Oct 132018 0 Responses

The Modern Rules of Marriage Don’t Work

No wonder marriage doesn’t work for many people. If you set the wrong address in Google maps and then follow the instructions, you will not arrive at your desired destination. No matter how carefully you follow the directions, you can’t overcome the fatal mistake of choosing the wrong route.

So it is with many marriages. The modern rules of marriage make sense to us. We assume they will lead us to what we desire–meaningful relationships which last for a lifetime. But they don’t. Instead, they point us in the opposite direction of success. We fail, but instead of questioning the map, we double down. We try harder to follow the societal rules assuming that adherence to the rules will ensure success. It won’t.

As we continue to fail we draw wrong conclusions:

Something is wrong with marriage. Many people have given up on the concept of marriage believing that because they haven’t experienced success, the institution itself must be outdated.

Something is wrong with men/women. Others draw the conclusion that their struggle for success is a sign that modern men/women are messed up. How many times have I heard, “Where are all the good men?” or “What’s wrong with women these days?”

Something is wrong with me. Sadly, some conclude that something is intrinsically messed up with them. They see others have success and assume they haven’t found it because of an internal flaw with themselves. (See: 10 Signs Your Marriage Is Healthy)

It’s true that something is wrong. But the problem isn’t with the institution, the entirety of the opposite sex, or even within us. The problem is that we have created modern rules for marriage that don’t work.

8 Modern Rules

Many believe the way to success in marriage is to follow the modern rules.

1. Find your soul-mate. There is someone created just for you. This is your true love. When you find this person, life will be whole and marriage will be easy.

2. Pain is unnatural and a sign that something is horribly wrong. No one likes pain so we must do everything in our power not to be near it. Pain is so uncomfortable it must be wrong.

3. There are only two ways to deal with problems–deny them or attack them. Because pain is a problem, disagreements are threats. Rather than learning problem-solving skills, we must quietly accept issues or loudly attack our spouse regarding those issues.

4. Marriage is about you. It’s about your happiness, satisfaction, and success. If your spouse doesn’t make you happy, you might have chosen the wrong person.

5. A good marriage naturally happens. No need to work. It’s not necessary to learn or grow. When you pick the right person, things just naturally fall into place.

6. Protect your heart so you don’t get hurt. It’s a scary world. Don’t open your heart up to anyone or you might get hurt. Just give enough of yourself that your spouse feels as though you are engaged.

7. If someone truly loves you, they will agree with you. Love and agreement are synonymous. Disagreement isn’t just a sign that the other person sees life differently or is wrong, it’s a sign something is wrong with them. If they loved you, they would agree with you.

8. When you’ve found the right person, everyone will support you. A good marriage means you can have it all. When you have the right person, they will love every friend, get along perfectly with your family, and sweeten every aspect of your life.

These aren’t just eight modern rules of marriage. They are also eight modern rules of how to ensure marriage won’t work. The more someone attempts to follow these concepts in hopes of having a meaningful marriage, they will experience frustration and failure. This is not the way.

A Better Way

Thankfully, there is a better way. While the modern rules of marriage rarely lead to success, there are some ancient principles which nearly always result in the destination we desire. These principles are the heart of my latest book Happily: 8 Commitments of Couples who Laugh, Love & Last. The book isn’t built on my ideas. It’s designed around eight old ideas which seem out of touch with today’s world.

They are contrarian. Left to ourselves, we would never guess these commitments would lead to a healthy marriage, yet for generations, these ideas have created the path which many couples have traveled. The result hasn’t been perfection, but has been a long track record of healthy relationships.

Is your way working? Are you happily married? Would you rate your marriage as having a deep sense of health and enjoyment? If so, keep doing what you are doing.

Is your way kind of working? Are you happy with your marriage, but wish you could improve some things. Consider this other way.

Is your way not working? Are you certain that marriage was meant to be better than what you are currently experiencing? Give up your way and try these contrarian ideas.

For a simple investment of around $10, it’s possible you could get a dramatically new perspective of how you are supposed to do marriage. Just a little money and a little time could give you the new directions to the marriage you’ve always wanted.

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