Common Relationship Advice That Destroys Relationships

Having done marriage counseling in the past as well as reading and listening to lots of marriage advice experts, I hear a lot of terrible relationship advice.

Here is some common marriage counseling advice that destroys relationships that I recommend you ignore:

You should be honest and tell them what you are unhappy about.

That common relationship advice is really just a license to complain and criticize.

The honesty should be about what is going on with you. What you feel, what you want, your decisions. Not about telling the other person what they should do. “Eat this, stop doing that…”
Criticism is guaranteed to cause distance in your relationship and is a distraction from yourself.

Who, you might ask yourself, is paying attention to you when you are focusing on what the other person is doing wrong – nobody.

Instead try declaring what is true for you, “I would like a clean kitchen.” or “I changed my mind about the paint color.” or “I am so frustrated right now .” That kind of honesty is helpful, instead of, “That shirt does not go with those pants.”

Give them an ultimatum. Tell them if they don’t shape up you will leave or threaten divorce. When you feel uncertain and afraid, it is most likely your partner will also feel uncertain and afraid.

To create the kind of relationship you crave, you need safety and commitment. Hoping things will improve when you sit on the fence is like hoping you win the lottery without buying a ticket.

Your relationship is doomed because you picked someone to repeat your psychological issues from childhood.

A counselor will tell you the reason you are having problems is because your parents messed you up and you are still acting out that drama.

Like, “You never thought you could get your father’s love so you married someone who doesn’t pay attention to you because it is familiar.” or “Your husband’s mother was enmeshed with him, so that is why he is emotionally unavailable.” They warn if your parents made mistakes, you are doomed in your relationship unless you go to years of therapy.

That simply is not true. You just need to learn the skills to turn your relationship around.

For instance if a teenagers was having trouble getting his first job – you would not say it is because of his issues with his parents. You would say he needs to learn some skills like how to write a resume or interview for a job.

Just like learning to drive a car, learn new software or make an omelette, you need to learn intimacy skills. You are not hopelessly broken. If things are broken in your relationship, then get support and learn new tools. You aren’t broken!

To feel close you need your spouse/partner to open up and express how they feel.

Relationship experts promise this is the path to true connection and I used to believe it.

The truth is when we are asking for our partner to open up what we really want to know is, “How do you feel about me and what do you love about me?”

But instead of asking that directly and being vulnerable, we put on our amateur therapist hat and say things like, “How did you feel as a child when your dad was angry with you?”

That will not get someone to open up to how they feel about you.

So what creates connection and intimacy is when one person is courageous enough to expresses their authentic, vulnerable feelings. “I am feeling lonely and miss our cuddling time at night.”

A simple statement like that lacks attack or blame and allows the other person to listen without defense and maybe even feel safe enough to express their own feelings.

You need to learn to fight fair.

The implication is that fighting can be productive, but fighting is not fair or productive. That is why they call it fighting and it hurts intimacy and connection.

Preventing fights is far more effective. I know in my own life, one of the sure fire things that lead to fights is when I am tired, frustrated or worn out.
I have found it is better to delay the conversation until I have slept or calmed down a bit.

A great way to prevent fights altogether is to build your own reserves. That means getting rest, eating nourishing food and taking care of your own needs, so then you have the capacity to show up being the calm, respectful person you want to be.

You have to set boundaries.

The problem is you normally want to set boundaries when you are feeling hurt and upset. At that point the boundaries sound more like, “Fine you do your own laundry then!”

They are not saying here is where you end and I begin, but instead they are not so subtle ways of telling the other person to go to hell.

Those kind of boundaries are not great for intimacy. Those kind of boundaries will keep you lonely and upset.

Instead state your needs in a respectful way. “I am tired and need to take a nap.” Acknowledging you are worn out may feel vulnerable, but it is much more conducive to intimacy as well as honoring yourself.

Communication is the key to a good relationship.

That advice is often interpreted to mean you should communicate what the other person needs to do differently to make you happy.

You figure once they understand that and do it, THEN everything will be fine. So therefore you should communicate your displeasure over and over again.

Believe me most people would rather poke needles in their eye than have conversations over and over about what you think needs to be happen to improve the marriage.

So if your spouse is avoiding conversations about what is wrong with the marriage, hopefully now it’s understandable.

I have learned relationships actually benefit when you don’t communicate everything, especially critical or disrespectful thoughts.

But what about getting what you want? Instead of forcing a conversation, figure out what is true for you and express it without criticism.

“I miss you” when you are lonely verses “We never spend any time together.”

Learn to express your desires in ways that inspire the other person, instead of controlling, complaining or criticizing.

When you find yourself wanting to tell your partner what they are doing wrong, zip your lips until the urge passes. This might be the best way to communicate to maintain a happy marriage.

Share you concerns about their lack of affection.

The premise of this advice is that your partner does not know that you like affection or they didn’t realize that they did not show affection. They somehow to forgot…

Begging, demanding, cajoling, making friendly suggestions to be more affectionate, will only drive them further away. Even if they obediently hug you, it will not feel the way you are hoping it will feel. It instead probably make you feel needy and the pain more acute.

So stop listening to that terrible advice. Consider they may not feel loved either.

Rather then telling them what to do, you can restore affection by being your best self – lovable, playful and sexy!

Inspire them to want to hug and kiss you.

Help them solve their problems.

So you probably thought you were being helpful and loving by trying to solve their problems for them.

Unfortunately that does not bring you closer or make you irresistible.

Here is why…when you solve their problems, it is likely to come across as a vote of no confidence.

Your spouse wants you to see them as compete and capable.

If you try solving their problems, it is like saying, “I don’t think you can figure this out for yourself, so I googled it and it is very simple…you are welcome!”

Even if they ask you what to do, they really deep down hope you see them as competent and capable to handle the situation.

So instead you could say, “I am sure you will figure out the best thing to do it.”

You will feel relieved because you don’t have the burden to solve their problems and they have the opportunity to figure out what is best for them.

This advice also works great for teenagers!

Still struggling from bad advice?

I hope this helped debunk some of the common relationship advice you get from marriage counselors.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

If you are struggling with some of these issue, just click on the graphic below and set up a time for a free clarity call with me.


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