this time I thought to myself, that’s bull crap. I know so many people who actually believe that. So the idea to debunk a few love and marriage myths on my blog was born. I might not be an expert on love and marriage, but I feel like after more than 13 years of marriage and about 15 years total with my husband, I have some ground to stand on here. So here goes. We’ll start with the one that sparked this post.
5 Marriage/Love Myths and Truths
Myth: Love means never having to say you’re sorry
The idea that a person who really loves you should never require an apology from you is just plain absurd. If you aren’t ready to apologize at least once every day then you don’t need to be in a relationship at all. Your husband is going to be the person who often gets the worst of you. That’s just the way it goes.
You feel comfortable with that person, you trust them with every part of you. After you have given all your energy and patience to your job, your kids, or whatever it is you do all day, your spouse gets what’s left of you because you don’t feel like or you just can’t hold it together at that point. They are your safe place.
Don’t get me wrong, you shouldn’t use your spouse as a catch-all for the crap you’ve built up all day, every day. You should for sure find outlets to release the stress, frustration, and negative energy so you don’t project those things onto your spouse unintentionally. Regardless, there will always be some dumping of that stuff on your husband.
Self-reflection, open communication, honesty, and many, many sincere apologies are required to offset the stuff you accidentally let slip through. It could be that your husband understands and never expects an apology, but after a while, that can cause some resentment.
Myth: Differences mean the marriage can’t/won’t last
If this were true I wouldn’t be a married woman today. Who can say that they never disagree with their spouse, ever? Not just about little things, but even on some bigger issues. If you haven’t yet, give it time.
I have learned so much from mine and Chad’s differences. I actually wouldn’t be the person I am today if he hadn’t been in my life, challenging my thinking and forcing me to take a closer look at things that I felt very strongly about at the time. There are also some things that after all these years I still do not agree with him on and probably never will.
Differences are not a deal-breaker unless they are major religious, moral, or ethical differences and those should be clear from the start. There will be differences in every relationship. Unless your spouse is just saying what you want to hear to keep the peace. Now there’s a real issue. In the long run, it’s not about the differences, but about the way you and your spouse handle your differences that really matters.
Myth: Marriage will complete you
It’s in all the movies and TV shows. It’s in fairytales and storybooks. This idea that marriage is a destination to arrive at, where we’ll finally be complete and have our lives together, at long last.
Our first mistake is believing that any person can complete us. That’s expecting things from people that people were not meant to provide. God is the only one who can complete us. Our second mistake is believing that contractually tying ourselves to another person is an answer to problems we haven’t managed to solve before our wedding day.
In his book, Sacred Marriage, author Gary Thomas explores the idea that God’s intent for marriage isn’t to make us happy, but holy. “We have to stop asking of marriage what God never designed it to give — perfect happiness, conflict-free living, and idolatrous obsession,” Thomas explains. Instead, he says, we can appreciate what God designed marriage to provide: partnership, spiritual intimacy and the ability to pursue God — together.
Myth: The right man will know your needs and desires without you having to tell him
This is something that happens in every relationship, across the board. Dating, family, work-life, friendships — all of it. Have you ever expected someone to know what you want/need without you telling them? Then when they didn’t come through you were so disappointed and questioned the authenticity of their love for you or if they really value you.
Your boss should know that you’re not happy with the work you’re doing anymore or that you’re ready to move up. The best friend you’ve had for 15 years should know you want a surprise birthday party for that next milestone birthday. Your kids should know that you want just 15 minutes to drink your coffee in peace. Maybe you think if your husband really loves and values you then he already knows what you want for Christmas. Or maybe you think that if he is really the right man for you he will anticipate your every need and you’ll never have to ask for him to do anything.
No one is out there reading anyone’s mind. This is one of the most toxic things we can expect in any human connection we have, but especially in marriage. When we don’t tell people what we need/want and we just sit around and wait for them to figure it out we create frustration. The most harmful thing that comes from this is resentment. Resentment will creep into every other area of your relationship and tear it apart, piece by piece. In the meantime, your husband is clueless and all you had to do to avoid all of this was communicate.
The right man for you in this respect is one who is open to communication and wants to be told what you need and desire so he can be there for you.
Myth: When you marry someone they will fix all their faults
I feel like I can debunk this one with one question. Ladies who are already married — how many of your own faults have you fixed since you married your husband? Let’s be real with ourselves here. Women tend to have that mentality that we can fix our men. Well, we can’t. We can barely fix ourselves, if at all.
I have learned this in my marriage. I am a fixer — I want to know the problem, I want to come up with a solution. But I wasn’t looking at the right person. I learned not only can you not “fix” a person, but you shouldn’t try. It’s not your job. Your job is to love them. You are responsible for your own faults and nothing more. When it came to faults, I should have only been looking at myself. I have so many faults of my own that I should be thanking God that my husband even married me.
It’s not fair to your spouse to try to “fix” them and it’s going to rob you of any happiness you could hope to have in your marriage. This brings me back to self-reflection. Self-reflection is almost always the answer in these situations. When we take an honest look at ourselves we can’t possibly continue to look at our husbands with any frustration –only love and gratitude.
Myth: Marriage is 50/50
I believed this when we first got married, that we each needed to do our half of everything. We should meet in the middle, so to speak, on everything. But let me tell you what I consider to be the most important lesson thus far in our marriage. There is very rarely any meeting in the middle. At times it feels unfair because it is. Complete and total unselfishness is what true love looks like and there’s nothing fair about that.
True love and commitment mean giving everything and expecting nothing in return. The beauty of a good marriage is that both people give 100 percent, but rarely at the same time. Each person experiences the natural ebb and flow of life and the other person is there to lift them up when they are struggling and vice versa. That is the kind of support God intended for us to find in the union of marriage.
Sometimes you give more and sometimes you take more, same for your spouse. Sometimes the scale is balanced. I like to think of it as a relay race. Sometimes you’re carrying the baton, sometimes you’re resting up for your next turn, but you never forget that you’re on the same team. God knew that we would need this from someone in our lives, hence the importance placed on the commitment of marriage and unconditional love. I’m forever grateful for my relay race partner and his commitment to me.
Believing the love/marriage myths
We as people, in general, have a bad habit of following the crowds. If enough people say it, it must be true. So when we see cute graphics that say things like “love means never having to say you’re sorry” posted everywhere and being shared on social media a hundred thousand times, we start to believe that might be true.
As Christians, we have to have a solid foundation in biblical truth. If we already know what God says about love and marriage when we read statements like that we’ll be fully equipped to debunk them right then and there. The only way to know for sure that we are believing the truth is to know what the bible says, first hand. Seeking wise counsel in a pastor, elder, or mentor is great. But if we have no first-hand knowledge of the bible, we will be easily misled, sometimes even by well-meaning people. Because we are all only human. We should check every bit of information we take in against the Word of God. You should check every word I have written here against the Word.