You’ve heard this phrase time and time again – “Marriage is hard work”
We have heard it, and repeated it so much that it has become engrained in our psyche. I was fearful of getting married in the beginning because of hearing that phrase over and over. That is probably because throughout my life I have done things that required a “great deal of effort and endurance” (the definition of hard work), and I DID NOT want to be in a relationship which required that to survive! I can be frustrated and [emotionally, physically and mentally] worn out all by myself!
After being married for a while I realized something. So brace yourself for the bombshell statement – Repeat after me:
MARRIAGE IS NOT HARD WORK! I AM!
Will everyday 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 meet each other’s most basic, as well 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 lays 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. 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 and seem to have figured it out, so to speak, you’ll notice there are at least 5 areas that they have intentionally committed to. Successful progress and execution in these areas make for smoother sailing in your marriage – Lets call them the “5 C’s Of A Successful Marriage” (they are in no particular order and I will elaborate on them in a future post):
- Communicate: You have to have several conversations…about everything!
- Compassion: You have to genuinely care about the overall well-being of you spouse
- Compromise: You will have to relinquish the idea of always getting your way
- Concession: Sometimes you have to take a loss so to speak…to gain a win later
- Connection: You have to consistently connect on all levels…including sexually
Now you may be saying to yourself, this dude 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). However, 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 a by-product of the commitment that you have chosen to settle into. A turning point came in our marriage when we started living and acting in accordance with the commitment we professed to make!
Everything I want to see in marriage I have to first develop in me.
The realization of the above statement made the difference in our marriage! Often we go into marriage with the notion that our needs are going to be met. Our whole approach to marriage centers around that idea – and it’s wrong! Marriage, like I stated earlier has everything to do with unselfishly meeting the needs of your spouse. To you single folk who are reading this – take the statement above and run with it. It will save you years of headaches and frustration when you do get married.
So, marriage is not hard work. These are the questions we have to ask ourselves: How much ‘work’ am I willing to do on myself and 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…
Oliver & Denise Marcelle are the founders of Denoli, LLC (speaking, facilitating, and mentoring/coaching). They have been married for 19 years and have 3 children.
Through seminars, a podcast, videos and social media posts, they offer a candid look into their own marriage, with the goal being to encourage couples and help them explore, grow and learn together.
It is their belief that all relationships stand a chance, if given the right tools.
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