Marriage is Hard, duh - Elisabeth Klein

Marriage is work.

Marriage takes sacrifice.

Marriage takes compromise.

Marriage takes brutal honesty and communication, even when you don’t want to communicate anymore.

Marriage is a dying to self.

Most marriages fail. Or if not fail, simply limp along.

Marriage is hard.

Marriage is hard.

Marriage is hard.

Marriage is hard.

Marriage is hard.

I get it. Ugh.

For the past two or so years, I have been hearing stories daily of women who are “trapped” in awful, awful marriages that would make most people’s skin crawl.  I also hear stories of women who are now separated or divorced, who have left behind horrible, horrible marriages that would make you cry.

And I have been married before, for almost two decades. My marriage was not just a hard marriage, it was a broken marriage. Every day was a battle. My mind never stopped trying to decipher and decode. My marriage, for both of us, was an exhausting marriage, almost all of the time.

Statistics say that fifty percent of first marriages will fail.

Statistics also say that sixty percent of second marriages will fail.

I get it. You – the world, Christian culture, whoever – have all succeeded in freaking me the heck out about remarrying.  Thanks. You’re all a collective peach.

But I have two lingering thoughts that are fighting to override all this doomsday talk.

First, there’s God. Who gently looked at Adam and said it wasn’t good for him to be alone and that he would create a helper suitable. Now, I know that these words were said pre-fall, before all hell broke loose and forever ruined marriage. But still. The original intent was simply partnership in all its beauty and mystery, to be a reflection of both the tender and fierce love between Christ and his Church. And I want that. I’ve always, always wanted that. Besides all that, aren’t we supposed to be trying to live out “as it is in Heaven” here on earth? You know, bringing as much of Heaven’s beauty to this world now?

Which brings me to two, there’s the sweet man in my life. Now, yes, we’ve only been dating a couple months. So, yes, all of you would probably say that he and I are in the infatuation stage where nothing goes wrong and we skip through fields of wildflowers and we both think the other is flawless.  (We’re not, and things have gone wrong, and we don’t skip through anything, and we both know the other has a flaw or two.)

But I sit with him on my couch while he closes his eyes and sleeps for a few minutes before making the ninety-minute drive home. And my mind can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have him living in my home with me and my children.

And I realize that though I seem to have a clock ticking in the back of my mind whenever I’m with people (as in, get me out of here…I’m introvertedly done!), not once – not once – have I wanted this man to leave my presence. (And I say this with the reality that our dates now last between four and fourteen hours each.) I’m just never done with him. I just always want him to stay.

And I realize that though, sure, we don’t agree on everything, we agree on most things. And he is easy to be with. And he thinks I’m easy to be with. (Crazy, I know!) Which means, he and I actually get along, at this point, about ninety-nine percent of the time.  (Some of you in good marriages will not get at all the significance of that statement. The rest of you are gasping.  Yes, sweet ones, it is apparently an option out in the world to get along with your partner. Who knew??)

And I realize that though I love being alone and being independent, the past forty or so dates of him being in my home and making dinner with me and sitting down to a meal with my children and him watching whatever on TV while I take care of a few things all feels like the most natural thing in the world. He doesn’t just fit into my life. It’s not just something I can live with. It feels like he belongs here. Almost like, where have you been all this time?

I know, I know: we’re new. And I know, I know: this isn’t the same as living together as husband and wife. And I know, I know all of that and more. (I’ve done this before, remember??)

But I guess, for today, I need to quiet the voices that are trying to scare the crap out of me, that remind me how freaking hard marriage is.  That make me fear moving forward. That make me walk around with my heart not all in waiting for the other shoe to drop because surely it can’t just be, you know, actually good between me and this man (it is me, we’re talking about, after all, and I’m a well-known pill).

So voices, please. Please just stop. I know all of the hard and all of the work and all of the horrible.  Please stop reminding me. I know.

Because for today, I just want…no, I just need…to remember marriage’s original design and that it is gorgeous and that it is possible. Even for me.

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