There’s a lot of bad marriage advice out there. Advice like “If it doesn’t work out you can always get divorced.” Or, one many of us men might hear “never marry a woman who makes more money than you.” On the surface most of what we hear can seem like sound advice that has been given for your protection however, it can often be very destructive and end up being the very thing that ends up harming your marriage.
I’ve personally heard a lot of bad advice prior to getting married. And now I’m now very cautious about the advice I give on marriage as a result. People who give bad marriage advice are not intentionally trying to wreck your marriage before it has even started. But perhaps haven’t yet challenged the origin and the thought process behind some of this “helpful” advice.
Here are 4 examples of bad marriage advice I’ve heard that sounds great but can potentially destroy a marriage if taken on board!
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Follow your heart
The truth is that sometimes our heart will lead us to do some really dumb stuff. It’s never a wise move to lead with your emotions. So it’s important that we don’t follow our heart unless our heart is following our principles and commitments. A man’s heart can sometimes lead him to the things that are wrong and my heart has a tendency to sometimes give in to my selfish needs. If we’re speaking truthfully; our hearts may not always lead us to a place where we want to stay committed to our spouse but it’s vital to stay committed regardless of what our heart feels.
Our feelings can be very fickle and sometimes it just needs our persistence in commitment to allow our feeling to catch up to where our commitments are. Sometimes I’ll wake up in the morning and think “I really don’t feel like going to work today!” But what happens…? I get myself out of bed and find myself at work because I have a commitment to show up and do my job. That’s what I signed up for and should honor that.
If we base our marriage on our feelings then it will end up in separation. Because, as humans, our feeling are up and down all the time and the truth is that our feelings often fail us… a lot!! You may not feel in love at times but as Tina Turner said: “What’s love got to do with it?” Our feeling can sometimes even betray our core beliefs, but our word and our commitments to our marriage should remain strong. Tweet this! I’ve learned that once you focus on your commitments you can allow your heart and your feeling the time it needs to catch up. Think with your head, not your heart!
Have separate bank accounts
If you run your own business that you have a very valid reasons for having separate bank accounts. However, If this is not the case and you have made the choice that your funds should not be combined due to some “good advice” you heard then this may lead you down a path of secrets and become breeding ground for lack of trust. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having separate bank accounts. Truth be told, I enjoy the benefits of having both joint and separate accounts.
However, it’s the motive behind why we may feel the need to keep our personal finances from our spouse. (Question I’m pondering: Is there such a thing as personal finances once married?) Before my wife and I got married we had our separate bank accounts, however, the moment we brought our house together and had an equally invested interest in both our personal and joint finances, we decided to join most of our money.
Ask yourself why you have decided to have separate bank accounts. If you’re like me then you might be thinking “How will I be able to hide all of my secret purchases… Fast food?” (I can sometimes be a bit of a secret eater… I love my food! Lol!) But seriously, this helps us to remain financially accountable to each other but it also means that we become transparent and do not have the need to hide anything no matter how big or small.
It may seem like such a small thing but that’s how dishonesty often creeps into the relationship. Remember, you are married to this person and you should both be in the loop when it comes to your joint income and finances. I’ve personally made some dumb financial decisions and that was all because we weren’t both in the loop on how much was coming in and what it was all being spent on. When things aren’t adding up that’s when we leave ourselves open to start making up stuff and money and finance really can break trust in a marriage. Tweet this! so when it comes to finances it’s important that there’s complete transparency on both parts. Whether your accounts are joint or separate, the conversation regarding the money that comes in and goes out of the house should be one that is openly discussed between husband and wife.
Always put the kids first
I would lay down my life for my child. What father wouldn’t? In fact, most of us parents wouldn’t give it a second thought to literally risk life and limb for our kids. That being said, however, if you take on the advice that “it’s ALL about the kids” then you’ll leave no time to focus on your marriage. Many of us make this mistake when our children are first born (I would be the first to put my hands up for that one) but that ok for a while, until you adjust into the swing of things.
It’s vital to be aware of the power a child has and to understand that a child has the power to drive an unintentional wedge in between a husband and his wife. Putting the kids first can sometimes set you and your spouse up to become disconnected from each other on every level as husband and wife. And you’ll only connect as two people who parent the same children. What I’ve now learned is that what I should simply give our kids a great chance of having their own successful marriage by setting a dedicated and committed example of marriage for them. Tweet this! A lot of people opt out of ever getting married simply because of the examples they saw from their parents. We run the risk of potentially handicapping our children’s future marriages by putting them first in ours!
Work on having the kind of marriage that makes your children actually want to get married someday! Kiss each other when you get in from work. Hug, hold hands, and snuggle up when watching TV. Make it visible that mum and dad are attracted to each other and actually still do love each other.
Have a plan B
This is usually the kind of advice that you would typically hear being passed down from a woman scorned. However these days you get a number of men who protect themselves from re-living previous hurts (yes we hurt too sometimes). It’s our self-preservation instincts kicking in. In life, we are taught to have options and always have plans B, C, and even D ready just in case things don’t go well with plan A. We would do this with our careers, our financial investments, and even our studies options. We habitually create layers of options that form our safety net so that we have something to fall back on “Just in case.” On the surface, this makes absolute sense. These options are designed to protect us however what can protect us can also prevent us from committing out everything into a marriage.
Imagine this! You’ve to get somewhere important today but you have a couple of options open to you.
Plan A: You can jump on a train but you have to leave your home a little earlier in order to be on time to catch it.
Plan B: You have your car sitting in the driveway with a full tank of gas that would give you the option to drive yourself to your destination from door to door.
I have been in this exact situation so many times. And somehow I always end up driving myself to my destination because the truth is; I was never really committed to getting ready in time to action plan A. Because in the back of my head I knew that I had plan B to fall back on.
Here’s the thing, when you prepare a “plan B” you can never fully throw yourself into a committed relationship because you’ll always have one foot in the door and the other out and that always results in never giving your all to make plan A work. Let plan A be the only plan you need.
We’ve all had marriage advice that on the surface sounds great and some of us have even passed this advice on to others without even realizing it. But the truth is this; not all good marriage advice is good for everybody! It’s not a “one size fits all” kinda thing. The thing is with advice is that you can either take it or leave it. It’s always good to hear WHY someone does something within their marriage as this is the heart of what they are trying to say. What is the end result that they aim to achieve? Think about what ultimately is the purpose of their advice. Once you start digging behind the functional action of the advice, you’ll then start to truly discover whether the advice you are receiving is good or bad for your marriage.