Marriage is Not Hard Work

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”

  1. Communication: You must have several conversations…about everything!
  2. Compassion: You have to genuinely care about the overall well-being of your spouse.
  3. Compromise: You will have to relinquish the idea of always getting your way.
  4. Concession: Sometimes, you have to take a “loss” in order to gain a “win” later.
  5. 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.

Remember…

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…




How You Say It

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My husband and I don’t have a very good marriage. the first few months after our wedding we had a lot of fun and got along quite well. Since then, things have gone south. We seem to disagree with each other in every conversation, and since the children arrived—we have two boys—it has just added to the stress in our marriage, and our lack of peaceful conversations with each other. if things don’t get better between us soon, i may not be able to stay in this marriage much longer. Please help! We can’t talk to each other anymore.

Michelle—Addison, Texas

Effective communication is essential to the survival of every marriage. If we were to look at marriage as a living organism, good communication would be like healthy blood running through every cell in the system to remain viable. And if marriage were a car engine, good communication would be like oil with enough viscosity to keep the parts well lubricated in order to function well.

One of the greatest challenges in married life—once the honeymoon is over—is for couples to engage in frequent conversation that is calm, civil, constructive, affirming, peaceful, and understanding. It is a delusion to believe getting along well before marriage means you will continue to do so after marriage. It is amazing how much stress, tension, and trouble a few dishes that need washing, bills that need paying, floors that need sweeping, and babies that need feeding can bring to an otherwise wonderful and blissful marriage.

Good communication is not a skill we often bring to marriage. Most of us came up in families in which voices were raised— sometimes more than just a little—when people disagreed with each other. This unfortunate legacy must be discarded to survive the rigors of real life in marriage.

There are two elements that are particularly important to having good communication in marriage, or any other meaningful relationship: making it clear and making it safe.*

Quite frequently lack of clarity causes miscommunication in marriage. Many of the most heated arguments take place because a husband or wife failed to understand what his or her spouse meant to say, making things very unclear and leaving spouses very angry at each other.

Having a great marriage means that both husband and wife should be able to express their feelings, beliefs, concerns, and preferences clearly without damaging the relationship in the process. For this to happen, each spouse must feel safe to share what is on his or her mind, which can be accomplished only in an environment in which each spouse is careful about not hurting the feelings of the other.

To accomplish these two important concepts that are essential to great communication, there should be an agreement to: 1. Listen first and talk second. 2. Resist the urge to defend yourself. 3. Paraphrase what your spouse is saying to make sure you understand each other and are on the same page. 4. Share the process so you both have an opportunity to listen and speak to each other. 5. Pray for patience, a willing heart to resolve your differences to satisfaction, and a desire to give honor and glory to God in the process.

The Bible states in Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Determine that every time you speak to your spouse it will be like giving him a gift of gold and silver, so your conversation with each other will find new joy and peace, and be a blessing to your children and their children.