Post # 1
I was discussing marriage with one of my good friends this weekend and we sort of got in to a little disagreement and so I thought I would say the same thing here to see what other bees think.
Me, my husband, our single friend, and my other married friend, I will call her “M,” were talking about one of our mutual friends and how sad it is she is getting a divorce. M said she can’t imagine getting a divorce because she loves her husband so much and was gushing about how happy she was, etc. when I chimed in that marriages are a lot of hard work and I can see how things fell apart for our mutual friend. M looked at me funny and says, “What do you mean?” I explained to her that my marriage, and I also implied all marriages in general, require work every single day. She still looked at me puzzled. I went on to explain that it’s important DH and I are always on the same page and when we aren’t we have to work to get there and sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s really hard. I compared it to driving a car and how your hands have to be on the steering wheel. I said if you take your hands off the wheel and stop paying attention you’ll crash. That’s how a marriage is. Then she asked if everything was okay with DH and I and I said yes and that just because you have to work to understand each other and get along sometimes doesn’t mean things are bad. She let out a relieved, “Oh good!” and smiled. She told me how she thought what I was saying was a bad thing.
All this made me wonder though, I am not saying there is a right or a wrong answer, but how many other bees agree a marriage is hard work? I never believed the phrase “love is choice” as much as I do now that I’m married. Every day I wake up I choose to love my DH and he chooses to love me. Through disagreements, arguments, the good, bad and ugly, you choose to love each other. I believe marriage is hard work, but it’s good work and it’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced. Please share your thoughts.
Post # 2
My first marriage was not hard work, honestly, so I too was confused when people used to say this. But my second marriage is very hard work — almost daily. We do not naturally communicate well together and we are very different people in general, so it takes a commitment from both of us to keep working through tough spots and to keep choosing to keep things together. Sometimes that means I am unhappy, honestly. But never so much that I’ve wanted to leave him. And on the flip side, when things are good it feels like all the hard work has paid off and made us stronger for the long term. Let’s hope so!
Post # 3
I think that all marriages are going to be hard. Just some might be harder than others.
How long has your friend been married?
Post # 4
It’s definitely hard work, especially the not strangling another adult for leaving clothes all over the place except in the hamper.
I suppose if my approach was to waddle (pregnancy man!) behind him and pick up his clothes silently, it would be different. But I choose to be vocal and call out adults for not doing common sense things…
Overall, yes, I agree marriage is hard work and definitely a choice. But it’s also one of the easiest things I’ve ever committed to and continue to commit to daily. Sooo I guess it balances out.
I love DH more than I ever thought I could love another person, even with his piles of clothes that “are fine where they are.”
Post # 5
itsachickenwingthing : 4 1/2 years this month. I don’t want to start picking her apart but I do know her and her DH don’t have the best communication with each other and both have completely separate friend groups and lives apart from each other at times and I can’t help but wonder if that is what makes her marriage feel so “easy?”
Post # 6
So far my marriage has not been hard work at all – it’s been very easy. It’s happy and wonderful and honestly pretty effortless. Yes we’ll have occasional disputes about things like his messiness (see the emotional labor thread lol), but nothing that’s sucking the joy out of us or making me feel like this marriage is a lot of work.
But… we have only been married 6 months (together 3 years total), and certainly haven’t been tested the way a marriage that spans many years/decades will inevitably be tested. We don’t have kids and we haven’t faced tragedy or things like unemployment or severe financial stress. So time will tell how we’ll hold up if/when the goin gets tough. I beleive we have a solid foundation and can get through anything – or I wouldn’t have married my husband – but I also feel like it’s naive to think you can ever be certain about something like that.
ETA: I also suspect that different people have different measures of what “easy” means vs what “hard work” means. When I met DH, I was coming off the heels of a horrible relationship that made me feel like I needed strength of a warrior to get through every single day, cause it was like constant battle. I thought that was “normal” lol….no. By comparison, being with DH is a breeze. But if I hadn’t had that horrible experience with my ex, maybe I’d feel my marriage to DH is harder work than I currently feel it to be? idk
Post # 7
MsPlucky : yes! I agree and can also say committing to DH was one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made. Even with all the work that is required to improve our marriage. My DH also thinks his clothes on our bedroom floor are fine right there lol.
Post # 8
Marriage takes conscious effort, that is for sure. Letting go of the wheel, per your analogy, could result in one partner getting lazy and selfish, which bodes big problems. Keeping in mind it isn’t just all about you all the time, can be hard for some people!
Post # 9
I think there are periods of hard work in almost every marriage where you are actively working out disagreements, compromising on something difficult, or choosing to overlook certain aspects of your partner to promote general hamony (as he/she does with you).
However, no, I don’t think marriage should be hard work in general or more than half the time. Most of the time, I think it should be easy, sustaining, fun, and rewarding.
Post # 10
So strange. The conversation of a mutual friend divorcing could alone be a big reminder of how things ARE NOT that great right now for her and her husband and maybe she panicked and played dumb. I think my relationship has been mostly smooth sailing. Rarely argue or fight unless we had a few too many (lol). But I am a realist here and I don’t want to be naive that s**t can’t hit the fan without warning for anyone.
Post # 11
tommywantwingy : Marriage absolutely is hard work, but if you’re not contributing to your relationship I can see how it would seem “easy.” Maybe that’s how it is for your friend?After kids, marriage gets harder as there isn’t the same ability to connect one on one, but I feel more bonded to my husband.
IRL, people don’t tend to be brutally honest about their relationship struggles so I would keep that in mind. I certainly don’t speak of our disagreements to others with any regularity so my marriage might seem unrealistically perfect to others. I have 2 very close friends who know of two separate conflicts, but nothing more.
Post # 12
I don’t find marriage hard at all, but I think that may be because we were together a long time before the wedding and put in a ton of work during that time.
I wouldn’t have said our relationship was easy during college, but it is now. We learned how to communicate effectively (it was bad before), got on the same page about managing finances, had it out about where we would live and when we’d move in together, agreed on a rough timeline for when to buy a house and have a baby. When we first moved in together we had a big talk about division of labor because I was trying to take on too much. It’s really leveled out now – we each have our chores that we always do and it works. Our adjustment to living together/married life was pretty seamless, I think because we’d already discovered many daily-life issues and worked out resolutions.
For us, all these things were obstacles we encountered then overcame through the years, but I could definitely see where working these things out in a year would be really hard on a relationship. We have been married for three years and we have a newborn, so I’m sure we will hit rough patches, but I wouldn’t describe my marriage as hard work at this stage.
Post # 13
My first marriage was hard AF. Like, every day was a struggle to find out if we would make it to the next. We went through some actual tough times, but also manufactured some tough times. Ultimately, we did not make it.
My marriage now isn’t “hard work” in the sense that our daily lives do not require a lot of head banging or major points of concession. We naturally agree on most things, naturally communicate well and just “get” each other in general. That said, we have been tested by job loss, family member deaths, struggle of TTC… and still my marriage feels “easier” than it even did with my first husband. All depends on the individuals involved. But I do agree that by and large, marriage does take a lot of work and maintenance.
Post # 14
I wouldn’t say it’s been “hard” work. DH and I naturally communicate very similarly.. but we definitely put in work to make sure we *are* communicating. It’d be easy to let things slip etc.. and I think we’re both pretty conscientious not to do that.
Post # 15
I’ve never understood the “marriage is hard work” thing. I don’t find it to be hard at all. Sure, I can’t be 100% completely selfish whenever I want because I have my husband to consider when it comes to big decisions but….I don’t find that hard? I don’t know. I don’t feel like our relationship really changed all that much before and after marriage, and it’s never been difficult.