A Different Perspective on a Popularly Used Phrase
We’ve all heard this phrase time and time again: “Marriage is hard work.”
In fact, we’ve heard it repeated so many times that it is ingrained in our psyche. Now, many of us are apprehensive to even get married. Just think of it like this, if you have to consistently work hard for everything in life: jobs, education, health and fitness, then why would anyone want to be in a relationship that requires a work ethic equal to or greater than that just for the relationship to survive? Many of you who are single and reading this are thinking, “I can be frustrated and worn out all by myself!”
However, after being married for a while we’ve realized something. Repeat this statement out loud:
Marriage is not hard work – I am!
Will every day of your marriage be like walking through a botanical garden on a 73-degree day, while sipping lemonade, with the perfect combination of sunshine and shade? Absolutely not. But this is not due to the fact that marriage is hard. Marriage, at its core, is simply committing to consistently and unselfishly meeting each other’s most basic – as well as most important – emotional needs. It is committing to serve and protect your spouse. Those things, if we’re honest, are relatively easy to do.
The hard work lies in us. In order to pull off the core elements successfully, we have to do some things. We have to let go of pride. We have to let go of selfishness and the desire to always be right. We have to be willing and ready to relinquish our individual wills for the good of the marriage team. And for many of us that is the hard work.
You will need to do some work – on yourself!
If you talk to couples who have been married for a while you’ll notice that there are at least 5 areas that they have intentionally committed to. We believe that successful progress and execution in these areas make for smoother sailing in your marriage. We call them the
“5 C’s of a Successful Marriage”
- Communication: You must have several conversations…about everything!
- Compassion: You have to genuinely care about the overall well-being of your spouse.
- Compromise: You will have to relinquish the idea of always getting your way.
- Concession: Sometimes, you have to take a “loss” in order to gain a “win” later.
- Connection: You have to consistently connect on all levels…including sexually.
Now you may be saying to yourself, “they just mapped out a bunch of ‘work’!” However, if you are honest with yourself, none of the above 5 things require a “great deal of effort and endurance” (well, some things might require endurance…wink, wink). The truth is, in order to successfully navigate the above 5 areas, you will need to do some work – on yourself! Once selfishness and harmful pride are eliminated, you will notice that the above areas are merely by-products of the commitment that you have chosen to settle in to.
The turning point came in our marriage when we started living and acting in accordance with the commitment we professed to make.
Everything you want to see in marriage you have to first develop in yourself.
The realization of the above statement made the difference in our marriage. Oftentimes, we go into marriage with the notion that our needs are going to be met. Our whole approach to marriage centers around the idea that this person is responsible for my happiness, my satisfaction, for covering my weak points, etc. But this idea is wrong! Marriage is not about getting it’s about giving; it’s not about being served, but serving. Like we stated earlier, marriage has everything to do with unselfishly meeting the needs of your spouse.
So, to all of the single readers – take the statement above and run with it. It will save you years of headaches and frustration when you do get married.
Remember, it’s not that marriage is hard work. If there’s any hard work to be done, it will be in working on yourself.
If you’re dating and thinking about marriage, or already married, ask yourself these questions:
How much ‘work’ am I willing to do on myself, and on my character? What am I willing to do to ensure that the success of my marriage requires minimal effort and endurance?
Think on these things…