Thursday was Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day is a day that we celebrate love and relationships. As such, I thought I would share a few words about marriage, which happens to be the most important relationship you will have in your life. It also happens to be really awesome.
We're cute when we're married.
I've seen a few different articles floating around Facebook lately that seem to emphasize how hard you need to work in order to have a healthy relationship. I agree with almost everything those articles say, except for one thing. Marriage isn't hard.
Before I was married, I heard from friends and family, things like:
"The first year is the hardest. If you can survive that, you'll be okay."
"Marriage is a lot of work. But it's worth it."
"Marriage is really hard, but if you're both willing to work hard you can have a good marriage."
I agree with the principles behind what they're saying. We do need to love and serve our spouses. We do need to make sure their needs are met. But marriage isn't hard.
I know you're all crying out in one defiant voice, "But I do all sorts of things for my wife, I love her and serve her and (insert thing that's difficult for you here)"
I know you do a lot. But I just want to talk about what it means when we say something is hard. It usually refers to something we're not excited to do. It's usually something we put off to the last second until we absolutely have to do it. It's usually something that we wouldn't do if we didn't have to do it.
Marriage isn't any of those, to me. Marriage isn't hard.
If you met a painter who truly loves to paint, and you see a magnificent painting they have created. Do you think they will talk about how hard it was to paint?
Will a car enthusiast talk about how hard it was to restore that classic vehicle?
Will someone who loves photography talk about how hard it was to take that amazing picture?
I don't think so. If you truly love something, you give it your all. And you never think it was that hard, because you would have spent the time anyway.
I think what people mean when they say "marriage is hard" is that "marriage takes time." That is a statement I will agree with. You have to put time in your marriage if you want it to work. You have to invest in it.
I just want to talk about some of the investments that I feel are necessary in my marriage.
I tell her I love her every day
When we first started dating, I was too afraid to tell her how I really felt. The terror of telling her I wanted to date her exclusively almost drove me to sucking my thumb like a little baby. What a blessing it is that I can share my feelings with her without fear of my feelings being hurt in the process. I love to share my love for her. It's not hard.
I hold her
Sometimes my wife just needs to be held. It's a scary world out there and bad stuff happens. Before we started dating, I would have given anything for the opportunity to hold her. I love being close to her, and I cherish every moment we're together. It's not hard.
I listen to her
In a given day, for every 1 word I say, Robyn says 10. She has a lot more to say than I do and she feels happy when I hear and understand what she has to share. I happen to think she's the most interesting person in the world. I love to hear her voice. I love to listen to the ideas that she has to share. It's not hard.
I communicate with her
In addition to listening, sometimes it's important to communicate my ideas. All she wants is my happiness, so why would I not want to help her understand my needs and wants? This seems simple to me but I meet so many people who struggle with saying what they mean and meaning what they say. It's not hard.
I laugh with her
My wife is hilarious. We have an ongoing debate about which one of us is funnier. But hanging out with the second funniest person in the world is pretty awesome. It's not hard.
I cry with her
We have faced some hard times since we've been married. Unfortunately, things don't always go our way. But when that happens, we can face it alone or we can face it together. Facing it together is the easier option. It's not hard.
I serve her
Sometimes she asks me to do things for her. Other times I see a need that she hasn't asked me to fill. In both situations, some of my greatest joy comes from seeing her happy. The greatest payment in the world is when she gets excited about something I've done for her and throws her arms around me. Why would I pass up those opportunities? It's not hard.
You know what is hard? Life is hard. Mowing the lawn is hard. Going to work on days when I'd rather sleep is hard. Doing the dishes is hard. Doing laundry is hard. Shoveling snow is hard. Paying bills is hard.
But even those things are easier in marriage. When she walks outside and tells me the lawn looks amazing, I puff up my chest and strut around like the proudest peacock in the world. If she says I did something well, I must be the coolest guy in the world.
I had to do those things before I was married, but there was no one there to cheer me on. That was hard.
Ultimately, marriage really isn't hard. Life is hard. But life is easier when you're married. Marriage does take a lot of time, if you want a good one. But I can't think of a better use of your time.
Happy Valentines Day to my love! Thanks for making my life easier. Whatever turns life takes, I'm happier with you. My life is better, more joyful, more fulfilling, more exciting and definitely not as hard.