Why do married people say that marriage is so hard? This is the question I asked myself repeatedly before getting married. Were they all just in bad marriages? Surely my marriage would be different. What could be so hard about spending your life with your best friend? Shouldn’t that be easy?
I have now been married for 1 year and 7 months. I think marriage is a gift from God. It is the best thing I could have done, and I love my spouse more than words can express……BUT….. MARRIAGE IS HARD. In this article I will share my opinion of why I think people say marriage is hard. To all my married readers who have been in it for much longer, I hope you will share even more perspective in the comments.
Why Marriage is Hard – Real talk
Marriage is a 3-legged race with blindfolds. You have to learn to walk together in the same direction with immense communication. For me the one of the hardest things to get used to was learning that we needed to communicate on things I never would think to communicate about.
It’s a really long date that never ends and keeping up date etiquette gets impractical. Imagine yourself on your couch watching Netflix alone. You feel a need to burp. Do you hold it? Of course not your in your home alone. Now imagine a date is there with you. Of course you hold it right? Now imagine your date is always there because he/she is actually your spouse and they live there. You could leave the room every time, or you could be comfortable and let it go at the risk of slowly dwindling the romance.
It’s having your best friend as your roommate, but in the same room, same bed, every night. Having my best friend as a roommate sounds fun, but I would need my own room. Marriage is sharing a room by choice. That is sharing a bed, a dresser, a closet, a bathroom sink and etc. And sharing a bed isn’t all about sex, it’s also snoring, differences in body temperature, middle of the night flipping and flopping and blanket sharing.
It’s socks in the middle of the floor, and the toothpaste cap being left off. This is not a big deal, but eventually this or something small like it will drive you crazy!
It’s finding the rhythm of chores. Will both people do their own laundry or will one person do both people’s laundry? Is there a primary cook, and a primary dishwasher or will you take turns? I’m not allowed to empty the dishwasher because my husband hates how I put the dishes away. He has a meticulous order how he likes them. For the first few months of marriage I was annoying him with my lack of order in putting away dishes and he was annoying me because he would put things I needed on the higher shelves where I couldn’t reach.
It’s sharing finances. If you don’t have enough money then this is super hard, and if you do have enough money it’s still hard because it requires so much communication. You have to decide if you want joint accounts or separate or both. Will you split the bills or will one person pay everything and use the second salary for savings/debt & misc.? What works for one couple isn’t necessarily what will work for another. And what works initially might change as circumstances change. If you have joint accounts how will you ensure that one person doesn’t spend money right as another person is paying a large bill. Sometimes it’s not about how much money you have as much as it is about timing of input and output. All of this doesn’t even begin to touch bigger financial issues like buying a home, setting debt and savings goals, having different values about money and etc etc. Money & Relationships
It’s 2 careers and 2 sets of long term career goals trying to simultaneously co-exist but sometimes needing to make sacrifices. What happens when someone gets a killer opportunity but it requires moving to a new city? In uprooting the other person may sacrifice salary or opportunity.
It’s patience. We aren’t fixed beings. Who we are on our wedding day is not who we will be throughout the marriage. We are constantly changing and evolving. With that said we have to grow together and accept the changes in the other person. Sometimes those changes are great, and sometimes those changes are annoying or dissatisfying. Sometimes the change is in yourself and your hoping that your spouse follows suit and changes with you.
It’s naivety and unrealistic expectations. If you’ve never been married then you don’t really know that marriage is hard. You may have heard it but don’t really believe it. Romantic movies definitely paint a different picture. That naivety, not having realistic expectations is part of what makes it harder. Newly Wed Bliss: A practical poem about New Marriage
It’s checking in. It’s hard to get used to the fact that you need to check in. You need to let your spouse know where you are and when your coming home. Not so they can track you, but so they know you are safe and not dead!
What Makes Marriage Easier?
You need a mentor. This mentor could be a family member or a friend. It should be someone that’s been married for a lot longer and can give you impartial advice.
You need to prioritize your spouse over friends and family.
You need to limit your sharing. Sharing too much of your marital business is detrimental. When you’re mad or frustrated it’s easy to call a friend or family member and share your angry one-sided perspective. Once you calm down and move into problem solving mode, you can probably resolve whatever the issue was peacefully. But your friend/family will want to ask you about the situation. They may think it was worse than it was. They may even start to form a negative opinion of your spouse and provide unhelpful advice based on this. Man Bashing: The Danger in Listening to It
You need to remember how much dating sucked! Maybe this doesn’t apply to everyone,but I dated a bit before marriage and those experiences make me appreciate marriage so much more. In dating I had so many painful lessons and so many encounters with selfish people that didn’t come close to valuing me the way I deserve. When I find myself loosing patience in marriage I remember these encounters and it makes me so grateful for my partner, my husband who absolutely values me more than I imagined possible. Behind the Sigh: Why Self-Love is the Critical Ingredient in Finding a Healthy Relationship
You need to say thank you. Multiple times a day I say thank you to my spouse. I tell him that I appreciate him for the smallest things. People like to be appreciated. I also do things for him and he does things for me. Small jesters like flowers from the grocery store, or bringing someone a glass of water so they don’t have to get up can go a long way.
You need your own life. Have your own hobbies, your own TV shows, your own friends, etc. You don’t have to do everything together. Take some alone time.
You need to commit and truly love. When you truly love someone you want them to be happy more than you care about your own happiness. I’m not saying sacrifice your own happiness. I’m saying value their happiness so much that it makes you happy to see them happy. When this is the case it’s so much easier to be committed, to not quit, to have patience, and to compromise. Marriage, 4 Things I’ve Loved and Learned from my 1st Year
This list is anything but exclusive. I’m certain there are a million other things that make marriage hard, and a million other things that you can do to make it easier. Married readers, now’s your time to add to my list by leaving your comments. Single readers, ask some questions.