Marriage isn’t easy. Even with someone you truly love. Even when you are both committed. Even if life never presents you any major challenges (HAHAHAHA!). Marriage is still hard.
Here are a few things that I have learned and try and share with young, happily engaged couples. Not that I want to scare them away from making their partnership official – but I think they need to know that it isn’t all about the wedding day and honeymoon.
1. Marriage and even love is a choice. Ever hear that old adage: You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family. The same is true with marriage. You make the choice to love someone. You make the choice to marry them. And I believe that every day you get up and make those choices all over again. The day that you stop making that conscious choice is the day that things start to fall apart.
2. There is no 50/50 balance in marriage. No marriage that I have ever known has existed consistently on an equal playing field. Someone is always giving more on any given day. The way to keep a marriage strong is to always be working towards balance and recognizing the contributions your partner makes.
3. Be thankful. The worst feeling, in any relationship, is never being appreciated for the effort you put into it. You and your partner both work. You both participate in raising your family. You both have demands on your time and pressures that add stress to your day. Remember to say thank you for the little things like running the vacuum, or filling up the car with gas, or taking the kids out for breakfast on a Saturday so one of you can sleep in.
4. Do the little things. “More than words to show you feel that your love for me is real.” I’m hoping you’ll get that 80’s song from Extreme stuck in your head and take it to heart. Ultimately, remembering to do the little things proves your love more than you ever could just tell them.
And to my amazing husband I say this – I do appreciate you and everything you do for me and our family. It all started with a hilarious proposal from a bathtub, a three-week engagement, an elopement to a mini-mall, and we never did get around to that honeymoon. But the vows really were the most important part, and I promise you that I will always love you for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.