Why is Marriage Hard?
And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”
Marriage is hard work! I have heard this statement more times than I can count, and to some degree it's true. Marriage is challenging. The process of merging two independent lives into one is not simple. Sharing your life with someone every day is not easy, but sometimes I think we make it harder than it has to be. So, why is marriage hard for us?
Here are my thoughts:
We believe the lie: Many of us fall into the trap of believing that marriage is a fairy tale - Prince Charming sweeps us off of our feet and we live happily ever after. We recite our vows at the altar, feel the goosebumps and ooey-gooey feelings, and think that is all that marriage is. The Cinderella and Snow White version of marriage doesn't show them taking care of the prince when he is sick, the sleepless nights of having a newborn, or the disagreements that are inevitable in marriage. Love is more than emotional feelings, and marriage is much more than a ceremony.
We refuse to change: "I was like this when we got married, and it wasn't a problem". I've heard so many people say that as an excuse for not changing. If a child kept the same behaviors from the time they were born until they became a teenager we would say that they were underdeveloped and get help for them. Why, then, is it ok if we don't change? It's not. We must mature in our faith, our reactions, our responses, and our words. God doesn't change, but he expects us to "be transformed by the renewing of our minds" (Romans 12:2) on a consistent basis. We have to grow up.
We try to change our spouse: We don't want to change, but we sure do want our spouses to change. We can list all the areas that they need to grow and change in without batting an eye, and we think that it is our job to make it happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's not our job to change our husbands. It's our job to love them and be a good example for them. It's the Holy Spirit's job to change them. We have to stop trying to manipulate, argue, and force them to do things the way we think they should even though we say great potential in them. We must use our influence to win them without trying to be their mother, pastor, or God in their life.
We forget God: As much as we love God, we sometimes forget that marriage was His idea in the first place. In the heat of emotion or pain we let our feelings lead instead of our faith. We run to our friends, family, and others who will listen and forget to listen for what God is saying. He has an answer for every problem that we face. He has a plan for you as a wife. He has instructions for you. We take unnecessary trips around our mountains we don't stop and ask God for direction.
Marriage can be challenging, but it is a lot like being a disciple of Christ. Once we take the initial step of saying "I do" to Christ, we live the rest of our lives letting go of our selfish ways and embracing His way. It takes a lot of saying no to our feelings, and that can be difficult. We have to unlearn ways that we have practiced for years in order to live a better life in Christ. Marriage is the same. We have to let go of our independent lifestyle for a life that is better shared with our spouse. As we choose God's way it gets easier and easier as the years go by.
Marriage can be hard, but it doesn't have to be. Choose God's way and watch your path get smoother. In what ways do you think marriage is hard? What advice would you give someone to make it easier?