SOCIAL MEDIA

24 February 2016

Marriage Is Easy {According to my Husband}

Many years ago, I was squished into the messy backseat of Angel's 2-door car while he and our friend J. took the captain chairs in front. We were eating the food we'd just picked up from the drivethru while parked in the McDonald's parking lot because it was really cold outside and we'd arrived at McD's just after their dining room closed for the night.

{Such an old picture but I still love it.}

During my freshman year of college, the 3 of us were usually together. A senior nursing student, a senior engineering student, and a freshman Mandarin Chinese major. I was innocently munching away on my hamburger when J. declared, "Who ever said marriage had to be hard?"

The guys really started going off on this topic--the main idea being that every message that we young people get these days is that marriage is one of the hardest things you'll ever do and you'll have to really work for it and you better be 100% sure you're not making a terrible mistake when you take those vows because marriage has the potential to ruin your life. Their conclusion that night, the boisterous opinion of single college seniors in their early 20s, was that marriage could be easy. There seemed to be no reason, in their minds, why one had to approach marriage as if it would be a difficult challenge, a hard burden to bear.

I sat there, giggling in the backseat. I take a rather more complex view on the topic--being married to terrible people, criminals and murderers and abusers and selfish ingrates, obviously makes many people's lives and marriages very hard indeed. That evening, though, I giggled as I heard these two friends of mine declare, without any experience in the matter, that it was completely possible for people to be married and to find that an easy relationship to navigate.

...................................................................................

The funny thing is, Angel still sticks to that idea once hashed out in the parking lot of McDonald's all those years ago. To this day, he'll still say that his only experience of marriage is that it's "easy."

Granted, this is the same person who can move to two countries in two years, making a major career change and lifestyle shift and be like: "no big deal." Oh, he also doesn't think nursing school is nearly as hard or overwhelming as everyone acts like it is. And he was a nurse specializing in burn care for 5 years and didn't always think the schedule was a lot of fun or hospital policy changes, either, but the actual work wasn't hard--so he says. So, take his opinion knowing that he doesn't see any challenge he's ever faced as a challenge at all. He goes through life seeing himself as spoiled rotten with the awesome education and opportunities and wife he's gotten, and thinks he doesn't deserve any of it. Some people are proud of themselves for what they accomplish in the face of adversity. Angel isn't proud of himself and doesn't think he's ever faced adversity. Most people who knew his story would say that he has, but it doesn't occur to him to view his own life that way.

I've long found this an interesting and attractive quality. In a world where people are proud of pulling themselves up by their bootstraps--where they declare boldly that they are self-made--where people are offended at the mere suggestion that they had rich parents and a privileged lifestyle, and that contributes to their education and success as adults...I'm intrigued by this guy who, if you ask, will never claim that he's worked hard for all the good things in his own life. He sees life and everything in it as an an unmerited gift, and would see it as sheer ungratefulness to look at the good marriage he's been gifted with and call it anything other than "easy."

My thoughts haven't changed too much from the thoughts I had back then, as a 17 year old. I'm not nearly as confident in the ability to say "Marriage is easy" like it's some kind of fact. Because much of the world doesn't experience the marriage relationship as easy. The logical side of my brain doesn't allow one marriage to be a proof-text for such an outlandish statement.

And while I am not naturally the sort of person to ignore my own accomplishments, I appreciate the goodness and grace in refusing to dramatize our own little difficulties and sufferings. When I don't act like my own immense strength of character has helped me through countless trials, I can actually acknowledge the source of my strength and fortitude (for me, that source is the grace of God). It would be terribly arrogant of me to look back on 5 years of marriage, recall the handful of times that Angel has aroused my feisty Irish temper and nod knowingly to other wives, saying: "Marriage is hard work, guys."

It's from Angel I've learned to remain humble (to some extent, humility is a more challenging concept for me than it is for him), in the face of our mini-challenges, and not over-dramatize my accomplishments in the face of adversity. From him I've learned the beauty of being oh-so-grateful for a love-filled life that I did nothing to earn, rather than trying to stand on my merits and claim that I deserve everything I've ever gotten and more.

So while I remain unwilling to state it as if it were some kind of universal fact, I will say, "Our marriage is easy." In fact, the past five-going-on-six years together have been a piece of cake, flavored with long walks at the cemetery and shared grocery shopping trips, frosted with feelings of homesickness swirled with the after-effects of pranks that make me laugh so hard I think I'll never stop. It's got sprinkles of impatience and uncertainty but there's a great big dollop of head-over-heels, never-though-it-would-happen-to-me kinda love to top it off.

.......

{Postscript: I had Angel read this post before publishing. His response was that he thinks the reason he views marriage is easy is because he's married to me, and anyone would find it easy to be married to me. I'm still convinced that this whole "Marriage is Easy" thing is much more about the kind of person he is and the way he views life than the actual marriage experience...but I'll take the compliment, nonetheless. Which, in turn, proves that my journey of learning humility is still in progress.}

{P.P.S: Also, because "Marriage is easy!" is pretty much the only advice Angel would ever give on the topic, I'm also linking up with #LoveBlog today. I'm not claiming it's the most helpful advice in the world...but hopefilled, it is.}

What do you think?

35 comments :

  1. I love his perspective. That's awesome.

    One possible reason people say it's hard is so that people won't go into it thinking it'll be easy and then when there is difficulty, just quit on it.

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  2. Ha! Great post Rachel. I hope whomever I eventually marry will be an easy person to stay married to!

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  3. He seems like a very positive person and it's hard to be positive in this day and age! Very admirable. I'm glad your relationship is a positive one, definitely. :) I can only hope I and whomever I end up with shares the same views!

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  4. In seeing and hearing about a lot of different marriages through family (I am blessed to have grandparents, aunts/uncles, and parents who have been together for decades), friends, friends' parents, and my own, it seems like there are definitely pairs who fight less often than others and who get alone easier than others. I have friends who rarely fight with each other, and these people seem to be those who are more easy going about life in general and just don't get too upset about things. Kind of how you described Angel taking giant moves and job changes as really no big thing. For me (and I think Jordan would agree) marriage is quite hard. That's not to say i married wrong or that we don't have fun together or love each other, but we are both firstborns, stubborn, very opinionated, and admittedly lacking in some of that humility you talk about. I think for some people marriage IS easy. For others it truly isn't, and that doesn't have to be a bad thing but just a fact. I love his attitude of gratefulness and think that's definitely something I could practice more of. I am very grateful of course but probably don't act like it as much as I should. Parenthood has added another level of difficulty for us, and we are still in the beginning stages of that so I'd say yes, for us marriage is hard.

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  5. Agree with Kristina, awesome perspective! Oftentimes difficulties can be demotivating, changing your mindset, so you stop seeing positive things and just quit.

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  6. Aww! I love your postscript! So, so sweet! And in my experience, marriage has been easy too. Maybe we're doing something wrong (or right!)? Maybe we're too young to know any better? Maybe the hard part is yet to come? Whatever! I'm willing to go with the flow. May you (and I) have many many more years of easy marriage! :)

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  7. I think a lot of people dramatize situations. I'm not saying it's not tough, but I definitely think things can be easily blown out of proportion!

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  8. I love this! We've actually found marriage to be pretty easy too, it's nice to hear that we're not the only ones.

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  9. How sweet! I agree with your husband. I don't think marriage is hard. Granted we haven't been married long to each other. We both came from longer marriages that didn't work so we took what we learned and applied it to this union. We are great friends and communicate. No marriage is perfect but we give it all we've got.

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  10. Aww what a great perspective! I love what you said about the tendency to dramatize things.

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  11. I love that picture of you two! I think Angel has a great perspective. Actually, personality-wise, he sounds a lot like my super peaceful husband!

    I think the "hardest" parts of marriage have come when I overdramatize difficult things. Yes, getting a speeding ticket, having a car totaled, having poor communication with in-laws, etc. etc. aren't fun to go through, but early on in marriage, I would act like those situations were the end of the world-and none of them were. In 2 1/2 years of marriage, I've definitely grown a lot in humility and perspective, and my husband and I have kept growing in communication (we had fairly good communication before we got married, which helps), and marriage hasn't seemed like some difficult ordeal. It's been a beautiful, grace-filled gift from God! Sure, there are rough patches, but what's easier? Going through those rough times alone, or going through them while united to your best friend in marriage? :)

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  12. This is so sweet. You've got a very special husband. To an extent, I agree with Angel. I mean, as you said, there are exceptions. Being married to a terrible person (murderer, abuser etc) would be hard. But for the most part, marriage doesn't have to be hard at all. Yes, it takes work, prioritization, and intentionality, but those things don't have to be hard.

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  13. I love that you inserted his opinion of your post at the end, such a cute idea! I've been married almost 4 years and even though we have a long way to go marriage, for the most part, has been "easy". Sure we have our challenges but I knew those issues could potentially come up one day so I was mentally prepared for them. My husband is also so easy going and calm and great at communication so we have more conversations with solutions than arguments. Marriage I don't think is either hard or easy but more challenging.

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  14. His perspective is amazing, and his outlook on life in general. You've got one terrific guy there. I've been married almost 11 years and we both find that marriage is "easy" I think you are right, it has a lot to do with our personalities, but even after 2 kids, we're still loving being married and still feel like every night is a "sleep over" :) I hope it's the same for you two!

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  15. This is beautifully written, I love how easily you can describe your husband's opinion on the matter. I think when Kody gets home I'm going to ask him if he thinks marriage is hard or easy. I'm really interested in hearing his opinion now!

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  16. What a lovely, matter-of-fact perspective! I think his humble character definitely contributes to ease in which he navigates marriage and all other things. Our self-important minds can be our own worst enemy, but when you're just living in the moment and focusing your energy on others (and work) little time is left to create problems or imagine them in your mind. But aside from that, I'm sure he's right about the fact that you make it easy for him as well. What a sweet compliment! :)

    -Shelly

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  17. Great post! I would definitely agree that I could never say the phrase "marriage is easy". It's absolutely been one of the hardest things I've done! I think that's wonderful that he is in the state of mind though. It should be easy some of the time. :)

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  18. Marriage certainly takes work, but it's well worth it!

    Astleigh @ Hill Collection

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  19. That's definitely an awesome quality to have (and yay for positivity and non-drama!), and I'm so happy you two found each other! :] I love hearing about your adventures! :D I hope to find something like that someday! :]

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  20. I love this perspective! We have similar talks a lot!

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  21. Your husband is a liar!
    I'm kidding. :)
    It's such a lovely perspective to have, and how adorable is his "it's easy because I'm married to you" comment?! So sweet. :3

    Christie's Take on Life. x

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  22. Refusing to dramatize things in marriage is so so important! Great post. I love that your husband says it is easy- that speaks volumes of you!

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  23. I loved this.

    Angel is living up to his name.

    If neither one of you is a Drama Queen that helps tremendously.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  24. I'm so glad to read this!! I think marriage is really easy, too. When we were newlyweds, I was a little self-conscious about it... like, if it isn't hard, are we doing it wrong? But no... we're just a really good match, and we're both mature and generous and unflinchingly committed. Thanks for confirming that it IS possible to be in an easy and comfortable marriage :-)

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  25. I absolutely love this post! Attitude/perspective can change everything. I do agree that whether or not marriage is "hard" has a lot to do with who you choose to marry. So maybe Angel is right, marriage is easy because he married you!

    I think that life is hard (although Angel might disagree), but marriage should actually make life easier. Watching my mom die was the hardest thing I've ever gone through, but Dan was an amazing source of comfort and strength for me. Facing my mother's death would have been so much harder without Dan.

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  26. Marriage is funny. I don't think I would characterize it as easy per se, but I wouldn't say that it's been hard, either. It's not really that marriage itself is what's hard, because I've felt for the last 12 years that having a good marriage only has a few simple ingredients: the hard part is not letting ourselves get so busy that we neglect those ingredients or complicate things unnecessarily.

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  27. I love your perspective here, thank you for sharing!

    Kenzie

    Simplyjandk.com

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  28. I feel like marriage should come easy, overall. Sure, you're going to have your ups and downs as a couple, but I think that you should be best friends just as much as lovers! :) But nothing is ever easy. It takes work; work to communicate, trust, and respect. But if you just "click" I think it's easier than hard. :)

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  29. Haha. I love his outlook. I think marriage is pretty easy too... But even so it still is hard... If that makes any sense at all... ;-)

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  30. This was such a great and interesting read! I really hope marriage comes easy but I also understand that there will be some challenges.

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  31. I love this post! You and Angel are so sweet together! His attitude of gratefulness is spot on!

    Most of our closest friends who have shared about their marriages with us have talked about how marriage is hard work. Especially when job loss, kids, financial struggles, family stress, etc come into play.

    However, with that said... This hasn't been our experience. We used to think that it was because we hadn't faced any big life issues in our marriage, but when we look back on the last 7.5 years of marriage, we have faced loss, illness, surgeries, job uncertainties, and sensitive family issues. I hesitate to talk about it because I'm afraid it comes across as arrogant. But honestly, marriage has been easy for us. Life has it's hard moments for sure, but the marriage part of it has been easy. Natural, almost.

    I'm not sure if it's our personalities that work so well together or that we communicate really well or that we're careful to consider the other person's feelings/wants/needs. Out of the four years that we dated, we had one really hard year (the second of four) where we were learning to communicate. We used to joke that we worked out all of our issues in that one year. But truthfully I think it was just that we learned how to communicate kindly with each other. We don't disagree often, but when we do we're both good to not raise our voices and to always speak respectfully to each other. This is all credit to Christopher, though. He has never once raised his voice at me (in 11 years together) and during that hard year of dating is when I learned that we communicated way better when I didn't raise my voice at him. That has carried over beautifully into the rest of our relationship and marriage. He's also really great about taking care of me emotionally and being sugar sweet to me all the time. Which of course just makes me respond in kind.

    I also hesitate to talk about it because I don't know what becoming parents will do to our marriage someday. We are excited for that day, but also a little fearful. Lack of sleep does me no favors, ha!

    Okay, forever long comment over. Ha!

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  32. This is beautiful. <3 And YES, I so love his outlook!!!

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  33. I'm glad marriage has been easy for you guys. After meeting you two I can definitely see Angel being that way. You both seem very laid back, which I think helps a lot in marriage.

    Sometimes I think marriage is easy but sometimes I don't think it is. I think Dave and I, okay especially me, can be strong willed and learning to be humble and consider the other person makes a world of difference.

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