Despite what you may have heard or imagined, marriage isn’t always pleasant. There are times when you will feel stuck and hopeless. Sometimes, you may even feel like giving up and getting divorced. And one thing that can complicate your relationship even more is when you get terrible marriage advice, because it can leave you feeling more confused and could lead you to make some very bad decisions.
The Cheat Sheet chatted with some top relationship experts to learn more about marriage advice that just doesn’t cut it. Here is the worst marriage advice they’ve ever received or heard.
1. Everything will work out
The absolute worst marriage advice I ever received came from a couples therapist who told my spouse at the time and I that she was “sure we would work things out.” I was young, he was young, and she was dead wrong. She apologized profusely in the next session, but if I had not been smarter I might have continued to stay in a damaging, negative marriage. She meant well, and advice is often coming from that place of meaning well and wanting to be helpful. My point is that even the expert in the room can flub and say the wrong thing.
The better advice that we received from another couples therapist was, “Do you think you two have to hate each other if you split up?” We were young and we did think that we had to be miserable and negative — it turns out that we did not. If there is such a thing as a good divorce, we had one. We were married way too young, having succumbed to Catholic parental pressures to marry when we should not have. However, that good advice (thank you, Mike Zito, Ph.D.) helped us work together in peace and honor our almost 10 years together as we started new lives apart.
Advice comes from well-meaning people most of the time. At the end of the day, you need to take everything with a big grain of salt and decide what is, in your heart, best for you and yours.
Jeanie Winstrom, M.A., L.C.P.C., relationship expert at Talkspace