Is Your Marriage Normal?

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praying coupleMany people who get married have high hopes for the marriage when, they first make the commitment but inevitably, the marriage will fall into the natural pattern and they will get to a point where they have to question what they need to do to have a better marriage. Many people carry over their ideas about what is normal from their family of origin and sometimes they don’t question them until they are faced with a partner who does not accept their mindset or approach to marriage and family life as normal.

The truth is that there are a lot of people who have dysfunctional behavior that has become “normal” to them because they come from an environment where everyone had the same dysfunction.

Is it normal that…we fight a lot?

It depends on the kind of argument. If you bicker about things like who’s responsible for carpool, or whether you really need to see your in-laws this weekend, rest assured that so do half of other couples. When it comes to heated arguments, 48 percent of unhappy couples have them regularly, but most happy couples have big fights a few times a year, max. The key to not blowing these disagreements out of proportion maybe dismissing tried and true wisdom, like the rule that you should never go to bed angry. “I personally think it’s the better way to go, because you kind of need to sleep on it,” says Chrisanna Northrup, co-author of The Normal Bar. However, if you’re having screaming fights about money or your future — for instance, whether you want more kids — so often your voice is going hoarse, consider scheduling an appointment with a marriage counselor, who can offer personalized strategies for how to sort things out.

 Is it normal that…I’m not completely honest with him?

Within limits, a few secrets — and even lies — between couples are generally harmless. If you’ve ever fibbed about those shoes being new (“I’ve had these forever, I just don’t wear them often!”) or neglected to tell him that your mom thinks he’s a total slob, you’re not alone. In America, 43 percent of men and one-third of women have kept major secrets from their partners and approximately three-quarters of people have lied — including those who consider themselves part of a happy couple. As long as you don’t take it to extremes — like failing to reveal credit card debt or the fact that you have a monthly lunch-date with your ex — lies that keep the peace and protect feelings are normal.

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