There are times when I see the phrases “Marriage is hard” or “Marriage is work” and I honestly want to scream at whoever typed it “NO, IT’S NOT!!!”
I scoured the internet looking for a set of “standard” marriage vows. I found these and in finding them, I discovered why people should STOP saying “Marriage is hard and/or work”. Here is the direct quote from those vows:
“I would ask that you both remember to treat yourself and each other with dignity and respect; to remind yourself often of what brought you together today.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your marriage deserves.
When frustration and difficulty assail your marriage – as these do to every relationship at one time or another – focus on what still seems right between you, not only the part that seems wrong. This way, when clouds of trouble hide the sun in your lives and you lose sight of it for a moment, you can remember that the sun is still there.
And if each of you will take responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.”
I’ve been in two marriages. One ended badly and the other is currently the most amazing marriage I could have hoped to ever have. I have always said I have no regrets in life, but if there was one thing I could change and guarantee I would still be married to my current husband, it’s that I would have waited for HIM to be the one and only. Bad marriages are work. Good marriages are not.
Marriage #1- Everyday the ex made his breakfast and carried it to work. Everyday he left a paper towel on the counter. It’s not a big deal right? It’s a paper towel. It was a big damn deal to me. After politely asking him to throw it in the trash when he left for work for a few weeks, that paper towel started to become a symbol of disrespect. After asking again for him to throw it away as he left for work and walked RIGHT BY the trash can, it became a symbol of disrespect and anger. It continued and over time my resentment of a paper towel became a MAJOR issue, because it wasn’t about the paper towel, it was about respect. When I asked him why he kept doing it he said to me, “I don’t see what the big damn deal is.” He made ZERO effort to respect me. It wasn’t a “big damn deal” to him.
Marriage #2- Hubby leaves the cabinet doors open. If I ask my hubby to please try and remember to close the cabinet doors, he laughs at me and threatens to open them all just to annoy me. At this point, I usually crack a joke like “you have to sleep sometime”, we both laugh and move on. We PLAY together. Then he shuts the cabinet doors and tries to remember to keep them shut. I don’t feel angry and I am not resentful of his behavior.
The difference is there is not an open cabinet in my face pissing me off every morning. My husband makes an effort to keep me happy. I make an effort to keep him happy by not nagging on the occasion that he does leave the cabinets open. It’s give and take, compromise, but it’s not work and it’s not hard when you’re laughing together; in other words, having abundance and delight in each other.
Responsibility for the quality of our lives together. This one is probably the easiest to achieve. We both have passwords to all online accounts of the other person. We both have the ability to check any of those accounts at any time because we’ve both been cheated on in the past. We call or text each other if we’re going to be late. If he needs soda and I am on my way home for work I stop and get it. Why? It makes him happy. Even if I would rather cut off my fingers than run into the grocery store, I DO IT. If he’s on his way to the kitchen, he never leaves the room without asking if I need anything and vice versa. If we do happen to get angry with each other, we apologize, even if we are the “right” person in the argument. We always hug afterwards. We always ask “how was your day” and listen to the answers. We always make time for each other because in our marriage the other person is the most important person.
Perhaps, we should stop spreading this lie to our new generations that marriage is hard. Perhaps, we should start teaching them more about responsibility, courtesy and honesty. We might hope they’ll wait for the person who makes marriage easy, delightful and a joy. I hope that one day people recite their wedding vows and realize the words hard and work are not there. Doesn’t that tell you something?
Do you think marriage is hard/work? Do you think the ease or difficulty of marriage comes with responsibility for your role in the marriage?