With the United States’ divorce rate of about 50 percent, California is no stranger to the turmoil that can come with a divorce. Furthermore, people who have been divorced before have a much higher probability of breaking off any subsequent marriages.

Unfortunately, there are several myths surrounding marriage that harm couples and possibly increase the likelihood of a divorce. For instance, there is no scientific basis in the myth that active listening can help a marriage. If anything, it has been found that using active listening techniques did not relieve the distress couples felt, and even couples that did get better eventually found their way back to the rut they started in. Another marriage myth is that what destroys a marriage tends to be the flaws of the individuals in it; everyone has flaws that they can’t get over. Consequently, what ends up destroying a marriage is the inability to tolerate and accommodate the other person’s flaws.

A third myth that plagues married couples is that marriage is about complete equality where each partner gives as good as they get. However, having a relationship where each person keeps score can be toxic. Instead, both partners should realize that there will be times when one partner gives more, only to be followed by other stretches of time where the roles are reversed. Finally, one of the most destructive myths of all is that sex stops after marriage.

Although it is beneficial for couples to enter a marriage without any misconceptions, that does not preclude the possibility that they may choose to get a divorce somewhere down the road. In this case, it is highly advisable for both individuals to seek legal help given how emotionally draining this time can be. An attorney may be able to help clients get a fair deal when it comes to property distribution or child custody.

Source: American Psychological Association, “Marriage and divorce”, Adapted from the encyclopedia of psychology