Here it is: marriage can be easy.
It seems that everywhere I turn people say “marriage is hard work,” “it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do,” “you have to work at it everyday.”
To that I say, false.
When I think of things that I’ve considered hard work throughout my life the list includes: my landscaping job in college, juggling full time school and 3-4 jobs, renovating our house, and statistics class.
Being married to my husband is not on the list. Not even close.
I knew when I was dating that I didn’t want a relationship that was hard work. Life is hard enough on its own without adding stress in a relationship.
A partner is supposed to relieve some of your stress, I thought.
But all I ever heard when I would question friends about their stressful relationships complete with a heavy work load was “you’ll understand when you have a boyfriend.” Because I had never had one, I thought that maybe they were right, and I lived in a naive world where boyfriends and girlfriends actually liked each other and got along. I thought that loving someone should be a pleasant experience that came with support and laughter and companionship. This point of view was usually met with derision and a shake of the head filled with pity for the ignorant bliss of someone who had never had to deal with the hardships of a relationship.
After my husband and I had dated a few months, I started to worry because we didn’t fight. After a few more months I really started to worry. What was wrong with us that we were still having fun and were truly happy when my friends fought almost immediately with their boyfriends?
How messed up is that? I was genuinely concerned that we didn’t fight and everything about being together was fun. To that some would say that we had only been together a few months, we’re supposed to still be in “the honeymoon stage.” But here we are 8 years and 2 kids later and I still get excited when I hear his car in the driveway or see him walking towards me in the store.
To be clear, I’m not saying this to brag about my relationship. I’m saying this because I never heard anyone say this when I was dating. Ever.
So there I was fumbling around the dating world figuring that if I really did want a relationship, I would have to settle for one that required a lot of effort, stress, and work. To me, that conflicted with the supportive, happy, loving experience I wanted in a relationship. It was frustrating to have people look at me like I was insane when I said that I didn’t think a relationship should easy and fun.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I have disagreements. I’d even go so far as to say we’ve had a few arguments. But we don’t fight. We don’t storm off. We don’t stop talking for days or really even minutes.
What we do is talk all the time about everything. We are receptive when the other person comes with an issue or doesn’t like the way we handled a situation. We handle our money together. We decide how to raise our children together. We decide how to run our business together. And guess what? It’s easy. And it’s so much fun having someone to walk with through life.
My point is don’t settle for someone who makes you fight for his attention or to be heard or to feel good about yourself or the relationship. Hold out for someone that is your equal and partner and best friend because that’s when things get fun.