I’ve been married for six months. And it’s been six months of awesomeness. But I wasn’t expecting it to be so awesome.
Growing up in Christian culture, I heard the “marriage is hard” message loud and clear. Sermons, books, conferences, even songs on the Christian radio station all reminded me that marriage is hard and takes work. Lots and lots of work. Even our pre-marital counseling was designed to point out the areas that would require us to work out our disagreements or potential relational roadblocks.
I’m glad I was taught these things, because they’re all true. Besides, if we only talk about how awesome marriage is, then we aren’t painting an accurate picture. But somewhere along the way, I started to think that marriage was only hard work. I only heard, “Marriage is hard,” and stopped hearing the second half, which is, “But it’s worth it!”
So in preparing for marriage, I put on my battle gear.
Bring it on, pre-marital counseling!
Miscommunication and differences in spending habits? I’m ready for you!
In-law expectations and gender role issues? The gloves are off!
But it turns out that even with the hard work, marriage is so, so fun! Rather than feeling discouraged by all the things I was warned about, I’ve felt so deeply grateful for the gift of marriage and the way it has exceeded my expectations.
Sure, some of that may still be the glow of being newlyweds. Marriages go through ups and downs and times of extreme hardship and times of sweet bliss — kind of like life. Tyler and I might spend the car ride home hashing out a disagreement, feeling frustrated and angry. But then we pull into the driveway and he puts his hand on mine and I think, There’s no one else I’d rather disagree with than him.
I wonder if there’s a way for us to talk about marriage that emphasizes the hard work but also the immense joy that exists. It’s not an either/or proposition, but rather a both/and. Before I got married, I sometimes felt discouraged, wondering if marriage was only going to be one big source of conflict and suffering. It made me wonder if it was worth it to even keep praying for a husband.
If you find yourself wondering the same thing, take heart! Yes, marriage is work and it isn’t easy and it’s not always fun. But the hard work comes with a sweet reward, and it is worth it. A thousand times over it is worth it.