The One Where I Talk About How Easy Marriage Is.

A while ago I mentioned something here on the blog that caught the attention of some of you.  What I said was that I didn’t think that marriage was hard.  I then promised that I’d explain that some other time. (And then I forgot and/or I didn’t feel like writing that post and/or a host of other things so I never got around to it.  But look at me now, getting around to it.)

Now as a disclaimer let me say, right up front, that this is my experience.  I am talking here about my marriage and about my life.  (Basically, this is all about me.) Results vary.

I don’t think that marriage is hard.  Sure, Sean sometimes does things that drive me crazy.  Sure there are times that I wonder what I’ve gotten myself into and why I’ve gotten myself into it but I can honestly say that I’ve never even considered divorce, seriously or otherwise.  I like being married.  I like being married to Sean.  It’s not that I’m oblivious to his flaws (nor he to mine) it’s just that they don’t amount to much all things considered and I’m enough of a realist to know that I’m not going to find a guy who doesn’t drive me crazy at least on some level.

I remember when I was engaged and when we got married, that I heard over and over from well meaning folk that marriage was hard.  I believed them.  I didn’t really understand what they meant, I didn’t see how it could be hard we were so very blissfully in love, we only wanted to sit and gaze meaningfully into one another’s eye (or something like that) but I believed that what they said was true.  And maybe it was for them.  But for me, at least so far (and I think that 12 years counts as some experience), the marriage part has been easy.

The life part on the other hand.  Life is hard. Kids are hard.  Losing jobs when we had just bought a house, having to borrow money from our parents because we’ve been idiots or because we have had to replace the transmissions in two cars in a month, dealing with a child who just lies on the floor crying while I blog, those things are hard.  But the marriage part hasn’t ever been (for me).  In fact, I think that having someone else to try to figure all that out with is pretty nice.

It does make me think though, I wonder if the things that I call “life” are the same things that some people call “marriage”.  It wasn’t me who lost my job just after we moved into this house, it was Sean.  So for some people does that translate into marriage being hard?  I just see it as life, as something that happened to us but maybe for some people it’s something that happened to you that I now have to deal with.

I have a friend, an American, who married a Polish guy.  For a while after they got married they lived in the US but eventually they moved to Poland.  I don’t know if that was the plan all along or if it’s just the way their lives worked out but either way it’s something that I know she occasionally has some trouble with.  (Wouldn’t you occasionally have some trouble moving to a foreign where you only sort of speak the language and where you’re half a world away form your family?)  And I wonder if she considers those troubles to be “life” or “marriage”?  Certainly if she wasn’t married to the Polish guy she wouldn’t be living in Poland but …  In my life I just figure it’s kind of a, if I didn’t have this specific problem I’d have some other problem, kind of thing.

I have another friend, a girl that I work with, who’s younger than me (I think) who’s on her second divorce.  I don’t know what happened the first time around but I know that a lot of her problem with the second guy was that he wasn’t ambitious enough for her.  Ummm, when you met him did you think he was going to an Ivy League school?  Was he in med school?  (The answer to both questions is no.)  Basically, he was the same guy he is now (more or less) and she’s looking for an excuse because she for whatever reason, doesn’t want to be married anymore.  I think she’s crazy.  How, why would you want to be single when you could be not single?  I don’t get it.

But it does make me wonder. Is marriage hard for some people because they make it hard?  (By some people I don’t mean everyone for whom marriage is hard, I mean just some of the people for who marriage is hard.  Understand?)  Do they really expect that they’re not ever going to be driven crazy by this other person that they’ve tied themselves to?  Do they think that that person is always going to agree with them?  Do they not realize that over time people and their priorities are going to change and that they’re going to have to be somewhat flexible?  Were they not told, when they were engaged and first married, that marriage was hard?

And then I wonder if that’s why it hasn’t been bad for me, was I expecting the worst so I’m pleasantly surprised?  Does that mean that Sean’s always going to get how very poor we are and therefore not go to the store and spend money on things that we don’t really need?  Nope.  He’ll probably still do that.  But he’ll also sit with me, night after night and feed me ice cream and watch Veronica Mars with me.  He’ll laugh (and cry) with me about the kids.  He’ll buy me Reese’s Pieces.

What more could I ask for?

Note: None of this was intended as an indictment against divorcees. There are plenty of reasons for divorce, and as I said to begin with, this post is about me and about my marriage to date.  It’s not about you, not in any way shape or form.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cheryl
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 09:03:16

    You are wise. Somewhat of a genius, too.

    I think in the past I figured my marriage was hard because of the life things. I love this post because it’s making me realize that my marriage actually rocks the freakin’ world. Our life may be hard at times, but our marriage is pretty darn solid. And fun. Plus, he’s the sexiest thing alive, so…you know… 😉

    Fabulous post, Al. This is something I think most people should think about.

  2. Kristina P
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 11:41:44

    You know, I relate to this too. I had a friend who had been married for a couple of years before I did, and she has said several time, “Well, everyone’s engagement sucks, and it’s hard.” I had no idea what she was talking about. And her experience was so far out of the realm of normal, it is so weird that she applies that to everyone else.

    I have been told so many times by my friends that once we have kids, that’s when things will suck. Because I will say, honestly, we do have a pretty easy marriage at this point. I hope that’s not the case for us in the future.

  3. Sarah
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 12:32:08

    I had the same experience (people telling me marriage is hard). I think you hit it right on the head: for many people, they take the life things and make it the marriage that’s hard. Life is hard. That’s not going to change. But I love having someone to go through it with me. I can’t imagine tackling some of our troubles all on our own…

  4. LisAway
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 12:45:58

    How can you say this wasn’t about me in any way shape or form!?! How many American friends who married Poles and have my blog do you KNOW!?!

    I think problems related to living here are just life and they would just be different if I lived in the US.

    Marriage is hard because of all the compromise when you know you’re right. Yes, you read that right. I’m still way too proud for this. I need to work harder at humility, but I do think marriage is hard, and the last year has been the hardest for me yet. It’s getting better now, though. And I don’t think I’ve ever seriously thought about divorce or even not very seriously. But I have wondered how we can do this. Then I am reminded of how amazing he is, despite how awful he is. And everything is okay. 🙂 And I try harder to be who I want to become, too.

    I really appreciate your perspective. I think you are just mature enough for marriage. And plus, if Greg brought me Reese’s Pieces I would forgive him of anything, so you actually just lucked out.

  5. bythelbs
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 14:41:54

    I stand by my earlier inspirational/write more books comment. Maybe you could write a self-help book disguised as a novel! (Because I would never read a self-help book—not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’m just not that interested in self-helping, which I realize is probably a good indicator that I should be—but I love novels.)

  6. Flipflopmama
    Sep 16, 2010 @ 15:58:16

    Such a great post. Life sucks and it’s so much better when you hae your best friend to go through it with.

  7. Jaime
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 07:37:57

    I think you’re totally right. People project “life” onto their marriage. What I’ve seen as the biggest problems in marriages that fail around me is marrying someone and thinking it’s going to be different. It’s like buying a shirt that is too tight because you’re going to lose those last five pounds, and then you never get to wear it (not that I’ve done that . . . ) Doesn’t usually work out!

    The other thing I think people suck at, which makes their marriage harder is balancing your expectations with reality. Reality wins every time!

    Nice to see you writing so often again!

  8. Mother of the Wild Boys
    Sep 17, 2010 @ 10:04:29

    For me, I can relate this post to motherhood, because despite the life-hard stuff about kids (dealing with Autism is just one trial for us), motherhood isn’t hard at all for me. Having kids is not my trial.
    For me, marriage can be hard, even when separating out the life-hardness, it is just my trial. Fortunately my God blesses me in other ways.

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