Advice to engaged couples from relatives and older married friends may be well-intended, but could be hazardous to a new marriage, according to a specialist.
"You have to be picky about which advise you listen to," said Gregory Brock, director of the marriage and family therapy program at United States International University in San Diego.
"Statements about one person's marriage may or may not apply to another one. While some often-repeated advice has been validated by research, some has been shown not to be true at all."
Here are some frequently given bits of advice that Brock suggests young couples be especially wary of:
--"Your wedding night will be the best night of your life." Couples who believe that may be disappointed when their wedding night is nothing spectacular. "It's not realistic to expect a 'magical, intimate experience' on a night when you will be extremely tired, probably irritable and in a strange place," Brock said. "It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to develop a fully satisfactory sexual relationship."
--"Be sure to tell your spouse everything." "Your mate doesn't want to know everything," Brock said. "It is important for spouses to trust each other and to ask each other for information. But this constant 'spilling of guts' is harmful to many relationships."
--"Two can live as cheaply as one." Not anymore. "While that may have been possible when people grew their own food, it's not at all possible today," he said.
Children Don't Help
--"A baby will bring you together." "Babies and children exploit the weaknesses in a marriage relationship," Brock said. He added that studies show marital satisfaction is highest before children are born and after they grow up and move away.
--"Never go to bed angry." Brock said: "Every husband and wife get angry at each other, and every couple I know of at some time goes to bed angry. The important thing is that they both have confidence that eventually they will sit down and talk about it."
Brock concluded: "Weddings aren't just a matter of dodging rice. They also involve separating the wheat from the chaff when it come to 'older but wiser' advice."