Can't help but wonder if your union is keeping up with the Joneses'? Check out these marriage stats from The Normal Bar: The Surprising Secrets of Happy Couples and What They Reveal About Creating a New Normal in Your Relationship. By Gena Kaufman, REDBOOK.
Is it normal that…I'm not completely honest with him?
Within limits, a few secrets - and even lies - between couples are generally harmless. If you've ever fibbed about those shoes being new ("I've had these forever, I just don't wear them often!") or neglected to tell him that your mom thinks he's a total slob, you're not alone. In America, 43 percent of men and one-third of women have kept major secrets from their partners and approximately three-quarters of people have lied - including those who consider themselves part of a happy couple. As long as you don't take it to extremes - like failing to reveal credit card debt or the fact that you have a monthly lunch-date with your ex - lies that keep the peace and protect feelings are normal.
Is it normal that…we fight a lot?
It depends on the kind of argument. If you bicker about things like who's responsible for carpool, or whether you really need to see your in-laws this weekend, rest assured that so do half of other couples. When it comes to heated arguments, 48 percent of unhappy couples have them regularly, but most happy couples have big fights a few times a year, max. The key to not blowing these disagreements out of proportion maybe dismissing tried and true wisdom, like the rule that you should never go to bed angry. "I personally think it's the better way to go, because you kind of need to sleep on it," says Chrisanna Northrup, co-author of The Normal Bar. However, if you're having screaming fights about money or your future - for instance, whether you want more kids - so often your voice is going hoarse, consider scheduling an appointment with a marriage counselor, who can offer personalized strategies for how to sort things out.
Related: 50 Simple Little Ways to Feel Sexy
Is it normal that…our sex life is so routine and infrequent?
Let's get this out of the way once and for all: a ring on your finger is not the end of great sex. Most people aren't doing it daily, but the happiest couples get busy three to four times a week. The numbers are understandably lower for couples with kids, but if you're an overstressed mom who never or rarely has sex, be aware that this is what the majority of unhappy couples reported. Routine, on the other hand, is quite common - but that doesn't mean couples are happy about it. Northrup reports that 96 percent of men and 78 percent of women crave more variety in their sex lives. If you're worried that he won't be into trying something new, or that your bedroom idea is too weird, it probably isn't. Eighty-six percent of people are intrigued by having kinkier sex.
Is it normal that…we're not very affectionate?
It's common, but that doesn't mean it's a good thing. If your husband hasn't reached for your hand on a walk, or thrown his arm around you at the movies in months, you won't be surprised to learn that after 10 years in a relationship, almost half of all couples stop showing affection in public. Private affection may too suffer, especially among couples that have children, 56 percent of whom say they rarely or never kiss passionately. "It kind of fizzles out over the years, but kissing is intimate, even more so than sex in a way," says Northrup. "It's really, really important, and our happiest couples do kiss passionately more than everyone else." If you want more steaminess, initiate it, whether that be by giving your husband a smooch to thank him for taking care of dinner, or by crawling into bed in his favorite set of underthings.
Related: The 13 Most Exciting Chocolates in America
Is it normal that…I've thought about breaking up more than once?
You might be freaked out when those thoughts cross your mind, but even happy couples sometimes imagine a split. More than a third of men and women say they think about breaking up all the time, and only 12 percent say they never ponder it. But most people aren't seriously considering it, and the number one reason people give for not actually breaking up is fear of a lifetime of regret. So if you occasionally fantasize about what it might be like to have your own apartment - complete with a clean bathroom and no one to interrupt your Netflix marathon - there's no reason to doubt the strength of your relationship. As long as you ultimately know you would be unhappy with the choice to leave, fantasies are just that.
Is it normal that…he doesn't seem as attracted to me anymore?
We won't lie to you: it can happen, but don't accept defeat just yet. Loss of attraction isn't about crow's feet or that lingering five pounds of baby-weight. Instead, your husband likely wants you to show that you still care about looking good for him. That simply requires taking care with your appearance, and can be as easy as trading in your leggings and sweatshirt for a sweet date-night dress. Some men think, "I want you to look attractive for me too. You do it for everybody else, do it for me," says Northrup. A little extra effort goes a long way towards showing him that you consider him - and yourself - worth trying for.
Related: Date-Night Dresses Under $100
Is it normal that…I don't trust him completely?
Most people - 47 percent of men and 61 percent of women - don't have total faith in their spouse. And it's no wonder that we doubt each other considering that nearly half of women and 69 percent of men admit they'd be tempted to act on a proposition from an attractive third party. Luckily, temptation is different than action, and less people have actually strayed outside their marriages. Thinking about what another person would be like is part of human nature, but if you're seriously concerned, speak to your partner about what you consider red flags. Is it Facebook messaging with an old flame? Getting too friendly with a colleague? Only a matter of something physical? That's a better solution that snooping, which about half of the world admits to doing.
Is it normal that…I fantasize about other people?
It sure is. Both men and women admitted to thinking about someone else when making love, but what you and your husband imagine can differ. "Women were a lot kinkier and a lot crazier in their sexual fantasies in general, but men tend to fantasize about their partner and what they're willing to do," says Northrup. But there's no correlation between fantasizing about others and being unsatisfied or lacking intimacy with your partner, so don't feel ashamed if your mind occasionally strays to your attractive neighbor, or Ryan Gosling coming to your rescue.
More from REDBOOK: