Did you ever have this thought: “Single life is so hard. I just can’t wait to be married!” I had many variations of this thought before I was happily hurled into wedded bliss. I thought that after marriage I would always have someone who was happy to see me at the end of the day, I’d never have to struggle with purity, and I’d never have to be alone again. There were several other reasons I thought marriage would make my life all better, but I found out one thing for sure after I was married. Marriage is not for wussies! To put it more politely, marriage is not for the faint of heart. ~smile~
Yes, I’m not typically lonely, but marriage comes with its own set of struggles. Though I wouldn’t choose to be single again, I will say that marriage is so much harder than I imagined it to be. Perhaps it’s harder for Eric and I because we have opposite personalities, but I’ve yet to meet any married person say that marriage is easy (unless they are extreme newlyweds).
So, why is marriage hard? First of all, it exposes your sin. Before I got married, I thought I was a nice person. Some of you may remember me saying that I thought I was a selfless, giving person before I entered the bonds of matrimony. Let’s just say all those faulty notions were dashed when I said “I do.” It became clear to me that I was not accustomed to thinking of others (in this case, my husband) as better than myself (Philippians 2:3).
Marriage put my sin on display. There was no hiding from my faults. As a grown, married woman I’ve screamed, kicked a hole in a bag of dog food, and slammed doors. Let’s just say at times my behavior has been less than mature. It’s hard to face the truth about yourself. Recently, Eric asked a newly married man what he thought about marriage, and he responded: “It’s sanctifying!”
Marriage also takes away your sense of freedom. What I mean by this is that you are no longer free to take off and do your own bidding without giving thought to the needs of your husband or wife. Before marriage, when it was time for a road trip, I’d throw some items in a bag, pack the car in a flash, and be on the road in no time. I left when I wanted to leave, I stopped to eat where I wanted to eat, and I drove however I wanted to drive. Now that I’m married I can’t make Eric pack faster, leave sooner, and eat wherever I want to eat. And I certainly can’t drive however I want as he is quick to make comments if I sling him around too much. ~smile~ I wouldn’t give up marriage to regain my single freedom, but I will say that I did not take into account how my life would change in this area. If you’re used to coming and going as you please, be ready. Marriage slows you down a bit (but I think it’s worth it!).
Lastly, marriage forces you to communicate. Husbands and wives who don’t communicate are usually headed for divorce. If not divorce, they can at least expect a miserable marriage, likely filled with lonely nights and affairs. Am I painting a grim picture? Good! Good communication is essential in a healthy marriage and it forces us to be vulnerable and transparent.
Before marriage I didn’t realize how much I had hidden inside. There were deep-seated insecurities, unforgiveness, perfectionism, and laziness. Not only were these sins exposed after I got married, but I was forced to deal with them because they directly affected my marriage. My insecurities made it hard for me to trust Eric and his leadership. My unforgiveness made it hard for me to love as I should. My perfectionism kept me curled up in an emotional ball and made me run from new experiences where I might not be perfect. My laziness caused us many frustrated and heated arguments.
Eric values hard work and he needs me to work hard for our family. Until I could admit my laziness to myself, we had a recurring block in our communication. It seemed like he couldn’t accept me for who I was and I resented it. Later I realized that Eric does accept me, but he’s not willing to sit idly by and watch me waste my talents because I’m not willing to put in the work it takes to refine them. If we had stopped communicating, and put off all of those long, deep, hard discussions, we would still not understand each other. And, without communication, our hearts would separate a little more each day. Good communication is hard work, but it is necessary and worthwhile for a long, happy marriage. If you’re not ready to open up and get real, you’re not ready for marriage.
Marriage has been an immense blessing to my life, but not because it made all of my problems go away. It’s made me stronger by exposing, chipping, and peeling away my selfishness. I’ve had to choose to love and respect Eric daily even when it would be easier to walk away (and I am still far from perfect). And lastly, I’ve had to work through problems instead of ignoring them (Eric isn’t one to ignore anything ~smile~). Many blessings in your life will come at a great price. Marriage will be one of those blessings. For your marriage to be a blessing, it will require work, sacrifice, and compromise on your part. A good marriage is worth all you will go through, but remember, it is not for wussies!
In what ways do you think your life will improve after you get married? In what ways do you think your life will become more challenging?