Don't leave just yet.
I think anyone who has been married more than six months has asked themselves if they married the wrong person ... even if they don’t want to admit it.
The person sitting across the table, plopped next to you on the couch, and sharing your bed suddenly seems like an escapee from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
What happened to that person who seemed able to anticipate your every desire, and indulge your every whim?
The one who knew just what to say when you had a bad day, and would light up with excitement at the sound of your step?
What happened to the person you thought you married?
In a word? Nothing.
In another word — everything.
There are some people who knew on their wedding day that they shouldn’t go through with it.
In fact, a study a few years back said that as many as 30% of brides suspected they were making the wrong choice.
But that's not the majority of people, and I think that it’s not even true for all the study participants — even the ones who may have had doubts.
Because the mind can alter memories, a person's current unhappiness can cause them to misremember past feelings.
The truth is, there are three things that contribute to the fear that you married the wrong partner.
1. When you are in love, your brain is flooded with hormones and neurochemicals that alter your perceptions of your partner.
All you can see is how wonderful and "perfect for you" they are.
These warm-fuzzy feelings wear off over time, and your partner falls off the chemically-induced pedestal you put them on.
2. Adjusting to marriage is harder than most people think.
Even if you lived together before marriage, you probably maintained a certain level of independence.
You also may have sidestepped certain topics, because it would have highlighted the differences between the two of you.
You weren’t married so they didn’t really matter.
But now they do.
3. Because falling in love is easy, and being together when you’re in love seems simple, it’s assumed that relationships are natural.
So, if your marriage becomes challenging, you assume that you must have made a mistake.
You tell yourself that the two of you aren’t really meant to be together, and you’re just kidding yourselves that you can make it work.
Here's what you need to know, if you're not ready to give up:
Sure, you can walk away. But the same thing will happen the next time ... and the next time ... and the time after that.
More than likely, it’s not you and it’s not your partner.
It’s not even the marriage itself.
It’s what you don’t know about what makes marriage work that is the problem.
You may even tell yourself that there are enough similarities between your past relationships and your marriage that you think they’re the same — and none of those worked out.
But that’s like telling yourself that because you can drive a car, you should be able to fly an airplane.
Marriage is the most complex relationship you will ever experience, because it has components of every other relationship you have ever had — lover, friend, roommate, co-worker, and relative.
You wear all these hats all day, every day.
This is what makes marriage fantastic — but also challenging, often at the same time.
So, instead of worrying that you made a mistake, embrace that you (and your partner) are completely normal.
Don’t abandon the marriage ship. Just learn how to sail it together, through both the calm and choppy waters of life.
Lesli Doares is a therapist, couples coach, and the founder of a practical alternative for couples worldwide looking to improve their marriage without traditional therapy. Call Lesli at 1-919-924-0463 to schedule a free 1-hour consultation. If you want to learn more about how to stop settling for a “not bad” relationship, read 3 Secrets to a Kick-Ass Marriage today.