Over Christmas I caught up with a friend over coffee, and the conversation of expectations and marriage came up. She asked me how I would describe our first year of marriage, and if it was hard. Marriage, and newlywed life especially, is a lot of things, but that would probably be the last word I would use to describe our first year together.
“Really?” she said, “You’re the first person I’ve heard say that.”
It made me sad to hear that young married couples experience challenge and difficulty as the norm. I know that marriages can hit hard times. Any relationship worth fighting for will be hard, it will weather both tension and tenderness. We’ve experienced both in newlywed life, most of our conflict arising from the adjustment of welding two lives into one. And I can only speak from this small beginning that is ours, but overall, I would describe marriage in different words:
Marriage is hilarious—like when you both say a million-dollar word— “elixir,” for example—at the same time, or when you make a merry mess of the kitchen together attempting smoothie recipes.
Marriage is safe—like when you have the weekend from hell and your husband leaps to your defense in a tirade against all injurious persons and events, both at once cleansing you from the experience and making you laugh.
Marriage is fun—a 365-day-a-year sleepover with your best friend who happens to be super cute. I think that says it all.
Marriage is creative and playful—like when you happily trade in a traditional dinner date night for making snow angels at the park, dreaming and making life lists together, and taking late-night city walks. Love widens your imagination to a new scope of color.
Marriage is sweet—like when he made it all through college without drinking coffee, and then started brewing a pot daily when she was away in Amsterdam, because it made him think of her. Like when he’s going to have a beast of a day at work and she does her hair curly, just the way he likes it.
Marriage is friendship—a deep kindred knowledge of each other, in which he knows that she cries every time Fred dies in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, that she drinks her coffee always with a straw. And she knows that he craves citrus when he’s sick and that his sense of social protocol cringes at taking pictures in nice restaurants. The best part is we’re always still learning.
Marriage is redemptive–in God’s astounding grace that allows us to rehearse His divine love toward each other in everyday liturgies of sharing a sink, table, and bed, as we share heart and soul.
What is your reaction when you hear people talk about how “marriage is hard”? Does that ring true or would you describe marriage differently?