While I was interviewing one of my single friends for an article recently, she shared a few choice observations about the world of marriage from her side of the fence.
“Honestly?” she said. “All I hear about is how it’s so much more hard work than anyone expected it would be. It actually sounds kind of terrible.”
I chuckled a little bit at her words, but found that I couldn’t exactly say she was wrong.
I mean, marriage is a lot of hard work. And it’s definitely a lot harder than I expected it to be.
But that’s also not necessarily a bad thing.
Currently, I’m residing in a weird place in my marriage. It’s almost like my husband and I are taking turns living our lives while raising four kids 6 and under. Every day is a back-and-forth, give-and-take for the simplest, most basic of tasks, including literally just using the bathroom. We should get a bathroom pass or something — yes, it’s that pathetic.
I know that, in a way, this is one of the hardest times in our marriage simply because of our children’s ages. We have a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old, a 2-year-old, and an 8-month-old. We haven’t slept more than two or three consecutive hours in over five months, and between the toddler and the baby, we are up some nights, 7 or 8 times a night. Someone (and usually, multiple someones) is sick every other week and we are constantly, constantly feeling behind on the work that we do to make money, as well as the everyday stuff of life.
Our life is so crazy right now, I’m only a little ashamed to admit to you that I’ve actually purchased underwear for my son using Amazon Prime because it was faster than catching up on laundry.
I tell you this not to succumb to the modern motherhood pressure of the humble busy brag (not a fan here), but to just tell you the honest truth that my marriage is not always a pretty thing right now. We’re going through a lot of growth as individuals, we definitely don’t get a lot of alone time as a couple, and we experience a lot of normal stress with the intensity of parenting little kids.
So, yes, marriage is hard, hard work and my friend’s words made me take pause and wonder — is it all really worth it?
Are the ridiculous fights over nothing and the tears I have shed, bitter and alone, really worth it?
Are the hours I have wasted angry at my husband worth it?
Are the literal days we have spent talking our relationship out of a deep, dark hole, a desperate entity driven to jump, worth it?
Are the moments I have wondered, “did I do the right thing?” really worth it?
And the short answer?
Marriage is absolutely worth it. Even on the days when it’s so hard, even on the days when I wonder if modern marriage and gender equality is just a myth, and even on the days when I want to cut up my husband’s dirty socks with scissors (which are usually on the floor, like the worst cliche ever), I know, deep down, that marriage has been worth it for me.
It has grounded me, emboldened me, secured me, and also empowered me.
It has taught me patience, and humility, selflessness and strength.
It has taught me the power of touch, the simplicity of love, and the value of family.
Marriage is the first best thing I’ve ever done, and much like the task of parenting the four little people that followed it, it has reinforced my knowledge that sometimes, the best things in life really do require hard work.
But the benefits?
Are always worth it.