Emancipating from marriage myths


August 02, 2016

If you've had, or are having, trouble in your relationship, you've probably got lots of advice. Sometimes it seems like everybody who has ever been married or knows anyone who has ever been married thinks he or she holds the secret to guaranteeing endless love.

Over the years, I've found many myths about relationships that are not only false, but potentially destructive. They are dangerous because they can lead couples down the wrong path, or worse, convince them that their marriage is a hopeless case. The notion that you can save your relationship just by learning to communicate more sensitively is probably the most widely held misconception about happy marriages, but it's hardly the only one. So here goes.

Marriage is just a piece of paper. The psychological and physical benefits of actually being married are enormous. After 50 years of social epidemiology, it has been established that in developed countries, the greatest source of health, wealth, longevity, and the ultimate welfare of children is a satisfying and healthy marriage, and Jamaica is very developed. So never believe what someone says. Marriage is so much more than that.

Living alone, with occasional relationships, is a lifestyle choice that is equivalent in terms of life outcomes to being married. Again, social epidemiology has shown that everywhere on the planet, people who live alone die sooner, are less healthy, are less wealthy, and recover from illness slower than people who are married. This is especially true of men, who have much worse social support networks than women. When men are in a committed relationship, their social networks increase. So c'mon if you want to and you are able, go for marriage!

Conflict is a sign that you're in a bad relationship. Conflict is inevitable in all relationships. They are "natural, normal and neutral" says Tim Elmore. Furthermore, conflict is there for a reason: to improve our understanding of our partner. Conflict usually arises from missed attempts to communicate, especially in one person attempting to get emotionally closer to the other. Conflict also emerges from discrepancies between partners in expectations. These are worth talking about, and some couples do it because the make-up under the sheet is delicious, lol.

Love is enough. Love is not enough because in most marriages, especially after a baby arrives, couples stop courting one another and stop making romance, great sex, fun, and adventure a priority. Relationships have a tendency to become endless to-do lists, and conversation becomes limited to errands talk. You need to intentionally make or keep these parts of a relationship a priority. Love nuh put food pon table'.

Talking about past emotional wounds will only make them worse. Faulkner once said: "The past is never dead. It's not even past." It is possible to process past emotional injuries. You can't change the past, but you can change your recollection and retelling of it. We are all products of our past, but we must never become prisoners of our past, Emancipate, nuh, and full-joy yuhself!

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