Happy Labor Day, everyone! The day we celebrate hard work by doing as little work as possible! I love it!
Labor Day usually falls extremely close to my best friend’s birthday, so we have a standing excuse to visit the beach this time of year. Resting from our labors is always more satisfying when we have put in tons of effort. Do you ever go to bed at night after lazing around all day and feel like you do not even deserve rest? I certainly do, sometimes! But, after long days of toiling over a project or training for a physical contest, we fall into bed feeling satisfied and accomplished – and pooped!
Marriage is one “job” where you are likely to experience much labor. The movies typically only show us the fun parts. You fall in love, experience some drama, get married, and then life is hunky dory! (Or not.) The wedding is the commencement of the remainder of life’s journey, not the destination.
Dating is like learning during a semester of college. Engagement is like exam week – reviewing what you have learned and preparing to use the information. Finally, your wedding day is like graduation day. You wear a special outfit and look forward to all you will accomplish in your life.
As tough as college is, it is not until after graduation when the real work begins (it had all just been for preparation!) – and the same is true for marriage. From the time you walk down that aisle as husband and wife to the time you kiss each other goodbye for the last time, you will have a lifetime of hard work.
Maybe such an idea is discouraging to you? “I thought marriage would be a fun adventure!” It can (and should) be, but this adventure will require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. If you are saddened by this thought, (as I am sometimes), consider these five reasons to appreciate the hard work you will face in marriage!
- Everything worth having is worth the hard work it takes to obtain it. Just as you feel more satisfied sleeping after a long day’s work, you feel more accomplished in your marriage when you put in great effort. Eric and I have not had an easy relationship (as we are opposites in almost every way), but I feel stronger because of the progress we have struggled to make over the years.
- Couples who work together can draw strength from each other. Though I enjoy working from home for PreEngaged, I miss having co-workers. I drew strength from them on my hard days and they drew strength from me on theirs. In marriage, you will be able to hold each other up as you continue working towards the same goals. “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, ESV)
- Efforts now reap dividends later. Hard work does pay off in the long run. When you cannot see for the sweat running in your eyes, you may not be able to envision the finished product. But, if you keep plugging along, you will eventually have a monument of which to be proud. As you are working through the rough spots of your relationship, think about the reward of Christ-loving children and grandchildren. Let the thought of family reunions and Christmases remind you to keep on fighting for your marriage. Those sweet old couples did not reach that stage by throwing up their hands and quitting!
- Couples cannot have two separate lives and remain close. “You do all of this work and I will do all of that. Easy enough.” Which couple do you expect to be closer: the couple you see in the front yard working together on a landscaping project – or the couple who is working on two separate projects? Maybe you do not think there is a significant difference between the two. Now, picture the first couple working on a project together each weekend and the second couple working on two different projects each weekend. Do you expect one “team” to be closer than the other? Even when the task is unpleasant, we bond with co-laborers. The couple who works together spends time together and constantly strives towards the same goals. Common goals bring people together.
- There is satisfaction in a completed task. When I finish this post, I will have finished my work for the day. My back is hurting, I am ready for dinner, and I am tired! However, I have completed a lot and I find great satisfaction in that. When couples work together, they endure the pain together, but they also get to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done together. Before you become engaged, make sure you and your sweetie work well together. If you do not, cultivate those skills while you are still dating. You will want to marry someone with whom you share a similar work ethic, or you may find yourselves fighting often (ask me how I know ~smile~). The couple who completes separate tasks will still feel satisfied in their hard work, but how much sweeter it is when you can share that victory with your closest friend and life partner. Those moments draw a couple closer and then they can relax together!
We hope your Labor Day is a relaxing one. Hard work is not always pleasant, but it is good for the soul. Laboring in your marriage will wear you out at times, but the return on your investment may be comfort, contentment, peace, hospitality, and joy. When you feel like giving up on your marriage someday – and you likely will at times – remember the rewards which are coming if you do not lose heart.
Do you and your sweetie work well together?