The Myth of the Perfect Marriage Is there such a thing as a perfect marriage? A good first question to ask is, "Are you perfect?" BY LISA BROOKES KIFT, MFT
You may think you know a perfect couple, but they likely carry some imperfect traits.
How many people do you know that compare their marriage to others? Do you? In my experience, many do and they tend to be the folks who are concerned that their relationship is falling short of what itís supposed to be. They do so because they are looking for a measuring stick to check against their own; to either normalize or unnecessarily highlight their own marriage problems.
Itís a common misconception that there is such thing as a "perfect marriage." It seems to me that because there is no such thing as a "perfect person" then how can there be a "perfect marriage," which inherently involves two imperfect people? Marriages are one of the most rewarding experiences people can have, but they typically take at least some degree of work to be great. And even the strongest unions out there have their "moments."
I imagine a few of you know of a marriage that looks perfect from the outside. They seem to never fight, they hold hands and display affection like a couple of giddy adolescents, they appear to agree all the time and a halo of bliss surrounds them. Itís not to say that they aren't ridiculously happy (and good for them!), but itís a mistake to assume that what you see goes on 24-7 and that they never have their "moments."
Another problem with comparing your marriage to others is that it doesnít take into account the differences in the people involved and their unique external circumstances. When you compare to others you run the risk of forgetting all the special qualities you and your partner have, what initially drew you together and the other nuances of your life that are likely totally different.
The reality is that couples can have periods of difficulty. Marriages can be hard work! If you are susceptible to feeling disappointed when your marriage isnít perfect, here are a few tips to help shake those feelings and help re-focus your energy on your spouse and improving the situation:
Remind yourself that there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Refrain from using this false notion to bring you down about your situation. Channel your negative energy into proactive steps toward reconnecting with your spouse.
Remind yourself that different things work for different marriages. What makes you and your spouse feel good together may be quite different than how other couples experience their relationships. And thatís ok!
Remind yourself of what works well in your marriage. Donít allow yourself to focus so much on the things that arenít running smoothly that you overlook the things that are. Celebrate the positives while making improvements in the areas that need bit of help. Keep a balanced and realistic perspective.
Being a marriage counselor myself, people often assume I must have a "perfect marriage" because I am a relationship expert. Ha! As much knowledge as I have about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, itís easy to forget what I "know" in my own marriage. This is a common joke amongst my therapist friends; regardless of our clinical training our humanness has a way of popping up and derailing us once in a while. Thankfully, I have the insight, awareness and tools to get back on track in my less than perfect, but happy marriage.
Lisa Brookes Kift is a marriage and family therapist, author of "The Premarital Counseling Workbook for Couples" and "The Marriage Refresher Course for Couples (Therapy-At-Home Workbooks)"--two of a planned series of cost effective workbooks for individuals and couples providing a cost effective alternative to traditional face-to-face counseling. She is the creator of The Toolbox at LisaKiftTherapy.com, providing tools for marriage, relationship and emotional health. Lisa is happily married, has a precocious son and strives to balance her life between her therapy practice, writing, family, friends, travel, love of the outdoors , fitness and her weekly co-ed volleyball league.