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Older Married Adults Revealed The "Marriage Myths" That More People Should Know, And It's Eye-Opening

"They don't change after you get married. There were so many 'red flags' that I ignored and thought he would change once he was married (or grew up more). Most 'red flags' have gotten worse. We've been married for over 30 years, but I still wonder at times...what was I thinking?"

We recently asked older married adults of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the "marriage myths" that more people should know. Here are the eye-opening results:

1. "I’ve been married almost 50 years. The most common misconception about long-time married couples is that it stops being 'work.' Never, ever take your partner for granted."


Older couple embracing and smiling in front of a house

2. "That having sex with the same person for the rest of your life will become 'boring.' Yes, libidos will change as you age, but that’s the same for everyone regardless of their marital status. If you enjoy sex with your spouse at the start of your relationship (and I hope you do), then you’ll enjoy it throughout your marriage!"

"Couples who complain that they have a sex problem later in life are usually covering up a much larger problem that they aren’t willing to address."


3. "That love conquers all. It doesn’t. You need to actually treat each other well to maintain a healthy relationship, and some misdeeds will (or should) break the relationship beyond repair — for example, abuse or infidelity. Also, you don’t 'just know' when you meet the right person."

"That is a fantasy perpetuated by the movies. You should actually get to know someone before marrying them, and it’s also okay to have some doubts before you go through with it (that is, being uncertain about what the future will hold, not ignoring red flags!). You can never know exactly what will happen, but you can make informed decisions that improve your chance of success."

—40, Canada

An older adult sitting on a couch, with their hands showing a wedding ring

4. "Been married for 33 years, together for 35. The most common misconception about marriage, I believe, is that marriage should be 50/50. There are times that I carry his weight and there are times he carries mine. I hate picking up dog poop and other bodily functions of our dogs, so he deals with that."

"He dislikes cleaning the bathrooms, so I do that. He cooks, and I do dishes. Find your strengths in your relationship."


5. "That getting married to your first love at 18 will 'never' work out — 23 years later married to my first love at 18 (through so there were many ups and downs). I still love that SOB as much as that lost 17-year-old girl did. This life has been about cultivating a friendship between lovers who actually like each other. Nothing can come between best friends who have sex regularly. I would not go back and do anything different."

"The journey through hell and back has been half the fun. You have to understand that the good times would not be possible without the bad times. Bad times don't include serial cheaters, abusers, or habitual deceivers. Please get out of these situations as fast as you can. You deserve more."

—41, Louisiana

Woman getting proposed to at a restaurant

6. "That marriage changes your relationship. Your relationship is your relationship, whether you put a ring on it or not. Signing a paper doesn't change who you are."


7. "Maybe not in all cases… but the idea that ‘opposites attract.’ I know someone who married a woman who had nearly none of the same interests as him, and I honestly felt kinda bad for him. He loved being active, doing races, and just going out or hanging with friends; she was a complete homebody and didn’t even have an interest in trying things (even once!) just for him. I’m sure his social life went down a lot, and he’s missed out on some things because she won’t do it. I know sometimes the whole ‘opposites attract’ may work, but if they don’t share at least some of your interests — [or won't try some of the things you're interested in] — it’ll probably make for a lot of arguments and compromising all the time."

"My husband and I have so many shared interests, and it makes for a ton of genuinely fun times that we get to spend together doing things we both like. Find someone who likes doing the same things as you or at least has some interest in it who won’t cramp on what you want to do! (Yes, I get that you can also do those things without your spouse, but if you have no shared interests, you’d be doing nearly everything without them). Spending all that ‘fun’ time apart? That doesn’t make for a very happy marriage!"


Man cooking on a grill outdoors with a group of people in a casual setting

8. "I had a cousin ask me once about marriage when she got engaged. She was saying 'I know that marriage is going to be really hard,' and I was like, 'It never has been for me.' Communicate, understand, be willing to not always be the one who 'wins.'"


"Marriage isn't hard if you're not an a-hole. Step one: Listen to your partner. Step two: Let your ego go. Step three: Talk."


9. "Go to bed mad sometimes. I think not going to bed angry is well-meant advice and was probably created with the idea of not letting anger fester into grudges, but people take it way too literally. So much of the time, you’re fighting at least partially because you’re both exhausted."

"Everything is easier to resolve after a good night’s sleep."


"'Never go to bed angry.' Big Myth. Heard this at my wedding. As a therapist, together with my partner for 20 years, it’s better advice to know when to take a break when angry. Sometimes that means you can hash it out before bed. Sometimes that means taking space and resuming a chat when cooler heads can prevail. The art is knowing when to do this AND not getting stuck in the same fight over and over again. "

—38, Maryland

Unmade bed with disheveled sheets

10. "The level of passion is not a good indicator of a successful marriage. I married for passion the first time, and it was awful. I married someone I liked and respected the second time and who returned those feelings. We’ve lasted 25 years so far, and our love has only grown deeper. I still like and respect him!"

—57, Oregon

11. "People say, 'You’re not the person I married! You changed!' like it’s a bad thing or they didn’t expect that to happen. The truth is, we all change throughout our lives. The person you marry at 30 is not the same person you will be married to at 40, 50, 60, etc. Life happens, and people evolve. To expect your spouse to never change is unrealistic. Before you get married, just know that you will both change several times over the years."

—42, Kentucky

Two people viewing a photo album with a vintage wedding picture

12. "I thought falling in love and getting married meant never disagreeing or having differences of opinions (fights) with your spouse. After three months, I went home crying to my mom saying, 'He’s so mean. You guys never fought.' She said, 'We fought; we just did so in private.' So, 43 years later, I have an amazing relationship with my husband filled with lots of love and friendship."

"My only advice is to pay attention to and adjust to your partner's needs. If both are looking out for the other, then no one’s needs go unmet ;-)."

—67, California

13. "I have been married for 20 years. Those who say there is no need for premarital counseling are wrong. There is. Premarital marital counseling gives the couple a chance in a neutral environment to discuss all the issues that will come up in a marriage: finances, spending habits, family plans, career plans, and more. My husband and I discussed issues I never imagined would matter that did. We also learned techniques to communicate better as we have very different styles."

"To this day we quote, 'Dr. Bill said so,' when we are having an argument. We learned he needs space to calm down, and I want to keep on going. During counseling, we learned how to merge our styles. It has saved our marriage many times over."

—45, Virginia

A therapist and client engaged in a conversation, seated across from each other in a room with a bookshelf

14. "That the point of marriage was to make me happy. The point of marriage is to make me a better person by learning to sacrifice, communicate better, apologize quicker, and learn to support my wife in her pursuit of happiness (and thereby know how to better serve and support others in my life). The truth is that those things do actually make me happy — just not in the way I thought. Happiness is not the goal anymore, but it is a byproduct of a safe marriage that is forgiving when I do make a mistake."

—41, Kentucky

"My husband and I have been married for 25 years. Over the years, we’ve witnessed several of our friends’ marriages fail where one or the other claimed their spouse just didn’t make them 'happy.' Happiness is a feeling, like any other feeling, and it’s not up to your spouse to make you happy. Typically when my husband or I are struggling in our marriage, we first examine what our role is in the situation. Then, we approach the other person. This has developed with time and maturity, of course, but it’s more beneficial than immediately blaming the other person. There are always two sides."

—47, New Hampshire

15. "That there is a honeymoon period that inevitably ends. After 10 years of marriage, I still can never get enough of her (and I know she feels the same). I can’t wait to come home to her and hang out with her. We have kids who have added to our lives. While our lives are busier, we always put the effort to know that we are still fully in love with and attracted to each other."

"We make sure that we help each other out whenever we can. We communicate well and are always honest. She is my everything. I can’t imagine a day without her, there is no one more beautiful than her, and no one I cherish more than her."

—35, California

Bouquet of red roses wrapped in paper with a tag, possibly a romantic gift

16. "In the throes of young love and the early days of marriage, I held a common misconception that love was purely an emotion—a spontaneous feeling that continuously enveloped you without effort. This belief was put to the test when my wife, in those formative years, shared a perspective that initially took me aback. She revealed that her love for me was not just a feeling but a choice she made daily. I remember feeling somewhat offended, as if her love should have been an unending, effortless emotion directed towards me."

"Fast forward two decades, enriched by the experiences of raising four children and navigating the complexities of life together, and my perspective has undergone a profound transformation. The wisdom in my wife’s words has become a guiding principle in our journey together. Love, I’ve come to understand, is far more than a mere feeling that comes and goes with the ebb and flow of emotions. It is a deliberate decision, a commitment to choose each other, day after day, regardless of the circumstances. This realization has been nothing short of revolutionary. It has equipped us with a resilient form of love, one that is capable of withstanding the inevitable ups and downs of life. By choosing to love my wife each day, I’ve discovered a depth and durability in our relationship that feelings alone could never sustain. This daily choice has become the bedrock upon which we’ve built a lasting, loving partnership."

—43, California

17. "Kids do not equate to a happy marriage on their own. In fact they can be quite the opposite. The key is to learn and understand that the path you laid out for yourselves is gone once kids are involved. Some can't get past that, and it almost hurt our marriage. The key then is to understand together that you're on a new path — but one that must also maintain the pre-kid foundations."

"The sooner you can understand this, the sooner you can adjust to the new post-kid reality, ensuring that while you're making marital sacrifices, you're not losing sight of your life pact with your partner."

—39, Arizona

Mother laughing as her young daughter hugs her inside their home

18. "That you have to do everything together — this is how my parent’s generation approached marriage, and I’ve found it’s important to have your own interests. My husband and I encourage and participate in each other’s interests as encouragement and support, but we don’t feel the need to share all of the same passions."

"We spend a large chunk of time together but sleep separately due to sleep issues and we are happier. Sometimes, I visit family without him and that works, too. We do have common interests, and we enjoy learning more about each other and working on our common goals as we continue through life together."

—48 Minnesota

19. "That he would change after you get married. There were so many 'red flags' that I ignored and thought he would change once he was married (or grew up more). Actually, most 'red flags' have gotten worse. We've been married for over 30 years, but I still wonder at times...what was I thinking? Listen to your intuition (gut) and don't think they'll change because you are getting married."

"Another piece of advice: Make sure you understand their family dynamic. He came from a very dysfunctional family, and this played a huge role in how he behaved in our marriage. (The dysfunction carried into our marriage, and he believed there was nothing wrong with his behavior). Even after counseling, he is reluctant to change."

—58, Iowa

A person deep in thought, sitting on floor with back to camera, holding knees, near a mug

20. "My wife and I have been married for 32 years. Healthy marriages are conflict-free. WRONG! Healthy marriages have open discussions about what things you are doing to annoy your spouse. Children insure [sic] a happy marriage. WRONG! Children are the number one thing spouses argue about. Work together to resolve the issues with your children. I love them dearly, but they are sometimes a pain in the butt. My advice and secret to a happy and long marriage is to have something in common with your spouse. Too many people get married, have children, and when the children leave the nest, they have nothing in common."

"We love breweries, sports, puzzles, bourbon, and excellent restaurants (no chains!). Spend time away from your spouse occasionally. Take that weekend trip with friends to go golfing, or that weekend trip with friends to a vineyard. It's OK to not be with your spouse 24/7. Don't sweat the small things. Does he leave his socks by the bed? Does she clog the tub drain with her hair? These are small things and nothing to argue about. Let it go. Ask him to pick them up, and just clear the drain for your wife if she doesn't know how. Don't get upset about it. Final thoughts. Love each other as friends, lovers, and partners."

—53, Pennsylvania

And finally...

21. "You have no idea what it’s going to be like. You have no idea what’s going to happen to you, how you’re going to grow and change, or what the world will throw at you. You have no idea if one of you will get seriously ill and almost die — or actually die. You have no idea if working at your relationship will work or not. I don’t say this to scare anyone off, but to warn the confident and reassure the scared."

"It can go so many ways. If you get married, marry someone who will be ready for anything."


Smiling bride in a strapless wedding dress holding a bouquet, with a sunset background

Older adults, what are some other misconceptions about marriage that more people should know? Tell us in the comments below.

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.