Oct 092013 3 Responses

How to Have an Easy Marriage

Marriage looks easy.

Nearly anyone can do it. You don’t need permission. Anyone of age who can find a few dollars can get a license. Lessons aren’t required and a competency test isn’t given (although we should consider this).

What seems like every golf-worthy Saturday of the year, I stand before a couple as they make the most arrogant of claims. Without knowing what tomorrow might hold, they promise to love one another no matter what comes their way.

Most often they make these promises not from the overflow of true, conscientious love, but from hormone-induced lust which hasn’t given must consideration past the honeymoon.

A year later (sometimes it’s not that long), the lust wears off and the true work of marriage begins—the two becoming one.

It would be simple, yet rarely does our spouse agree that the two of us should become exactly like me. Instead the two of us have to figure out which part of each other we are going to become. The two becoming one has to determine which one. It’s a perfect recipe for conflict.

Early marriage often finds difficulty from two sources:

1. Lack of experience. Competency is only gained through trial and error. When a couple gets married for the first time, neither are skilled at marriage. The natural inability which should exist is bound to create conflict.

2. Differing expectations. Without conscious thought, we all naturally respond to life the way our parents modeled for us to respond. Not only do we respond as we have been taught, we assume others will respond the same way. The only problem is our spouses have been raised with a different model.

Couples foolishly believe they will take the model with which they grew up, keep the good, throw out the bad, and make a few adaptations to create the perfect family. It’s well intended, but it’s foolish. It sounds like a good plan, but it’s impossible.

When the original plan fails, many couples panic:

  • Some assume they have married the wrong person and make plans to try again.
  • Some search for satisfaction in some other form—a better job, having a child, or some material possession.
  • Some attempt to manipulate or coerce their spouse into who they want them to be.
  • Some avoid conflict at all costs.

Yet when the original plan fails is when successful couples find the path to an easy marriage.

  • They recognize their ignorance. (See The Most Important Marriage Advice I Could Ever Give)
  • They confess their expectations.
  • They look beyond themselves for answers.
  • They spend years learning about themselves, their spouses, and how to best operate.
  • They read books, attend seminars, and seek input from anyone who has authority on the subject.
  • They try and fail. They try and succeed. They seek forgiveness and give forgiveness.

Then, if they are lucky, after a lifetime of learning, they one day wake up and realize that marriage is no longer work. It’s not work because the energy spent trying to understand one another, make peace with one another, navigate the day-to-day operations of a relationship, and loving one another has become an ingrained habit of joy.

Marriage always requires a great deal of effort, but what begins as work turns into habit. What was exhausting becomes exhilarating because a lifetime of experience has shown us the benefits of our efforts.

How do you have an easy marriage? 

Spend every day living out your vows with grace and mercy until the day comes in which you wake up and realize your efforts no longer feel like labor but feel like love.

Then, and only then, is marriage easy.

3 Responses to How to Have an Easy Marriage
  1. […] One of the fun aspects of marriage should be two people, who don’t know what they are doing, l... https://www.kevinathompson.com/the-most-important-marriage-advice-i-could-ever-give
  2. […] they choose wisely from the start. Choosing a good spouse does not ensure an easy marriage because n... https://www.kevinathompson.com/spouse-matters-choose-wisely

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