Until death do us part… We all mean it wholeheartedly when we say it during our wedding vows. After all, our wedding day is magical and our spouse is absolutely perfect for us in every way… right? My husband and I are celebrating ten years of marriage this year, and if I’m being honest, marriage is harder than it looks! We all acknowledge that it can be challenging and will require hard work; but we also expect that since we are marrying “the one,” we will always be able to work out our differences. It gets complicated when one or both parties is struggling… when love becomes a daily choice rather than the romantic feelings we felt on our wedding day.
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Now before we dive into this topic, I’d like to make one thing clear. This post is not intended for those who are dealing with more serious issues inside of marriage. This isn’t for those who are coping with an unfaithful spouse or for those suffering from abuse. It is also not intended to bring guilt or shame to those who have suffered through a divorce. There is hope in every situation because we serve an amazing heavenly Father who cares for each of us individually and uniquely.
With that being said, here are three reasons why marriage is harder than it looks… (and why that’s good!)
Marriage involves two imperfect people.
We all know our spouse isn’t perfect. We can probably come up with many ways in which they are less than perfection. But the truth is… we aren’t perfect either. We are just as imperfect as our spouse. So what happens when two flawed individuals try to make a marriage work? It can definitely get a little… messy. We say things we don’t mean. We don’t handle things the way we should. And often we don’t try has hard as we should.
But the truth is that we have two choices when it comes to our imperfection. We can get frustrated at our spouse for being less than perfect, or we can remind ourselves that we aren’t perfect either. A lot of things can be worked out by simply giving each other a bit of grace.
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
Marriage invites both internal and external battles.
If a husband and wife could live in a little bubble with nothing influencing them from the outside, perhaps they wouldn’t have as many disagreements. Then again… they’d probably get on each other’s nerves! The truth is that we don’t live in a bubble. There will be things that happen in life that are beyond our control. Marriage is hard enough with two flawed people trying to get along, but throw in outside factors like kids, careers, bills, etc… and things get REALLY difficult fast.
I remember when our first daughter was born. Honestly, it was sort of a blur. We were so incredibly sleep deprived that I’m not sure either one of us knew what we were saying anymore. All we could do was get through the sleepless nights, try to enjoy our brand new baby girl, and not kill each other in the process. But that experience made us stronger. Why? Because it was a shared experience. Even though it was one of the hardest times of our lives, it was also one of the best. And our marriage is better now because of it.
That being said, battles have the ability to tear down a marriage, or they can make it stronger. If we choose to work through our battles together… attack the battle rather than each other… our marriage has the potential to grow.
People grow and change, and that’s okay.
One of the most common things people say when they get divorced is that they “grew apart.” And I’ll admit, growth can be a very individual process. Sometimes you do grow in a way that changes you. Perhaps you are no longer the same person your spouse married because of some significant things that have happened in your life.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my ten years of marriage it’s that growth is a good thing. We all SHOULD be growing. No one wants to be the same person they were in their early twenties forever!
Perhaps the secret to not growing apart is striving to grow together. We always hear that communication is key in any marriage, and I have found that to be true for me and my husband as well. If we are communicating during our process of growth, we come out on the other side understanding each other better. I become a part of his growth, and he becomes a part of mine. But if we are not communicating… it’s easy to feel like you’re all alone in your growth… and then you have a problem.
Marriage is harder than it looks. There’s no doubt about that. But this is a good thing! We learn to love unconditionally and give grace when it comes to each other’s flaws. We have someone to lean on and support us during times of internal or external battles. And we get to share in each other’s growth as children of God.
Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17
While marriage is harder than it looks, it can be one of the greatest blessings in your life.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.