There are so many myths about happy couples that they can’t even be called myths. Some people believe them as if they’re facts. Read how clearly Kathy McMahon dispels three of these ingrained myths. I’ve expanded on and adapted her wise words.
Myth 1. Happy couples don’t fight.
Myth 2. Happy couples have frequent, hot sex.
Myth 3. Happy couples avoid rough patches and never want to leave.
It’s always a challenge to convince the couples in my practice that not only are these myths, but believing them will cause them to be miserable. Kathy gives you quick, easy to digest ways to understand the facts about relationships. They can help you to change your relationship from unhappy to happy.
Myth One: Happy couples don’t fight
That’s a crock. Happy couples fight. Sometimes a lot.
Miserable couples fight. Sometimes a lot. Sometimes never.
The difference is in how each of them fight.
Every couple has normal relationship conflicts. It’s impossible not to have differences in personalities, opinions and desires. These come up regularly in the course of an average day. In fact, John Gottman’s research shows that 69% of all couple problems are perpetual problems that we need to establish ways to dialogue about. We need to discuss them instead of fight about or avoid dealing with them.
It’s by practicing having effective discussions, by first learning to self-soothe so you can fight fairly, that develops the ability to create a safe haven in which differences do not threaten the relationship. This is one of the ways that effective couples progress through predictable growth stages.
Myth Two: Happy couples have hot, frequent sex
The truth is that happy couples are friendly toward each other around sex.
They tend to not make sex an angry, fighting issue.
It always shocks me when one person gets angry at the other for refusing to have sex with them. They sulk or start a fight. Do they really think that makes them more attractive? No! In fact it turns their partner off even more. There is a way out of this.
You can learn the skills involved in making appealing sexual invitations. All couples need to learn ways to:
a) Create rituals for initiating and refusing sex
b) Practice open and effective communication about sex.
This way, couples learn to cooperate with each other in a friendly way about their sexual desires. And the pay-off is they get better and braver at negotiating new sexual practices.
Esther Perel, one of the world’s most insightful voices on couples and sexuality across cultures, suggests you ask yourself whether your sexual communication is open, easy and fluent or whether you’d describe it as tense, maybe even a power struggle. If it’s the latter, don’t lose hope. It just means you need to learn better skills in this area.
Myth Three: Happy couples avoid rough patches & never want to leave
Life is full of rough patches, sometimes deep ruts which cannot be avoided. Many happy couples do have thoughts of leaving, especially after a nasty fight – it’s a common response to rough patches. They can feel like threats to our relationship and/or our self. Evolution has wired our nervous systems for fight, flight or freeze/appease responses in the face of threats. These are knee-jerk reactions which we can train ourselves to over-ride.
By learning to over-ride their knee-jerk responses, happy couples have nasty fights less often, and hence they think of leaving less. They stubbornly outlast their problems.
If you can reach out and hold onto each other as you face life’s rough patches together, every difficulty you face can make the bond of trust and love between you stronger. This is the doorway into greater happiness, better mental and physical health, more secure, resilient and confident adults and more loving partnerships and families.
There is now a science behind what makes healthy relationships. Susan Johnson and Helen Fisher show that brain scans tell us that some lover’s brains, those who have been together a long time, respond in the same way, with the same excitement as those of new lovers to pictures of or touch from their beloved. This is the powerful effect a strong bond has on our bodies.
If you’d like help in sorting out myth from fact, you may need an experienced relationship counsellor & coach. Call 0421 961 687 or email us to schedule an appointment. International callers should call +61 2 8005 1742.
You deserve the best trained relationship coaches if you’re planning to invest time and money in your relationship. If you’re not ready to book an appointment, call us on 0421 961 687 to book a FREE 10 minute phone consultation to discuss how we may be able to assist you.