Ask one hundred people “What is marriage like?” and you’ll get one hundred different answers. That’s because everyone experiences marriage differently. For some people, it’s a prison. For others, it’s like watching the same beautiful sunset over and over again, for the rest of your life. For still others, it’s like wine. Enjoy it in moderation and everything is great. Overdo it and you wake with a dry mouth and a lot of regret.
I love hearing different people’s marriage metaphors, so I asked friends to send me their favorites. What follows is what they told me.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE PARENTING A TODDLER
Why is it like parenting a toddler? Because marriage “needs a lot of time and attention or it starts having problems,” says Lisa.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE THE TANGO
“At first you learn each other’s steps, it’s fun and exciting and a little scary. As time goes on, one or the other of you changes your steps and your partner is forced to change theirs to match. If they don’t, you don’t have a smooth dance. Sometimes the steps are not touching, sometimes they are being held close. The key is finishing the dance,” says Catie.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE A RUN
“Marriage is like a run — sometimes you just don’t feel like putting in the effort. Sometimes you do…and you daydream about it. Sometimes it is cold and rainy. Sometimes it is take-your-breath-away gorgeous. Sometimes it is just simple, ordinary and good. Sometimes you feel lost. Sometimes you feel found. Almost always — you are better in the end.” -Jen
Because I’ve been running regularly ever since I signed up for track in high school, I can tell you with great conviction: This metaphor is spot on.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE AN OLD BLANKET
I have a very old quilt that my husband’s grandmother made. It’s all torn up, but I’ll never throw it away. “It might be tattered in places, it might have gotten stuck in the car door, it might be stained from a summer picnic or a little sandy from your last trip to the beach, but it’s comfy and cozy and still keeps you warm whenever you are feeling cold,” says One Frugal Girl.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE A CHAIR
Fellow writer Denise Schipani is in one of those envious marriages where she and her husband are just hopelessly besotted. “Marriage is sitting down in a chair after you’ve been standing for a long, uncomfortable time,” says Denise, author of Mean Moms Rule.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE A BEST FRIEND
“Marriage is having your best friend by your side every day of your life,” says Jennifer Margulis, author of The Business of Baby.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE A CAR
“If you don’t maintain and take care of it, it will breakdown and eventually die. So maintain it and it will last longer!” says Kanoelani. If you are lucky, after 50 years, your marriage will be as unique as the car in this photo.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE A PET SCAN
“Marriage is knowing there is that special someone just for you who knows you inside and out and loves you anyway; will be there when you feel all alone and you don’t feel like you matter to anyone.” -Cindy
Just in case you don’t know, a PET scan uses radiation to see inside the human body. It truly knows you inside and out, including those cancer cells that you didn’t even know were there. According to my friend Cindy, your spouse can know you just as intimately.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE A BROKEN EGG + DUCT TAPE
“Marriage is like Humpty Dumpty. It is a broken or fractured egg repaired and decorated to become something new and beautiful and stronger along the fractures where glue has been applied,” says Rollercoasterrider.
MARRIAGE IS LIKE STRING THEORY
“Marriage is thinking you know someone better than anyone else in the world, only to find out there are aspects of that person you are still learning about.” -Stephanie
The string theory reference is mine. While I can’t say that I’ve ever known it better than anything else, I can tell you this: There will always be aspects to it that I am still learning about. It’s the same with my husband.