In the journey of marriage, couples often encounter beliefs that, though seemingly benign, can significantly undermine the foundation of their relationship. These assumptions, left unchecked, can lead to misunderstandings, resentment, and emotional distance, ultimately threatening the union’s stability. In this article, we explore five common assumptions that have the potential to destroy marriages and offer actionable steps towards overcoming relationship assumptions and enjoying healthier, more fulfilling partnerships.

1. “It shouldn’t be this hard.”

The Dangers: This assumption breeds a false notion that marriage should be effortless, leading to frustration and disillusionment when inevitable challenges arise. It suggests that if a relationship requires work, it might not be right, discouraging couples from investing the necessary effort to overcome obstacles.

The Reality: All strong, enduring relationships require work, communication, and commitment. Challenges are not indicators of a flawed marriage but opportunities for growth, deepening understanding, and strengthening the bond between partners.

Steps to Move in the Right Direction:

  1. Embrace Challenges as Opportunities: View every obstacle as a chance to learn more about each other and to strengthen your relationship.
  2. Cultivate Open Communication: Make it a priority to share your thoughts, feelings, and needs openly and regularly.
  3. Commit to Mutual Effort: Recognize that both partners must actively contribute to the health and growth of the relationship.

2. “It doesn’t count if I have to ask.”

The Dangers: Expecting partners to intuitively know each other’s needs without communication can lead to disappointment and resentment. This belief undermines the importance of clear, direct communication in understanding and fulfilling each other’s needs.

The Reality: Effective communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship. Expressing needs and desires openly invites intimacy and understanding, reinforcing the bond between partners.

Steps to Move in the Right Direction:

  1. Normalize Asking: Encourage an environment where expressing needs and desires is accepted and valued.
  2. Practice Active Listening: Show genuine interest in your partner’s needs by listening attentively and empathetically.
  3. Foster a Culture of Reciprocity: Build a relationship dynamic where both partners feel comfortable and encouraged to express their needs and desires.

3. “It’s better to avoid the topic than to fight about it.”

The Dangers: Avoiding difficult conversations can lead to unresolved issues and emotional distancing. While it might seem like a temporary solution, it prevents the opportunity to address and resolve underlying problems, potentially leading to greater conflict in the future.

The Reality: Healthy conflict resolution involves facing issues head-on with respect, understanding, and a willingness to find mutual ground. Addressing disagreements directly can strengthen relationships by fostering deeper understanding and intimacy.

Steps to Move in the Right Direction:

  1. Cultivate a Safe Communication Environment: Ensure that both partners feel safe and supported to express their thoughts and feelings, even on challenging topics.
  2. Learn Constructive Communication Techniques: Develop skills that promote open dialogue, such as using “I” statements to express feelings and active listening to understand your partner’s perspective fully.
  3. Agree to Tackle Issues Together: Commit to addressing conflicts as a team, focusing on finding solutions that meet both partners’ needs.

4. “My partner is responsible for my happiness.”

The Dangers: This belief places an unfair and unrealistic expectation on one’s partner to be the sole source of happiness, leading to dependency and potential resentment when the partner cannot fulfill this impossible role.

The Reality: Personal happiness and fulfillment come from within and are influenced by a variety of sources, including self-care, personal achievements, and relationships. While partners contribute to each other’s happiness, it’s crucial for individuals to pursue their joy independently.

Steps to Move in the Right Direction:

  1. Cultivate Individual Interests: Pursue hobbies and interests outside the relationship to maintain a healthy sense of self and personal fulfillment.
  2. Practice Self-Care: Prioritize your well-being through regular self-care practices.
  3. Communicate Emotional Needs: Share your feelings and needs with your partner in a way that fosters mutual support without placing the burden of your happiness solely on them.

5. “Our problems have nothing to do with my childhood.”

The Dangers: Ignoring the impact of one’s upbringing can overlook the root causes of many relationship issues. Unresolved childhood experiences can influence how we view ourselves, interact with others, and function in relationships.

The Reality: Understanding and healing from past traumas are crucial for personal growth and the health of your relationship. Many behaviors and patterns in relationships can be traced back to earlier life experiences, and addressing these can lead to significant breakthroughs in how you relate to your partner.

Steps to Move in the Right Direction:

  1. Explore Personal History: Reflect on how your upbringing influences your relationship behaviors.
  2. Seek Professional Support: Consider therapy to address and heal from past traumas.
  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Navigate the complexities of your past with kindness and understanding.

Conclusion

Challenging these five common assumptions is crucial for fostering healthier, more fulfilling relationships. Whether it’s recognizing the effort required to nurture a partnership, the importance of clear communication, the value of addressing conflicts directly, the responsibility for personal happiness, or the impact of our childhoods on our relationships, each step towards debunking these myths can lead to deeper connection and understanding between partners. By embracing the reality that relationships are complex and require intentional work, individuals can move towards building stronger bonds that are resilient in the face of challenges. This journey of transformation not only enhances our relationships but also promotes personal growth and emotional healing, paving the way for a life filled with love, respect, and mutual support.

I’ve written a workbook to help couples take their first steps to overcoming relationship assumptions and building the foundation of a healthy, life-long relationship.

>>> Click here to download The 5 Relational Agreements Workbook for Couples.


author avatar
Brent Peak Licensed Professional Counselor
Brent Peak, Licensed Professional Counselor and Trauma Recovery Specialist, is the owner of North Valley Therapy Services in Phoenix, Arizona. With a profound commitment to healing childhood trauma and aiding couples in severe crises, Brent has extensive experience and a unique ability to address trauma, poor self-esteem, and interpersonal challenges with empathy and effectiveness. Trained by Pia Mellody and endorsed by her for his work in Post Induction Therapy, Brent is not just a therapist but a trusted guide, offering hope and transformative change to those who have often felt let down by traditional therapy paths.
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