"It's The Quick Road To Divorce." Adults 40 And Up Are Revealing The "Marriage Myths" That More People Should Know

    "People say you have to work hard at marriage, but the truth is, if your marriage feels like 'hard work,' it probably won't last."

    We recently wrote a post where older adults shared misconceptions about marriage that people should know. In the comments, even more readers shared their thoughts, and it's so insightful. Here's what they had to say:

    1. "We were 20 when we got married and have been married for 48 years. It has its ups and downs, just like any relationship. It takes work. It takes compromise and love. ... My advice before getting married: Don't believe you can change your spouse. You don't have magical powers to change someone, so either love them as they are or don't get married."

    "Yes, some of my spouse's habits that I find annoying — he's a 'pack rat' for one — he has tried to improve. And I will try to work on those that annoy him. But we are who we are, and our ingrained habits aren't going to change for anyone."


    An older couple sharing an affectionate moment indoors, leaning on each other with smiles

    2. "When it comes to opposites attract, I believe it's really surface only — the parts that too many people care about, funnily enough. My husband and I have many of the same CORE values, such as religion, political views, money, communication, etc. Where we differ is so silly, it doesn't matter."

    "You look at us together, and you'd swear we are not married based on looks alone. We love different hobbies and have some different food preferences. Still, we've also grown together with some things, and our interests have kept us talking about different things, so it's never boring. You don't have to be two peas in a pod, but you also don't have to be chalk and cheese. Like damn near everything in life, there is a balance. Some similar people work, like my best friend and her man. Some polar opposites work. Regardless, you must keep thriving as individuals and have your own things but still come together at the end."


    3. "The people who say it should always be 100% from both partners. I am going through health issues, and my spouse is feeling run down. We are in survival mode right now, and in better times, we still put our energy in multiple places. The point of marriage is to be the main source of support and happiness, not the sole source."

    —42 Indiana

    Person sitting on a bed looking contemplative, possibly reflecting on relationship issues

    4. "People say you have to work hard at marriage, but the truth is that if you have to work 'hard' at it, your marriage will not last. A happy marriage goes on day by day, with both parties acting like a team. You wouldn't make an unfair life for your teammate; you don't cheat on your teammate or lie. Every decision becomes about the team's needs, not just yourself."

    "If your marriage feels like hard work, you won't want to be in it. You will inevitably want out if there are no rewards — only a long, slow, resentful slog."

    —62, Illinois

    5. "I married my best friend and lover. I expected those feelings to last forever. It's only been 56 years, and I don't see any change except getting older. Perhaps the myth, for us, is that marriages become dull and stale after many years."

    —77, Canada

    Sticky note on a surface with "I love you!" handwritten and a small heart drawn below the text

    6. "Sex doesn’t just happen. Schedule time for sex. Morning. Evening. Nooner. Whatever works for you, your partner, and your schedules. Otherwise, you can look over the dinner table and think 'when was the last time we…?' and neither of you will remember."

    "Sex does not have to end in mutual orgasms. Sometimes it’s about them. Sometimes you. Enjoy it either way — without keeping score."

    —49, Virginia

    7. "Once married, you don't both go off and live your lives. Relatives come into the picture and make life complicated."

    —68, Canada

    Three people engaged in a relaxed conversation indoors, focus on an older man

    8. "Belief: I believed marriage meant that we had each other's best interests at heart as a couple. Truth: Individuals have their own interests at heart, without fail."

    —61, USA

    9. "I knew marriage wasn't all fun and games and that it was more than a ring with a shared living space. What I learned is that it takes communication, honesty, and willingness not to be embarrassed to share yourself and/or how you feel about something with your spouse. Marriage also needs a strong understanding and relationship with yourself to prepare for this lifetime commitment."

    "To escape my abusive father, I met a guy at 20 and moved in with him after two weeks of dating. Because of how angry I was at him for the abuse and my siblings for not protecting me, I alienated everyone while our father convinced me I was unwanted by the family due to being neurodivergent. I cheated on my boyfriend, stole his money, and gave him even lower self-esteem. In 2004, we got married, and I don't even know my wedding date. After our wedding day, I realized I wasn't in love with him, and I married him for a place to live. After nearly thirty years together, we separated in 2021. I moved out, but we see each other twice a week. We have yet to sign the divorce papers, and I don't think we ever will. I do love my husband but can't live in the same house with him largely because I'm still discovering who I am and building a relationship with myself."

    —51, Chicago

    Person sitting, extending hand with a wedding ring towards the camera

    10. "Two wonderful people can be absolutely awful together, so never confuse battling the world together with battling each other just because of who you each are alone. The difference will make or break you, them, and the marriage itself."

    —52, Texas

    11. "You grow up seeing your parents' marriage as 'normal,' and that's your expectation for your marriage. But your spouse's 'normal' may be completely different. Your marriage isn't going to look like either set of parents or anyone else's. Your marriage will be what you and your spouse build."

    "A sense of humor, allowing each other to be who you are, encouraging each other's goals, supporting each other's down times, loving the other person even when you don't like them at that given moment has gotten us to 48 years of marriage. And I love him more than ever, even when he aggravates me."

    —65, Illinois

    Person holding a photo frame with an old wedding portrait of a couple

    12. "Throw out the idea of 'unconditional love.' Of course, love comes with conditions: respect, gentleness, empathy, partnership, kindness. Expecting a partner to endure abuse because love is 'unconditional' is the quick road to divorce."

    —42, Florida

    13. "Communication is not important? No, good communication is essential! If your spouse is upset and you ask them, 'What's wrong?' and they say, 'I don't want to talk about it, just leave me alone, and I'll be fine.' [In reality,] whatever they're upset about can brew inside of them and cause resentment."

    —67, California

    Man sitting at a table with a contemplative expression, resting his chin on his hands, with an empty bowl in front

    14. "Myth: That love solves every problem, and that marriage means you'll always agree and spend all your time together. Reality: Love and marriage require work and honest communication. There are two individuals in a marriage, and both have to commit to sharing the ups and downs of life."

    "I was married 42 years before my husband passed. They weren't always rainbows and butterflies, but we got through them together as equals, with shared interests and individual pursuits."

    —65, Texas

    15. "Neither marriage nor divorce are the heaven or hell they are believed or portrayed as. We have been married for 45 years. But are headed for divorce this year. Yeah, wild, I know. We still love and respect each other, and the process is civil and respectful, although painful at times and, at other times, liberating. But each of us has come to realize that in our old age (age 75), we are each growing in ways that have different needs, social groups, and spending priorities."

    "We don't know what our relationship will be going forward, but we realize that since we have known each other for nearly 50 years, we will have some relationship that is yet to be determined. We each continue to do our best, which is the decision for this chapter of our life."

    —75, Republic of Panama

    Document titled "Final Decree of Divorce" with two wedding rings and a pen, indicating the end of a marriage

    16. "We've been married 22 years. When I was younger, I thought falling in love was the goal. It turns out that love isn't something you fall into and then fall out of. It's something you build. You start with a strong foundation and then keep building."

    —50, Arizona,

    And finally...

    17. "'Don't go to sleep mad at each other' is the worst advice I ever got. Just be adults and talk about it when you're ready. If you or your partner are not ready, provide them the space, respect their temporary privacy, and let them approach you. Just let them know that you're ready to hear them when they're ready to talk."

    "Most of the time, it's nothing you did, but keeping your partner awake just causes them to be mad at you."

    —42, Chicago

    Unmade bed with rumpled white sheets and pillows, suggesting recent use or sleep

    Older adults, what are some other misconceptions or "myths" about marriage that more people should know? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, or if you prefer to remain anonymous, you can use this Google form.

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