Marriage is hard work?

In the world I come from (where marriage is forever and you’re supposed to go in with your eyes wide open), I think sometimes the message that “Marriage is hard-work” is a little over-emphasized.

Today I was listening to a wife who came to my MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) meeting to talk about marriage, and sticking it out. I appreciated how she emphasized there are seasons in a marriage, and even cycles within the seasons: how the happiness/enjoyment may come and go, but it always comes again.

Her background was coming from a literal marriage of convenience, and making the shift to “forever” thinking– throwing out the idea of divorce that she (they) had been carrying since day-one.
She then had the process (now a Believer) of moving from merely enduring her marriage to actually finding fulfillment/enjoyment in this un-planned partnership. Married 27 years now to that same man, she had some interesting things to communicate.

One thing she said was how sad she is to see marriages falling apart, when she’s so certain if the couple will just stick it out and work together with God, it will eventually improve– speaking (again) from the example of her own marriage. Then she reiterated that line about marriage being “hard-work.”

I won’t disagree marriage takes a focus and intentionality, and that it needs to be a priority if it’s going to remain strong (or even enjoyable) but for the longest time after I was married I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. Waiting for the big blow-up, the huge stretch of my personal resources that would require my collapsing on God in pieces asking Him how he was going to fix this mess.

I mean, that’s the image I had.

And it really hasn’t come true. I don’t (remember) any major disagreements with Jay before we had kids (I have heard kids give you more things to disagree about, and this is true). I can’t remember really arguing (getting worked-up over mismatched expectations) with him before we had two (mobile) kids, and we still have never had any yelling matches or times when we were afraid one was mad at the other or “didn’t love me any more.”

I’m not sure what I was bracing myself for, but it seems like I didn’t need any bracing at all.

Marriage is great. It is having a best-friend who will never move away, someone who is as vested in your kids and home and family as you are. It’s years of building memories together, not being alone, and enjoying one another.

It’s about growth and becoming holy too, but that wasn’t the first thing on my mind when I went in, and certainly too long a topic to expand-on here.

It can be work, but it’s work like any other challenging thing you love is work: usually enjoyable, frequently fun and always worthwhile.