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Marriage is work.
People argue whether it’s okay to call it “hard work” or not.
Maybe it could be called heart work. But that sounds a little cheesy.
No matter what you want to call it, a good marriage takes work. It takes effort. And sometimes, you will struggle.
Life is not easy. There will be many challenges, both little and life-changing, as you navigate through the years of your marriage. There will be changes that occur that affect your life in ways you can’t really imagine now. They won’t all be bad either. Even good things can mess with your emotions. Things like the birth of a child or a change in employment change the dynamic in a relationship.
These are the times when you will need to buckle down and put in the work.
Hard Work is Necessary
I think when people hear the word work, most have an adverse reaction. Since many people are unhappy in their jobs, they equate work with unhappiness. But that’s not always true. Nor is it really true of work most of the time if you think about it apart from having a job.
There are many skills to master to build a successful marriage, and they don’t just magically happen. You need to practice them and work at them like any other skill or project. You need to work at marriage in order to become good at it.
You are two different people from different households. Any two people who spend a lot of time together eventually see those differences come out. No matter how similar your backgrounds are, you are still going to have moments when you have different emotional reactions to a situation, see things from different perspectives, or have trouble relating to each other.
Hard Work has Rewards
If you work to improve a skill like photography, you will be able to take better pictures at the end.
If you work to be better at a sport, you may win a race or earn the right to participate on a professional team.
If you work to complete a goal like cleaning out your house, you are rewarded with a more inviting home.
If you’ve never worked hard for something you wanted more than anything, I guess you won’t understand the happiness and fulfillment that comes from that work. (If that’s true, and you’re not already married, don’t do it until you understand the reward of hard work.)
But if you have experienced the satisfaction of working toward a goal, what more significant purpose do you have than to work toward than the betterment of your marriage and the life of the person you love more than anyone else?
What are the Rewards of Hard Work?
So what are the good results of doing the work in your marriage?
First of all, you get a permanent partner. When you do the work by demonstrating that you love them unconditionally and will never take them for granted, your spouse grows into someone that you can rely on to be with you through all of life’s ups and downs.
Next, you get a family all your own. No matter how great or dysfunctional the family you grew up in may have been, you and this permanent partner get to create a life that will be something special and unique, made just for you. Families take work. You can’t just slide by and hope everything works out the way you want it. You need to be intentional in showing up for your spouse and the family you created every single day.
You also get someone with whom you can be completely open and intimate in many aspects of life, not just sex. Working at breaking down barriers between the two of you will open you up to the closest relationship possible here on earth. You will feel connected spiritually, physically, and emotionally to someone you trust completely.
Lastly, working at your marriage and making it successful will show the world what God’s love in marriage can do. Only God can enable us to love someone else so unconditionally because that is the way He loves us. The world sees His sacrifice for humanity in the sacrifices you are willing to make for your spouse. What better way is there to show the world God’s love?
What should you do?
Are you happy with a mediocre marriage? Then go ahead and don’t put any effort into it. Do what you want without trying to make it better.
Want a great marriage? Do work. Learn more about your spouse every day. Discover new ways to communicate. Forgive freely. Have a sense of humor about life. Help each other out. The more intentional you become about your marriage and the more work you do to improve it, the happier you will be.