Top 5 Myths about Marriage

Excerpted from The Girls' Guide to Surviving a Breakup

You may be wondering what marriage myths are doing in The Girls' Guide to Surviving a Breakup. There are actually two reasons: (1) I think if I and some of my friends had been clued into these earlier and given them some thought, we might have made more of ourselves and our lives when we were single; and (2) I think marriage is held out in our culture as the Answer, and that creates unrealistic and inflated expectations.

Therefore, the top 5 myths about marriage:

1. Your Relationship Will Be Better When You Are Married
Dr. Phil, who was a weekly guest on Oprah and now has his own show, suggests that you take a look at your relationship exactly as it is before you get married. If upon examination you feel there is much about it that you don't like, don't fool yourself into thinking that being married is going to change those things -- or change him. So wise. Of course, there are things that you can do to improve a relationship -- counseling, working on better or increased communication -- but marriage is actually not one of those things. It is not a relationship fixer, nor is it intended to be.


2. You Will Be Financially Better Off
3. You and Your Husband Will Share Everything
4. Other Things in Your Life Will Be Better
5. You Will Never Be Attracted to Anyone Else Again

2. You Will Be Financially Better Off

You might be. I hope you are. But it's also quite possible that you won't be. Look around you. Most women and most moms work whether they want to or not, because most households today require two incomes. And even if you are financially better off when you get married, that doesn't necessarily make life financially carefree. So if you see your wifely responsibilities as cooling out poolside and eating bonbons, think again. Take an interest in your finances and your financial well-being now because it will still matter down the road.

3. You and Your Husband Will Share Everything
It's possible that your future husband will want to spend his free time exactly the way you do. But don't count on it, and don't put your interests on hold in the meantime. The perfect man for you to spend the rest of your life with may very well not share your enthusiasm for scuba diving or antique shopping or football or whatever. And you may not share his passion for jai alai or watercolors or heavy metal. Cultivate relationships with people who do share your interests and pursue those interests with them. You may end up pursuing those interests with those people for the rest of your life, and you and your marriage will be better for it.

4. Other Things in Your Life Will Be Better

As if! Marriage does not make your job more interesting or your sister less selfish or your mother more understanding. This may sound obvious to you, but I can't tell you how many people expect to return to a shinier, happier life after their honeymoon. Also, do not expect people in your life who say they want you to get married --or who may even be pressuring you to -- to behave better or differently after you do.

5. You Will Never Be Attracted to Anyone Else Again
Lucy's father says that we all live in a constant state of desire and the fidelity in marriage is all about making the choice to be faithful. I don't know about a constant state of desire, but very likely you will come across someone besides your spouse in the course of your married life to whom you are attracted. You may not be sure if this snazzy fellow is someone you would have just wanted to shag or whether he could have been the love of your life in a parallel universe. You'll never know, but it's a touch unsettling, especially if you expected that in addition to actually being faithful, you'd feel you always wanted to be.

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