Scrolling through the feed on Instagram and other social networks, we often come across photographs of beautiful couples literally glowing with happiness. Looking at them, it seems that love and complete mutual understanding reign between them, which can only be envied. However, this idyll in practice often turns out to be only an illusion. Our expert, family psychologist Yana tells more about such "imitations of adoration". 

The ideal wife of the ideal husband: what are facade marriages


It is not difficult to create the appearance of a happy family: write in the profile header “beloved wife of the best husband”, make a cute photo session on vacation, and you're done. But what if this is only a picture, and behind the picture is loneliness and emptiness?

Psychologists call this façade marriage. When outwardly you are an ordinary family, but inside everyone lives their own life, regularly playing the role of husband or wife, mom or dad. But at the same time, you are not close, dear people. There is no warmth, exchange of emotions, sincere feelings between you.

What separates a façade marriage from a marriage in crisis? How do you end up in a façade marriage? Can such a marriage become real, and what is needed for this? Let's talk about everything in order. 

The main differences between facade marriage: tough roles and a ban on the expression of the entire spectrum of emotions 

Take the most striking example: the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Both were supposed to play the roles of representatives of the royal family, which are full of regulations and restrictions. Step to the right, step to the left, jump in place - a scandal in the press. They could not express anger, sadness, stormy joy. In all the photos, they either smile cute or have a neutral facial expression.

Now let's imagine an ordinary family, say, Olya and Misha. According to an unspoken family law, Olya and Misha behave very tenderly with each other. The facade says "we are a sweet couple." Anything that falls out of this image - irritation, anger, resentment, boredom - is prohibited. The more Olya and Misha have accumulated these unexpressed, "swept under the carpet" emotions, the less life and truth in their relationship.

How an ordinary marriage becomes a façade 

There are several ways to get into a façade marriage.


The most common example: a couple is going through difficulties, quarrels a lot, everyone is trying to improve relations as best they can. But it doesn't work. At some point, both give up, close, move away. And they either get divorced or stay together, but formally. They live parallel lives for the sake of children or for reasons of mortgage and convenience.


Another reason people can find themselves in a façade marriage is a strong fusion in a couple. Separation scares, the rule “I am you, you are me” appears. The fear of facing various complex feelings, one's own and a partner's, and being hurt about these feelings leads to the fact that the couple freezes in the appearance of an idyll, like a fly in amber. This is what happened to our Olya and Misha.


In addition, marriages of public people, not only princes, but also big entrepreneurs, bloggers, stars, often also become front, because these unions are an important part of the image. This image takes years to build and is expensive.

Patriarchal order

Another example is patriarchal marriages, which involve very tough roles for men and women. For some, the proper fulfillment of these roles is so important, so valuable, that it overshadows the real psychological needs of family members.

People are squeezed into the framework of family roles and exhibit only those feelings and behaviors that are allowed by their role. For example, a woman can cry and purse her lips in resentment, but she cannot scream or express anger. As a result, only roles remain and living feelings go away.

How do people cope with life in such a mechanical family

When living in a façade marriage, people use different methods of protection, such as:

  • denial (do not realize, drown out their unmet needs for emotional response and warmth);
  • rationalization ("everyone lives like this");
  • avoidance (go to work, hobbies, alcohol, relationships on the side).

Also, sometimes spouses in such insincere unions fall into depression and become ill with psychosomatic diseases.

What to do if your marriage is façade 

If you understand that your marriage is exactly the kind that we are now discussing, and you don’t want to live like that anymore, can you make this union real, full of sincerity and warmth? It happens that yes, and sometimes it does not. The path is always the same:

  • be honest about your feelings and needs;
  • try to understand what the partner lives and "breathes" with, what his "truth" is;
  • gradually risk opening up to your spouse and sharing your thoughts and feelings with him;
  • learn to speak openly and handle difficult feelings in a partner.

It happens that some family events serve as a kind of "shake-up", and it allows you to change the established way of life. This can be, for example, treason or a dangerous illness of one of the family members.

In some cases, one of the couple realizes that he no longer wants to live as usual and tries to change something. This is always risky and scary - you can destroy what is already there, and in fact, no matter how limited and inadequate these relationships are, they somehow work. But it is not known whether it will be possible to build new ones.

However, each of us deserves a healthy relationship in which you feel alive and loved, which means that, having realized the "façade" of your marriage, you should try to add honesty, closeness and care to each other.