Growing up, I remember hearing many negative phrases used about marriage—on TV, by distant relatives, anywhere, really.
“The old ball and chain.”
“All my wife does is nag.”
“You’re happy in your marriage? You must still be in the honeymoon phase.”
These are just a few examples of the many things I have heard for years that create a negative connotation around marriage. I never really thought much of it until I fell in love and got engaged to the man of my dreams. Can you guess what happened next?
“Just wait . . .”
I heard entirely too many “just wait” comments—pertaining to the end of the honeymoon phase, having kids, dealing with financial trouble. It was incredibly overwhelming. Here I was, the happiest I had ever been, and people were ruining that by insinuating that I was making a mistake. That my marriage would inevitably fall apart and that I would spend the rest of my life miserable and trapped. It was heartbreaking and not helpful whatsoever.
After that experience, I promised myself that I’d never turn into that person. Let’s be honest, marriage is hard. It’s messy at times and every day you have to work at it. You have to be committed to making things work with this person who you love. That’s just the reality of it.
But . . . marriage is the most beautiful commitment.
It is filled with average moments that feel incredible because you’re with your lifelong best friend. Simply cooking a meal together, brushing your teeth side by side, or folding laundry together can feel so much more fun when you’re doing it with the person you love the most.
The idea that you find someone you love and marry them only to end up hating them a few years down the road is downright depressing and inaccurate. It doesn’t have to be that way. I’m not saying it’s easy, it takes work, but you don’t have to hate your spouse.
I believe it’s damaging to new couples who are desperately trying to do all of the right things when we tell them that marriage is terrible and they’ll ultimately end up resenting one another. It’s okay to be honest about the struggles marriage can bring, but it’s not okay to project our own grievances about our situations onto others. Whatever issues you have with your spouse may not be the same as other couples’ issues, and quite frankly, issues don’t equal a death sentence to a marriage. It just means two imperfect people came together and are doing their best to love each other unconditionally.
If we scare new couples, they may be tempted to overcompensate to avoid problems within their marriage, but the reality is that we are human. We are sinful and we make LOTS of mistakes. We aren’t perfect, nor are our spouses. We cannot avoid conflict, but we can encourage new couples to resolve their conflict in a healthy way. Communication is key to having any healthy relationship.
Maybe we should start showing new couples how to resolve conflict rather than telling them conflict will make them miserable. Maybe we should be supportive so when they experience bumps in the road, they can feel safe to reach out to other married couples and seek advice, free of judgment or blame.
Bottom line: marriage is wonderful. Does it have its ups and downs? Absolutely. As they say, nothing worth having comes easy. However, it is my favorite journey yet. I am blessed to love a man who loves me back and who genuinely cares about me and my well-being. My husband knows me better than anyone else because he chooses to. Having someone choose you every single day is an amazing feeling. That’s what we should be telling new couples, that if they work at it, they’ll always have their partner to rely on.
Marriage, parenthood, life—none of it was ever meant to be easy. But I know my God has me through every single second of it all, and I find so much peace in that. I married my husband for a reason. My daughter was born for a purpose. I was put on this earth to glorify God, and I pray that I always work hard to do that. It will never be simple, but it will always be worth it. My soul rests in that realization, and yours can too.