Mawwaige, Mawwaige, Mawwaige. (Yes, I’m a Princess Bride lover, and I couldn’t stop myself.) Marriage is something that we experience from birth. We see our parents’ marriage, our grandparents’, aunts’ and uncles’ marriages. We see them flirting with each other or fighting, spending time together or avoiding each other, working through their problems or divorcing. As we grow, we start to think about the person we will marry and the relationship we will have with them.
In the Bible, we see many examples of marriage and many scriptures about how to conduct ourselves in marriage. The Bible is full of good advice on love, sex (oh, my goodness, did she just say the S-E-X word? Yes, I did. Blog post on it to follow. You know you’re interested.) , and the relationship between you and your spouse.
Hard is a word I don’t like to use to describe marriage. Emotional? Yes. Exhausting at times? Definitely. Time consuming? It literally takes a lifetime. (See what I did there?) Confusing? Oh, heavens, yes. And why? Why, why, why?
Because you are two different people. That’s why. You are two different people with different wants, different desires, different PERSONALITIES (Will and I could write a series on this topic!), and different biological and emotional needs. You’re different. SURPRISE!!!
So, after almost 6 years of marriage and picking the brains of many, many couples who’ve been married for 20, 30, 50 years or more, here are 3 ways marriage can be hard (and ideas on how to stop it!)
1.) You fight a lot.
I come from a loud family. I know, you have a hard time believing that, but it’s true. My family is what my husband calls “full of chiefs and no indians.” Translation: Everyone wants to be the leader and no one wants to be the followers. Therefore, a hearty dose of yelling ensues. Not at each other- my family is incredibly close- but we are all loud and bossy. Everyone of us. We yell, even when we are happy. It’s just loud. My husband, while also coming from a loud family, is not a loud person. He is not necessarily introverted, but he is relatively quiet. He’s also incredibly strong willed, just like his wife. And BAM. Two worlds collide. I get loud, he thinks I’m mad, he gets quieter, I now get mad because he isn’t talking to me, and you have this awesome (sarcasm), awkward “fight” on your hands. Now, I don’t know how it looks in your family, but it’s never fun. So, how do you STOP FIGHTING? Well, you don’t. You’re going to disagree. You’re going to argue. It’s going to stink sometimes. But, when you disagree, there is something you can do. Remember that the problem is the problem, not your spouse. Your spouse isn’t the enemy, he is your partner, your best friend, your other half. Fix it together.
2.) Your families are difficult.
Well, hello, elephant in the room. If you have both sides of the family that are just easy to handle and everything is hunky-dory, congratulations! You’re possibly one in a billion. There MAY be approximately seven others on earth whose families all get along and no one ever meddles and everything is wonderful! For the rest of us, it’s a delicate balance. Will and I both have awesome families. They (we) are flawed just like all other families and we may be parading some crazy around on the front porch with sweet tea, but we had to make a decision early on: we are our own family. While your parents, grandparents, siblings are incredibly important and infinitely valuable to you, it is you and your husband against the world. You MUST treat your marriage as the Pentagon of your existence: You defend it against everything, and sometimes that includes your families. There are two of you and you made a covenant before God to protect each other. DO IT.
3.) You have kids.
Yep. I said it. Having children changes a marriage. It makes it more difficult. The moment you bring that beautiful bundle of joy into the world, your marriage is different. It’s a fact of life. That doesn’t mean it has to change it for the worse. He is going to walk in the door after work to find you exhausted, covered in puke, and in tears. You’re going to feel like a milk cow and a maid. You will both have changed from only having to worry about yourselves and each other to being responsible and caring infinitely for another being. Make the extra effort. It’s going to be tiring for a while. It’s going to be a sacrifice for you to make his plate with a baby on your hip when he is fully capable of making it himself. Do it anyway. You’re going to want to go to sleep instead of actively participate in sex. Don’t. It might do you some good to wear your sexy panties instead of the grannies you wear because they’re comfy. (I’m not judging. I have those grannies, too. They look GREAT under my yoga pants.)
There are a million things that complicate a marriage, from sickness to loss to infidelity. These suggestions aren’t all-inclusive. What they are is real. They are annoying. They are life. We have to decide as a married couple that we are going to honor our vows and our God by putting the other person first, always, no matter what.
For more on the differences between husbands and wives, and a biblical view on how to embrace these differences, check out Love and Respect, by Emerson Eggerichs. It’s my fave.
Love to my loves,
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