Anyone Who Disagrees that Marriage is Hard Work is Probably Single
There are a lot of folks out there who say marriage shouldn’t feel like work. Or if it feels like marriage is hard work you’re doing it wrong. I’m here to disagree.
But let’s back up a minute.
If you got a college degree, learned a trade like becoming an electrician or mastered a musical instrument, what did that take? It took HARD WORK! Now I’m not referring to horrible soul crushing work; the kind you dread every morning when you wake up. If that’s what your marriage feels like then you are doing it wrong.
No, I’m simply stating that anything worth doing, having or pursuing doesn’t come easy.
And once you’ve made it to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as a violinist does the work stop? No! You have to keep focusing your craft; honing it, improving it and nurturing it. And when that violinist does that, it’s not a chore they loathe; it’s a labor of love (hopefully). Marriage IS hard work and that’s OK. It’s supposed to be.
Why it’s OK to admit that marriage is hard work
It somehow feels wrong to admit that marriage is hard work. We feel a little ashamed or that somehow it means our marriage is in trouble and the “work” is us desperately trying to fix it. In some cases that could be true. I’ve walked through my own marital struggles before in a post about how martial arts saved my marriage.
But in most cases our marriages are fine and the “work” is just the daily effort we put in to:
- Communicate more effectively
- Be less defensive
- Take more responsibility when we mess up
- Not give & give & give to work, the kids and everyone else and have nothing left for our spouse
But I’m here to tell you that it is indeed OK to admit that marriage is hard work. But it’s work well worth doing. It’s soul-enriching. It’s life saving (your own and your children’s). If you admit that marriage is hard work that means you’re focused on it; improving it and yourself. You’re dedicated to your marriage, your spouse and your family. And that’s a great thing!
Does marriage ever stop being hard work?
If marriage ever stops feeling like hard work that’s a bad sign. It means one of you or both of you have either:
- Given up and are just coasting through life because it’s easier than divorce
- Started building a life outside the marriage (I’m not necessarily referring to infidelity)
- Felt like all the issues in the relationship are the other person’s and it’s just not worth the effort to change
Marriage is hard work. And it’s designed to stay that way. The violinist in my first example has to practice every day! Not only to improve but just to maintain. Your marriage is no different. If we start to slack on our marriage & take it for granted we risk losing what we had. At the very least we risk it never being as good as it can be.
How do you know the difference between hard work and trouble?
— WR Record (@WR_Record) May 25, 2017
I alluded to it above, but for me, work is rewarding, enriching and I like seeing effort I put forth building something up. If anything in your life that requires effort doesn’t make you feel rewarded you should look to change something. Either yourself or your attitude about it, or that thing itself.
Marriage is hard work but it should feel good. The work you put into your marriage should be improving it; making it better and stronger. It should be the kind of work you feel great about. You should be able to see a noticeable improvement in your marriage.
Ready to take your relationship to the next level? I’ve covered the 3 Relationship Stages in a previous post that was my most popular post this past February. No matter what stage yours is in, I walk you through identifying the stage and taking it to the next level.
What are you afraid of?
If you’re working on your marriage out of fear that’s a clear indication of trouble. Actually doing anything because you’re afraid is not a good sign.
Dealing With Relationship Insecurity | 10 Tips To Handle Insecurity this dude is hitting every spot just right 😩 https://t.co/CgDxiWpWF7
— Haley woods (@haleywoods214) May 23, 2017
Perhaps you’re afraid . . .
- Your spouse is cheating?
- That they are planning to leave you?
- Maybe you fear them becoming bored with you?
- You feel like they are wishing you were more physically attractive?
When we have these fears we first have to decide if the fear is based on actual things our spouse has said or done. Or is our own insecurity is driving these fears based on nothing?
Insecurity is a relationship killer. Trust me, I know. I’ve had issues with feeling insecure and it’s something I still occasionally struggle with. My most popular relationship post on being a Needy Guy deals with this topic. It’s well worth checking out if you haven’t already.
If your fears are based in reality you need to deal with that before you can take the relationship to the next level. But if our fears are simply rooted in our own insecurity we need to work on ourselves and not “punish” our spouse for no reason.
My solution for anxiety & insecurity?
Interestingly enough, adding magnesium to my morning routine actually has helped my overall anxiety a considerable amount. I personally use Natural Calm Magnesium powder and just add a tablespoon to a large glass of water each morning after I get up. It’s organic, GMO-free, vegan and gluten free. They claim, and in my 6 months of using it, I agree that it:
- Supports a healthy immune system and keeps bones strong
- Supports regular blood sugar levels, blood pressure and producing energy
- Helps fight stress and anxiety
That’s all I have to say on that, but if you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it works for you!
Why you should work harder in your marriage
Everyone who is married or in a committed relationship should work harder. Why? For many of us, our kids are counting on us. Kids need 2 parents. That doesn’t mean single parents are bad (my Mom was one). But children of divorce just face more challenges than kids from 2 parent homes.
That’s not to shame anyone. If you’re in that boat there might be very good reasons why you got divorced and your kids could well be better off. It’s not my place to judge and I don’t know your situation. But I do know from personal experience that divorce can be very hard on kids.
If you feel like you’re heading for divorce, it may not be too late! Marriage is hard work but as Lenny says, “it ain’t over ’till it’s over”. Check out my 2nd most popular relationship post which covers the Reasons for Divorce and how you can steer clear of them!
In that above mentioned post, I focused a lot on divorce statistics in the USA where I live. But I love this infographic here which covers the impact and effects of divorce in the UK. All in all, people are people and no matter where you live I bet your numbers aren’t very different.
But even if you don’t have kids relationships don’t exist in a vacuum.
How our relationship goes affects our work, our co-workers, our extended families and friends. Being in a successful relationship is better than being single. Make no mistake, being in a terrible relationship is far worse than being single. But there’s just no substitute for having a great partner to help you face all of life’s challenged. And to help you enjoy the spoils of your efforts.
So what are my . . .
5 Ways Marriage is Hard Work & Why You Should Work Harder?
1.YOUR KIDS DESERVE IT
Our kids deserve 2 parents who love each other. I know personally what it was like to grow up with parents who fought, yelled and otherwise made the house tense. I also know what it was later like to just live with one parent and have the other be a long way away. That takes it’s toll on our kids in ways we often don’t even realize well into adulthood.
In a book called “The Longevity Project“, authors and Psychologists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin determined that “The children of divorce were . . . more likely to grow up to smoke and to drink heavily, with such women more than twice as likely to be heavy smokers. The boys of divorce were less likely to complete their education and accomplish as much in their careers.”
If you’re already divorced, don’t beat yourself up. Life happens and expecting to go through life without making wrong turns just isn’t realistic. That’s also how we learn and grow. Just realize there will be some work to do to help your kids (and yourself) get through some tough feelings. You may need professional help with that and that’s OK.
But if it’s not too late, focus on your marriage! (re-) Commit to your marriage. Your kids deserve it and you do to!
2. YOU DESERVE IT
Life can be tough. Sometimes we get knocked down. If you have someone there by your side to pick you back up again, that makes everything just a little bit better. Why go through life working a job you hate, divorced, out of shape with emotionally distant kids? It doesn’t have to be that way. You deserve better.
We can’t control anything in our lives except for our actions, choices and how we respond to things going on around us. Those who try and control external circumstances are doomed to misery. If something isn’t right in your marriage change it, or at least change your attitude about it!
3. YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE WILL LIVE LONGER
New York University’s Lagone Medical Center conducted an extensive study on marriage and its impact on health. In particular they found that being married reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 5%. They also found that cardiovascular risk factors were much higher (31%) in divorced people.
The US Government’s National Institutes of Health conducted a study on marriage and the effects on lifespan. They found that “the death rate for people who were unmarried was significantly higher than it was for those who were married and living with their spouses.”
Going back to the Longevity Project book in #1, they also found that men, in particular were 2/3 less likely to live to age 70 when divorced.
4. YOU’LL BE BETTER OFF FINANCIALLY
I think it goes without saying that 2 are better than 1. Even if one spouse stays at home with the kids, that’s money you don’t have to spend on childcare (and the kids will be better off too).
2 people together making financial decisions are better than 1. 2 incomes are better than 1. When we have a partner, we have someone who can keep our spending habits in check. Or they can push the stingy person to indulge. 2 are better than 1 in just about every aspect of life but especially financially.
5. YOU WILL BE HAPPIER
It probably goes without saying that if you’re living longer, healthier, doing better financially with well adjusted kids you’ll be happier. A recent study conducted by Michigan State University and published by the Journal of Research in Personality found that “(their study) suggests that people on average are happier than they would have been if they didn’t get married”. They also found that marriage “appears to protect against normal declines in happiness during adulthood”.
But don’t forget that marriage is hard work! None of these things will come to pass just by saying “I do”. Anything worth doing is worth doing well. And to do something well requires effort, mistakes, learning from those mistakes and persevering through the rough patches.
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