Relationship Rules You Don't Have to Follow
These adages have been the foundation for countless successful wedding toasts—too bad they don't serve the happy couple as well. Here, some pearls of wisdom that have lost their shine.
Breakable Rule #3: Support your partner as much as humanly possible.
You want to be there for your partner when something goes wrong, whether it's a setback on a project at work or a disagreement with a friend. But offering too much support can be even more damaging to a relationship than giving too little, a 2009 study found. Married couples were less happy in their relationships when one spouse offered support beyond what the other wanted, like giving unsolicited advice ("You should talk to your boss") or frequently bringing up an issue they'd rather ignore ("Still pretty upset about what Jim said, huh?"). Unless your partner really doesn't want to talk about it, there's one kind of support that's by far the most likely to be welcome, says Erika Lawrence, a University of Iowa psychologist who co-authored the study. It's what psychologists call "esteem support": telling your partner you have faith that they'll figure out how to tackle the problem—full stop.