For BRIDES, by Jillian Kramer
There's a lot of good relationship advice going around. But some pieces of advice, even from well-meaning sources, should simply be ignored. Here are six of them.
1. You should stop seeing him.
Before you blindly take this advice, consider this: "What your friends think you need and want and what you're actually looking for may be very different," says Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. "Before listening to their opinions and being swayed by them, ask them about their concerns and then reflect on them for yourself. Make a decision based on whether these concerns bother you or not."
2. If you argue with your partner, the relationship is unhealthy.
Rachel Needle, Psy.D, clinical psychologist and certified sex therapist based in West Palm Beach, Florida, says there's nothing wrong with arguing in a relationship. "In fact, it's normal," she says. "When we disagree it allows us to communicate with our partner and hopefully means we feel safe enough to be honest and express our feelings." However, if your fights end in more frustration than resolution, it could be time to revaluate your argument style. "When we argue, we want to listen to our partners and keep the conversation to one specific topic," she says, "as well as not name calling and being otherwise respectful."
3. Don't discuss your sex life problems. It'll make things worse.
If you're headed for or already in a sex slump, now's not the time to stick your head under the covers and hope your sex life heals itself. "It's important to discuss this with your partner even more so than with your friends," says Greer. "Don't focus so much on hurting your partner's feelings -- just be honest and authentic. Figure out how to make your sexual experience more exciting."
4. Love is enough.
Love is obviously a very important ingredient for any successful relationship. But, "while love is extremely important, it is not the only important factor," says Needle. "Just because you love someone doesn't mean you should be in a relationship with them. Other factors such as mutual respect, trust, communication, and similar values among some are incredibly important and relationships need them to survive."
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5. Buy whatever you want as long as he doesn't find out.
Any advice that encourages you to hide something from your partner, rather than face an issue head-on, is probably no good. "While your friend might have your best interests at heart, it's important you take a direct stand with your husband and discuss your financial needs so you don't need to sneak around," says Greer. "Let your husband know you have real needs that must be built in."
6. If it is not easy, it's not meant to be.
"No, no, no, no," says Needle. "Relationships take work." Just like you put effort into your killer career or even your exercise routine, you have to focus time and energy into growing your relationship. And that won't always be easy. "You have to continue to get to know your partner and make a conscious effort to connect with and maintain intimacy with your partner," says Needle.