While I was engaged to my now-husband, people often gave me their two cents on marriage.

“It’s really hard,” they’d say. “Especially that first year. And pretty much all the years after that.” Then they’d add, “but it’s worth it,” almost as an afterthought. It became so common for me to hear this that I began to worry about being happy in this next phase of life I was about to enter.

But then a friend told me something that completely changed my perspective and sent my worries right out the door. “People will tell you marriage is hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Marriage is what you make it. Sure, there will be trials and hardships throughout your life, but that doesn’t mean it’s your marriage that is making life hard.”

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I immediately called my husband (then-fiancé), and we decided right then and there that we were going to make our marriage happy.

It didn’t matter how many times we heard that marriage is hard, we made it our goal to make our marriage a happy one.

And so, during that phone call, we promised each other that we were going to make our marriage what we wanted it to be: a life together full of joy and happiness, despite the trials that may come our way in the future.

Now we are happily married, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t feel overwhelmingly grateful for my husband and for the marriage we have created together. For me, being married is pure joy.

It’s the happiest part of my life. It’s having my best friend by my side. It’s blowing kisses at each other every time we make eye contact across the room. It’s working hard together and watching each other succeed. It’s always having a hand to hold or a hug when you need one. It’s choosing to serve each other in our day-to-day interactions.

It’s having someone to lean on, and it’s being someone to lean on as well.

Of course, there are the hard moments. I don’t think anyone can get through life without the hard times. There are the moments when we mess up, moments when we make each other angry. But then we remember the promises we made to each other when we got married, and we remember how hard we have worked to get to where we are now and suddenly our marriage seems so much more important than the silly little argument we were having just moments ago.

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I believe that because we told ourselves we were going to make our marriage a safe haven, it has been able to happen. It’s constantly in the back of our minds, and many of our daily actions reflect that desire. How grateful I am for my friend who showed me that marriage is what you make it because together, my husband and I have been able to make ours a joyful and beautiful part of our lives.

Victoria Graff

Victoria Graff is a freelance writer for the family and parenting industry. She has combined her love for writing with her passion for family life education to promote strong and healthy families and marriages. She is happily married and living in the beautiful state of Utah.