The dedication and full commitment of marriage is what makes it all the more rewarding.
Depending on the kind of household we grew up in, each of us developed different views on marriage. For some, it was an unnecessary legally-binding contract that only led its participants to regret their decision. For others, it was a wondrous, magical fairytale; one that symbolized the real beginning of our life.
It’s not difficult to see why the belief that marriage is meaningless, which has contributed to our country’s decline in marriage, is ultimately damaging. Studies show that married people are indeed the happiest on the whole, despite no longer living only on their own terms.
Studies show that married people are indeed the happiest on the whole.
Regarding marriage as an enchantingly beautiful, fanciful story of romance seems lovely, especially when placed in stark contrast to much of our society’s views on marriage. But as pleasant as a positive take on marriage strikes us, is it actually based in reality? Is marriage really just a bunch of ups with very minor downs?
On One Hand, Marriage Is Great
The age-old cliché of “I married my best friend” can actually have a lot of truth and indicates a promising marriage. Marriage isn’t just a place for romantic love, but for cultivating a deeper friendship than we’ve ever known, creating and sharing a new life of our own design with someone, and finding support and companionship through life’s trials and tribulations. Knowing we have someone we can count on, no matter what, is a feeling nothing can match.
Knowing we have someone we can count on, no matter what, is a feeling nothing can match.
However, knowing these benefits of marriage can lead us to idolize it, especially young women. We see our walk down the aisle as the moment life really begins, the moment we’ve found identity, the start of our story. It’s not hard to figure out where this worship of marriage will eventually lead us.
On the Other Hand, It’s One of Life’s Greatest Challenges
Marriage truly is, at its best, one of the greatest gifts we can receive — but it won’t always feel like a gift. The weight and significance of marriage mean it’s not always a walk in the park, but rather, it’s often a challenge. More than just, Oh, marriage is full of compromise, it’s a sacrifice we’ll never fully comprehend until we find ourselves in its trenches, challenged to overcome a hurdle.
Marriage, in many ways, goes against our nature. We’re naturally selfish beings, concerned with fulfilling our own needs and living on our own terms, having formed dozens of habits from living on our own terms for years before marriage. And this doesn’t even include the voluntary and involuntary behaviors of our future spouse.
Marriage often requires the choice to love, regardless of what we’re feeling in the moment.
What was once an endearing quirk loses its appeal when we deal with it every single day. What we thought wouldn’t bother us will inexplicably set us off. What felt like a sacrifice we could make for the person we love will feel unfair after a while.
When these irritations and challenges arise, it requires the choice to love, regardless of what annoyance or resentment we’re feeling in the moment. This is the hard work of marriage; by being in a marriage, we’re promising to take another person’s personality, needs, and desires into account for the rest of our lives.
But Marriage with the Right Person Is Worth It
This isn’t to say marriage is all terrible, but in all honesty, the fun we’re told about doesn’t come until after quite a bit of hard work, sacrifice, personal growth, and an understanding that marriage isn’t the answer to all of our problems.
The fun we’re told about doesn’t come until after quite a bit of hard work.
That being said, there’s a reason we continue to get married. As humans, we’re hardwired to seek out community and create connections, to find security and stability, and to desire to love and be loved. Marriage is the natural response to these needs, and that makes marriage worth it.
Marriage, even with all of its benefits, will never be all fun. And without the work of figuring out how to love someone as selflessly as possible, live with another person’s needs in mind, and sacrifice some of our desires, we’ll never get to the fun part of being married. But don’t all the best things in life take the most work?