Traditional media and social media are making it hard for couples to stay positive about marriage. (Like it isn’t hard enough already!) Negative press for marriage is everywhere. While waiting in line at the grocery store, you are bound to see magazine covers plastered with the news of yet another celebrity marriage coming to an end. Tune into the evening news or skim internet headlines and what do you find? A security breach of a dating website targeting married people looking to cheat! On the flip side, we often see edited representations of marriage while scrolling through our newsfeeds, giving the impression that picture-perfect marriages are the norm, and anything less than that is something to be ashamed of.
Sometimes after watching the news or scrolling through social media, you might find yourself thinking, “Marriage—what’s the point?!” or, “I wish my marriage was as perfect as theirs!”
Don’t let these distorted portrayals of marriage discourage you. Here are 5 things to remember:
- Media feeds on the extremes. The over-the-top, multimillion-dollar-ring-and-wedding ups and the scandalous, secret-life, affair-with-the-nanny downs. Social media is often where you see the polished highlight reel of your friends’ or favorite celebrities’ relationships, while traditional media exposes the latter with just as much fervor. Remember this– your relationship is not destined for the same fate as those you see in the tabloids, nor do you and your partner have to live up to the perfectly-posed moments you see on social media.
- You won’t see your faces on the cover of US Weekly. Unless you are a celebrity or in the public eye, your relationship isn’t at the mercy of the media (lucky you!). Celebrity couples face unique challenges due to the nature of the media and paparazzi. Issues are distorted and blown out of proportion to get more clicks and sell more tabloids. Thinking your marriage is up against this same scrutiny isn’t healthy. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Which leads us to the next point…
- Your marriage is your marriage. At the end of the day, your marriage is your marriage. Well, technically it is also your spouse’s marriage, but the point is the same. Comparing your marriage to your parents’, your friends’, or your favorite celebrity’s marriage just isn’t helpful. What works (or doesn’t work) for their marriage isn’t necessarily the same for yours. If you really feel the need to compare your marriage to something, compare it against itself. Have a discussion with your partner about where your marriage was a year ago and where it is today. A yearly checkup on your marriage is a healthy way to compare and ultimately see progress and growth.
- The grass is always greener on the other side. We have a tendency to want what we don’t have. It’s difficult, but try to not let jealousy get the best of you. I’m not talking about lusting over material things; I’m talking about the things within marriage. We all have that friend on social media who loves to post about how great her husband is (“Love when he sends me flowers for no reason!”). That same friend is probably not posting status updates about their constant money squabbles or the fact that her husband is not a great listener. But maybe your spouse is! We all have areas of strength in our relationships, and we all have areas where we could improve. Acknowledge both, and see perceived imperfections as opportunities for growth.
- Real relationships have ups, downs, and lots of in-betweens. Allow the negative press surrounding marriage to blow past you, and know that even though you don’t hear about it, everyone has issues they are working on in their relationship just as everyone has moments worth celebrating and sharing (whether they are posted to Facebook or not).
With traditional and social media bombarding us with two extreme depictions of marriage– the perfect relationships and the breakups, affairs, and scandals, do you find it hard to stay positive and encouraged about your marriage?