What is "normal" comes from society, Hollywood and the culture around us, but it doesn't always mean it's correct. What we see in the movies definitely isn't real life, and unfortunately our own friends and family can do a really good job of masking what's really going on in their relationships. Social media makes it very easy to advertise a perfect life when in fact, the opposite is true.
With all these smoke screens of reality, how do you know what behaviors are truly normal, and which ones just seem normal - but actually destroy your marriage? Here are 5 to watch out for.
1. Following traditional roles
It may seem correct to follow the traditional roles of marriage. He goes to work, you cook and clean. He handles the finances and you do the shopping. While this model has worked for some people, it does not work for everyone. You have to discover what works for you and the only way to do so is throwing all preconceived notions of "roles" out the window. Maybe he loves to cook or you have a more stable career. It doesn't mean you are doing things wrong to stray from the norm. If you try to force yourself into roles, you will most likely be miserable.
2. Never fighting
You hear about those perfect marriages where the husband and wife never fight. They always agree and always get a long. If that is the case for you, great. But for the rest of us, it would be destructive to not fight. If you try to pretend that nothing is wrong and hold it all in, you're going to explode. It is normal to fight. It does not mean that there is something wrong with your marriage. Arguing is how most couples express their feelings, even if it results in a fight. As long as you fight fair and make up in the end, this is perfectly normal, despite what Hollywood tells you.
3. Thinking they are perfect
It's normal to think the person you are falling in love with is perfect (usually that wears off over time). Then you start to see some flaws, but it makes you love them even more. There can be a problem however, if you are not prepared to see the flaws. If you feel your partner is truly perfect, you are in for a harsh surprise when you realize they aren't. It may change the way you see them and disappoint you. No one is perfect. We all have flaws. Shaking the stereotype that our spouse is perfect will help you learn to loves those quirks even more than their perfections.
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4. Putting your kids first
Kids can bring you closer together with your spouse, but they can also tear you two apart. Society is quick to tell us that children should be put first in the family. Their cares, needs and futures should be the most important priority in your household. But this can lead to a broken marriage. If your spouse feels their needs and desires are never being met, they will step back. If we side with the kids, or undermined our spouse's decisions, it can cause a divide. It is important to be a united front as parents. Constantly be working on your own relationship, otherwise it will fall apart.
5. Venting to your friends
While venting can often make you feel better, it's dangerous. When we confide in a friend or family member about the negative things your spouse may say or do, it paints a negatively skewed picture of your parter. They don't see the apologies later that day, or all the little things that make you love your spouse so much. These one-sided perceptions of your spouse may cause your friends and family to encourage you to fight back, or even leave them. It's one thing to talk to a friend when you are seeking advice (especially one who knows you and your spouse well enough to give sound advice) it's another thing to unfairly gossip about all the crazy, ridiculous things your spouse does. Make sure you know the difference, otherwise you may be hurting your relationship more than you know.
"Normal" does not always mean "correct". Find your own normal, embrace it, continue to change and add to it as the years go by.