Marriage, like most relationships, is all about communication, building trust, being vulnerable, and fighting off hordes of orcs back-to-back on a mountaintop. Or is that just us? But like childcare, politics, and the weather, everybody seems to have an opinion about marriage. What works. What doesn’t. What you should strive to do.
Unfortunately, a lot of that advice is absolutely bogus, as sociologist Samuel Perry from the University of Oklahoma drew attention to on Twitter. The scholar asked social media users to share the very worst marriage advice they’ve ever gotten and kicked things off with an example of his own about how couples should supposedly not go to bed angry.
Check out some of the best tweets below, upvote the ‘advice’ that you think is absolutely ridiculous, and share your own pearls of wisdom about marriage in the comment section below. And remember—happy panda, happy life!
Image credits: socofthesacred
I previously had a chat about keeping the bonds of marriage strong with Suzann Pileggi Pawelski and her husband James Pawelski, the authors of 'Happy Together: Using the Science of Positive Psychology to Build Love That Lasts.'
"While it’s critical we all social distance, we must make sure not to emotionally distance with our friends and family. Positive psychology research indicates that one of the most important factors in human flourishing is building close relationships with others,” Suzie and James told Bored Panda.
“A wedding is a magical day no doubt, and of course something to celebrate, but what about planning for all the days to come in our marriage which is intended to last a lifetime? Many newlyweds seem to think that ‘happily ever after’ just happens. However, research shows it’s healthy habits that build long-term love," the couple explained that we have to work at relationships; they’re not something that automatically turns out great.
"It’s interesting that it’s the only domain in our lives where we think that success will just happen without much effort of our own. For example, when it comes to our physical health, it would be foolish to think that merely buying a gym membership and working out once would strengthen our muscles and build flexibility (if only that were the case!).”
The couple said: “We all know that in order to increase our strength and tone our bodies we have to work at it regularly. So, too, when it comes to our relational health. However, popular culture seems to romanticize marriage making people think that once you get married you can merely ride off into the sunset together. That’s obviously not the case. It takes work.”
The couple sees marriage as an adventure. A challenging one but an adventure nonetheless. "Being open, curious, and having a growth mindset about ourselves, and our partners will help us be able to better navigate together in marriage. Marriage isn’t an end state but rather a beginning. It’s a process and a life-long journey. The more we seek to understand ourselves and our partners, the better equipped we will be to travel together on this beautiful, yet often challenging adventure."
There are various exercises that help strengthen relationships. Suzie and James shared a few of them with Bored Panda.
"They can focus on what they put into the relationship rather than what they get out of it. Truly happy couples realize that happily ever after doesn’t just happen but that it takes effort. These couples focus on action steps they can take to improve their relational happiness rather than relying on their partner to fulfill them,” was their first tip.
“They can share good secrets with each other. They can practice sharing important things about themselves that they have never previously revealed to each other. It might be a childhood memory, a life-changing experience, or a vivid dream. Perhaps it’s a hope for the future or a fantasy. It can be lighthearted or serious. The important thing is that they authentically share with one another something meaningful. It’s imperative that couples are curious, open, and welcoming of the secrets and nonjudgmental. By doing so, couples will feel safe and will strengthen their connection,” relationship experts Suzie and James shared.
“They can 'prioritize positivity' rather than just wait around for happiness to happen. In other words, they can schedule activities into their day that evoke joy and fulfillment. In the beginning of a relationship, we naturally experience a high level of positive emotions. As a relationship develops, we can’t expect to naturally experience the same frequency of 'high-arousal' positive emotions like amusement and joy. Rather we must notice what tends to lead to these feelings and then schedule those activities into our daily lives. Think back to the beginning of the relationship and those things that you enjoyed doing together as a couple and make it a priority to schedule them into your day. Also, try out something new that interests both of you. Research shows that seeking out and engaging in fun, exhilarating, and novel activities can increase mutual attraction and promote a healthy passion in intimate relationships.”
What’s more, couples can create a ‘Positive relationship portfolio. “It entails gathering some of the key mementos, pictures, cards, letters, etc. that remind you specifically of your significant other and how special he/she is, and how important your relationship is. Once you put together the positive relationship portfolio you then spend 15 minutes each day for a week savoring and basking in the positive emotions that these items evoke in you. This exercise helps us rekindle those positive emotions that we had during the honeymoon phase, remembering all the great things about our partner and how important he/she is.”
Note: this post originally had 108 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.
The couple also shared that it’s a must to continue seeing old and new strengths in our partners as time goes by. “It seems that in the beginning of the relationship we notice one another’s strengths and see our partner’s differences as intriguing as evidenced perhaps by marathon conversations that last long into the evening. However, after some time we often fall into a rut, stop asking questions, and think we know all there is about our partner. What perhaps we once saw as intriguing differences we now see as annoying deficits! That’s dangerous to a relationship. It’s important to continue asking questions and seeing strengths in our partner to help build a stronger bond."