please stop telling me that marriage is really, really hard

For some reason, all I want to do is watch documentaries about relationships. I’d probably read those books with titles like “The Three Love Types: What Who You Fall In Love With Says About Your Type ” if someone left them lying around. I watched Daniel Gilbert’s documentary about happiness, which was mostly about relationships, and a couple days later I watched one of Michael Apted’s documentaries in the “Married in America” series, and then I watched some random documentaries about being married that had narrators who were like, “So now we go to the labs at UC Davis to discover the MEANING OF LOVE AND LUST!” but when you get there it’s just some awkward scientist feeding a couple of confused-looking monkeys.

I got married without reading up too much on the whole thing. We were busy. We wrote our vows the day before. We were engaged after six months, married about a year after meeting. We said things in our vows like “you’re really hot…” Bear jokes around that I married him for his body. Which is, of course, true. There were other things, too, though. Something to do with his brain…I can’t remember…

Kidding.

We didn’t talk a lot about marriage before we did it. There are couples like us in the documentaries I watched, but things are never going great for them. They’re like, “We rushed into it, you know? We should have given it more time…We didn’t even know each other when we got married…”

Disembodied voice of documentarian: “And would you say that’s made things hard?”

Couple, looking at each other sadly, then back at camera: “Yeah…It’s made things really hard… Hard is putting it lightly…” (sad little chuckle)

That is what people say about marriage. It’s hard. It’s harder than you expect. You go in all innocent and rosy-cheeked and skipping and a year later, there you are, worn down on the front stoop, your hair unwashed, eating Doritos by the handful as you stare blankly into space.

(before)

(after)

 

At the same time, all of the researchers explain that people have the wrong ideas about marriage. The problem is that we have this mold in the shape of a fairytale, and we’re all trying to cram our sloppy, oozy lives into it, but there’s always some spilling out the sides, getting everything sticky. We have this image of happily ever stuck in our heads. A recent NYT article quotes experts who ask that people give up “the marriage fantasy.”  You know, the one about marriage being a lot of fun and games. In the documentaries, scientist after psychologist after sociologist patiently explain that one of the big reasons why marriage is so tough for so many people is that they aren’t properly prepared for it. The NYT piece agrees. “…perhaps we need to change our expectations so we’re not so unhappy,” says the president of an important-sounding group of divorce lawyers. Our culture tells us there will be this white horse that we get to ride away into the sunset on, and then it turns out you can’t even find a damn taxi. “It’s really important that you know what to expect,” legions of earnest researchers tell the camera.

People run blithely into marriage, never thinking that they will be the ones to get divorced. But ha! Joke’s on them! EVERYONE gets divorced! OK, not everyone, but like, almost everyone. The researchers are shaking their heads. People just don’t understand how hard marriage is, that’s the problem. They think they’re the special ones. They think they won’t get divorced. They don’t have any idea what to expect.

(this is what it looks like, right?)

Well, I beg to differ for a second here.

All I’ve ever heard about marriage is that it’s hard.

I mean, yeah, I’ve watched a few Disney movies, and yeah, sometimes they end with a big white wedding, but also I got older after that and watched other movies and read books and watched TV and talked to people and lived in the world and it seems like most of us are pretty sure that marriage is really hard.

Marriage is about compromise and work and sacrifice and denial. There are benefits, of course, but you have to really earn them. That’s what I learned from the world.

When I got engaged, my single friends were as supportive as they were able, but sometimes they’d let something slip about marriage being a prison that you’re supposed to stay in for the rest of your life. Something about how they just weren’t ready to give up their freedom yet. Something about how frustrating it must be to have to constantly explain yourself to someone else, instead of just, you know, living.

“Good luck…” said the older people. “You’ll need it.”

The couples in the documentaries agree. They can’t believe how naïve they were when they got married. They never could’ve seen what was coming. In the beginning, when they’re first interviewed, they’re talking about how they met- it was so romantic! By their second interview, the man has fathered three other children with someone else and the woman has a dead look in her eyes. She’s taken him back, and they’re “working on it.” In fact, in the pieces I watched, almost all of the men left almost all of the women at one time or another. “Hard” means “you will want to die and also you will never be able to trust again until you get so much therapy it bankrupts you.”

Some of the couples who have emotionally destroyed each other are heralded as successes, because they’ve made it through. Somehow, after he cheated on her with her sister and she found out on Facebook and then cut off three of his fingers with a cleaver, they are still together! Yes! There is hope!

(the sunset is out there somewhere, there are just a lot of rocks to get over first)

I have been married for two years and I am embarrassed to say that it feels really easy. I don’t actually know why. We just get along really well, I guess. He’s really nice to me. I try to be nice to him back. We tell each other how much we love each other a lot. Like, all the time. It just comes out. I like his shoulders. I like his face. I cry when I think about something bad happening to him. I am constantly grateful to myself for having the sense to marry him. I am constantly grateful to him for marrying me.

But I try not to tell anyone any of this, because it sounds ridiculous. It sounds like I’m lying, or trying to show off. It sounds like we just haven’t hit the hard parts yet. Don’t worry, the world is thinking, you’ll get there…Just wait. It’ll come. When you have kids. Then everything will change. When someone’s parent dies. Just from the ceaseless grind of the years passing. It will come.

It has to come, because marriage is hard.

I’m sick of hearing it.

I’m tired of feeling like I must sound fake for being happily married. Like I must not know what I’m talking about.

When I got married, I didn’t want to talk about marriage, because I knew how the conversation would go. It would be about what to expect. How hard it was going to be. Oh no, you’re Jewish and he isn’t? That’s going to be hard…that’s going to be a disaster…

There are infinite ways for things to turn into a disaster at any moment, but my relationship with Bear has always felt delightfully safe. It has its challenges, of course, like dealing with his illness, and sometimes getting too distracted by my work to listen to what he’s saying. But I never expected it not to have challenges. I didn’t think there would be a white horse, but I did fully believe that we were capable of loving each other enormously for a very long time. I believe that now.

Some of the experts say that the first year of marriage is supposed to be the hardest. Some of them say it’s still a part of the delusional “honeymoon” phase. So it’s hard to tell if we’ve actually reached any milestones yet.

And as far as I can see, it’ll always be hard to tell, because the research says marriages tend to fall apart after two years, and after five years, and definitely after seven years, and when there’s a new kid, and when the kids go to college, and when you’re eating breakfast, and if you get a dog, and if you have slightly different sleep schedules, and if you ever thought for a second that you were going to be happy.

So I’ve decided not to listen. Instead, I’m going to keep being happy about Bear and our marriage, like a little dork who doesn’t know what’s gonna hit her, and I will just keep on doing that for as long as I possibly can, which might just turn out to be—wait for it and roll your eyes–  forever.

(anyway, i like doritos...)

*   *   *

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in a striped t-shirt. Like a boy. But a cute one.

82 Comments »

Kate on October 3rd 2012 in being different, marriage, relationships

82 Responses to “please stop telling me that marriage is really, really hard”

  1. Liz responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 1:16 pm #

    Damn it, I love Doritos. I have no self control around them.

    On a more serious note (although I believe Doritos should not be taken lightly), I’m happily married. For 3 years. And, yes, it’s been hard at times (but I think a lot of that is just me getting used to a different country and being so far from my family), but… he still gives me butterflys and just thinking about him gets me all hot and bothered.

    We did NOT know each other before we were married. We were “a couple” for 2 days when he proposed, and 4 months later, we tied the knot! I think we’ve been lucky that it HAS worked out so well, but I think everyone, EVERYONE is different and thus will have different needs and approaches to love and marriage.

    Be happy, Kate!

  2. justmama responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    “So I’ve decided not to listen. Instead, I’m going to keep being happy about Bear and our marriage, like a little dork who doesn’t know what’s gonna hit her, and I will just keep on doing that for as long as I possibly can, which might just turn out to be—wait for it and roll your eyes– forever.”
    Lovely, Kate, just lovely!
    You’re right not to listen to the naysayers.
    My husband and I just celebrated our 28th anniversary. Although life has indeed thrown us a number of curves over the years that statistically could have made our life together miserable and left us saying “marriage is SO hard!” But, that still hasn’t happened…no cheating or cleavers around here. LOL
    We are best friends,as well as co-workers, enjoying and encouraging each other while occasionally driving the other slightly crazy…but it’s all good.
    The very BEST to you and your Bear!

  3. Sarah S responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 1:20 pm #

    Five years ago I would have been rolling my eyes and knashing my teeth at this post; I was recently divorced, up to my neck in expenses, and quite sure I would never trust a man again (especially as my rebound had just dumped me as well. For a clown. No joke, but that’s another story!). Skip ahead, and I’ve had my share of heartbreak since, dealt with mental health issues (not sure if the chicken or egg came first), and have NOT partnered up for the long haul again. Not that I don’t want to when all parties are ready — I have a long-term LDR at present. In the last five years I’ve learned that what’s right for every individual and every couple varies immensely. Who am I to snark on someone else’s choices that don’t affect me? In short, rather than being cynical, I choose to be genuinely happy for those who haven’t had to go what I experienced. Kate, I’m happy for you and Bear! :)

  4. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    I love this post and your attitude. It isn’t that marriage is hard…it’s that life in general is hard sometimes. If you’re lucky, you are with someone you can share the hard times with in healthy ways…which requires a lot of humor, which you seem to be in great possession of :)

  5. SJZ responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Hmmm… married for two years and no children….interesting

  6. SJZ responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    When children come into the marriage it is much harder…….

  7. brenda responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Yes! I’ve been married for nearly 18 years and I don’t find it hard either. It’s great to always have someone on my team. And when we expanded our team with children, it only strengthened the marriage.

  8. Maja H responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    “We just get along really well, I guess. He’s really nice to me. I try to be nice to him back. We tell each other how much we love each other a lot. Like, all the time. It just comes out. I like his shoulders. I like his face. I cry when I think about something bad happening to him. I am constantly grateful to myself for having the sense to marry him. I am constantly grateful to him for marrying me.”

    I love this. This is exactly what I have. We’re not married, but we’ve been a couple for 11 years (since we were 16) and have been through financial problems, depression, the new dog, moving, terrible landlords, deaths and we’re still in that good place. Not all the time of course, there have been both small bumps and big bumps in the road, but I would never even consider anyone else than him. He’s that imperfect kind of perfect, the best kind.

    It is the kids that scare me, though. People have never really given me horror stories about marriage, but I feel like I have been hearing horror stories about having children ever since I was one myself. The thought terrifies me! Add the fact that I am not even sure if I want kids, and the constant reminders from family and society in general that I really should start producin’ them babies real soon? Ugh, what a headache. We pretend like the kids/no kids question is a potato/potato (I hope you read that with different accent in your head!) issue, but I feel like all I ever hear is that if you don’t get kids then your man will leave you for being a selfish shrew and you will die alone and surrounded by cats. Hah, talk about derailing your blog post!

    Short version: I agree and we’re lucky to have awesome men and ugh, baby-panic!

  9. Liz responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    You know I totally feel this one. I feel incredibly blessed that my marriage and relationship with my husband has made things ~easier~, not harder. Life is difficult, but marrying my best friend is what makes it worth it. I also have to admit that I can relate to that castle picture, and it is what it looks like in my head ;)

  10. Katrina Blanchalle responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I think people just feel like they have to share “wisdom”. I had one 13-year relationship that was hellishly bad, and have had one 16-year relationship that is incredibly excellent. Both times, helpful people have nearly driven me nuts with their concerns and warnings and advice.
    Ignoring them is the best way to go.

  11. Amanda responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Cool Ranch Doritos are my crack. Forget the cake (I baked and ate large portions of 3 just over a week ago and forgot to take a picture, dagnabbit!), pass the bag my way…

    I think “hard” is all a matter of perspective. My marriage to my husband is gloriously easy and happy. We’ve been married three years, and between the two of us we have five children. His are 18+ and are in college, mine are 9 and 13. Theoretically we should be ripping our hair out and yet everything is so disgustingly relaxed and happy that sometimes the little defeatist part of me sits around in the corner waiting for a shoe to drop.

    My first two marriages, on the other hand (yes, two) were anything but easy. I married very difficult men — difficult past the point of reason — twice, which also says something about me. And don’t think I didn’t consider that when I got involved with #3, because believe me I was determined not to get involved. I wasn’t very good at picking husbands, and had the track record to prove it.

    But it appears I learned from my mistakes. I took my time. I set firm boundaries. And my now-husband respected every one of them. In turn, he set his own boundaries, and I respected those.

    It’s how our marriage has continued. We care about each other, we’re insanely happy together, we both go out of our way to do things for each other, we communicate well, and we respect each other to no end. So self-sacrifice and compromise? Absolutely. But that’s no nightmare. It’s rather nice, actually, when it’s mutual.

    In the end I figure we’ve got to be doing something right because the kids make gagging noises when they think we can’t hear them. That alone is priceless ;)

  12. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    @Amanda
    I have also been in relationships that were hard. Relationships that were so hard I stopped eating, but stayed anyway. Relationships that made me feel like everything was a problem that needed to be solved.
    But relationships are all different– they don’t all involve horrible angst. Some people just get along better than others. Some people are abusive. Some people are not. I’m so glad that you took your time and set boundaries and built a relationship on respect and happiness. Those things work together well!

  13. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    @Maja
    Yes! Kids are the other thing that people tell many many horror stories about. I’m always wanting to write that post, but now I can’t, because I wrote this one.

  14. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    @SJZ
    Exactly. That’s exactly the way I expect people to react.

  15. Jessica responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Yes! My husband and I have been married for over 10 years, have four kids, and we’re closer now than we’ve ever been. We also didn’t think much about it before we did it, following pretty much the same schedule as you guys. I actually had someone ask me a few days after the wedding if we were divorced yet (wink, Wink, how hilarious!) .I laughed awkwardly, but inside was like, “What the fuck, dude?!” We also tell each other how much we love each other all the time, tell each other that they’re our best friend, and talk about everything.There have been challenges, but there would be anyway in life, right? We make all our decisions together and so neither one of us lets the other feels solely responsible for any shitty decision we’ve made (which happens).Sounds like you guys are doing awesome!

  16. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    @Jessica
    YAY! I LOVE your story. I love hearing about the couples who are happy together (especially after having kids and being together a while). They exist! It’s real!

  17. Melanie responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    I never understood the “marriage is hard” stuff either. Everything is hard. Having great friendships is hard. Having any relationship has its ups and downs. Love to me is really easy. I have never wanted to get married or have a live in partner, but I would NEVER tell my married friends it’s a trap or something bad. It’s just not for me. I am currently doing the polyamorous thing and people also are like, “Good god! Isn’t that super difficult?” But for me it’s not. It’s easier than any monogamous relationship I’ve ever been in, and I’m truly happy.

    I think people just assign “that’s difficult” to stuff they don’t understand necessarily. Life can be hard sometimes in all respects. And sometimes you realize that any effort you have to put in is totally worth it for the benefits you get out of those efforts.

  18. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    @Melanie
    Good point. Everything is hard, in its way.
    My marriage feels like the easiest thing in my life right now– there are plenty of other things that are driving me crazy. Maybe at some point things will switch around, but I don’t think the nature of marriage is that it will be the hardest thing in your life.

  19. teegan responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    my husband was married for seven years before he divorced her and we met. the only reason he held on that long was because of how many people told him ‘marriage is WORK!’ which made him think everyone was struggling as much as he was. finally, he allowed himself to recognize that ‘forgiveness’ and ‘compromise’ weren’t about being okay when she pawned his stuff, didn’t support him emotionally, got credit cards in his grandmother’s name, etc.

    we have the same story (i think i’ve told you) as you and bear – engaged six months after meeting, married a year after meeting, celebrated our 2nd anniversary in august. and it is still goofy and comfortable and wonderful and sweet and romantic.

    as of nine days ago, there are three of us. for a week, he was on paternity leave and it was absolutely heavenly awesome to hang out as a family. he went back to teaching yesterday, and will it take some adjusting before he gets used to seeing the kid for only a few waking hours a weekday while i’m here 100% of the time? will it take a while before he doesn’t get a little jealous that it’s easier for me to soothe the kid because he loves ‘me’ (i.e. my boobs) more than he does mark at the moment? will it be much easier when i have the go-ahead to go up and down the stairs as often as i want and walk the dog for more than a few blocks and carry laundry up from the basement? will we face innumerable obstacles in the coming decades? you bet.
    but he’s my person. and i can’t imagine a better one, bff or husband or anyone, to face it all with.

  20. Emily responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    Maybe it becomes hard because people try to mash their partners/spouses into the molds of what they want them to be, e.g. “my soul mate will meet every single need I ever have and I won’t have to explain anything or be patient or make any compromises and I won’t have to work hard to be nice when I’m tired or cranky”, etc. when the reality is that no one is going to fit into a mold of perfection… I don’t know. I don’t think marriage is any “harder” than any other relationship that is very important to one’s life. Life is hard. Life sucks a lot sometimes. But without the suckiness we’d never appreciate the good times… that is how I get myself through tough breakups. Maybe the people who are all “BLLERRGGG this marriage thing BLOWS and no one warned me!!!” just need empathy more than anything… empathy for when you have expectations that are not fulfilled.

  21. Amanda responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    @Kate, yes, those kind of relationships exactly! Only rather than stop eating, I ate more than usual because my stomach felt sick all the time and food settled it, to a degree.

    And I think you and Bear are going to be just fine. Like I said, definitions of “hard” are subjective, and as you pointed out, relationships are all different and not all involve horrible angst. We’ve seen the bad. And although a large part of me wishes I hadn’t, I do know that seeing the bad has helped me to appreciate the good in a way I might not have had I not had the negative experiences.

    My parents have been married for 45 years to the good, though… and have made us gag on occasion as well :) So there’s good anecdotal evidence that plunging through the fire isn’t necessary for appreciating a great relationship!

  22. Corinne responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    Hear’s to not listening to what everyone else has to say about marriage. I’m happily married….and for 10 years now. Everything is what you make of it……and it sounds like your doing just fine.

  23. Sokky responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:05 pm #

    This post (like all your posts) was awesome. And so timely! I am in a similar situation with my husband. Engaged after a few months, married just after a year of being together. And it’s lovely and wonderful, and I am so happy! And yet part of me is still secretly waiting for it to get really hard.
    But we have made it through some difficult things together – finalising of a divorce with a less than delightful ex, the fact that he has two kids, moving to a new place where we know no one… And these things were hard, but the marriage/relationship wasn’t, and isn’t at all.
    I guess ‘easy’ relationships don’t make such exciting TV? *ominous music* “At first it seemed like a fairytale romance! BUT THEN…it was still pretty great!”
    Thanks Kate, and all the commenters who have told their happy stories! It does happen, and I will take heart and stop expecting it to get hard!

  24. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    @teegan
    AAAAHHHH!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! I’m so excited for you!!!!!!

  25. Mick Rea responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    Such a nice post! I got married this year after 12 years together, seven years living together. Obviously it’s not been plain sailing everyday, but it’s been the other things in life that are hard and it’s our relationship that’s made things easier. Being with the one you love should be the easiest, most straightforward part of your life.

    One word of caution though, I’ve been with my partner since I was 18 and I wouldn’t feel comfortable discussing how easy my relationship is to others-I would worry I sounded a big smug. I’d keep my eye out for the cynics around you who are rolling their eyes at saying it’s easy with someone you’ve known for only three years-it really should be after such a relatively short time?

  26. Lisa responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    Marriage is hard when people don’t have good ways of being in relationships…when they use defensiveness, criticism, contempt and stonewalling (to quote Gottman) as regular tools. When they blame the other person for their disappointments. I’m married 9 years with 2 kids to a great man. Got engaged 7 months after meeting, and married 7 months after that. Had our first baby 11 months later (spent the vast majority of our first year of marriage throwing up). Life has been at times incredibly sucky and difficult, and at times wonderful, yet having him by my side and laughing through the hard times when we can (and holding each other crying when we can’t) has made the journey exactly where I want to be. Believe in happy marriages–they do exist!

  27. Kristin responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    I just have to give a shout out from the married with kids camp – it’s the best! We’ve got a little girl and one on the way, and it honestly just keeps getting better.

    Having a baby does awesome things to a marriage, or at least, it can. We had a great marriage before our baby (lots of love and laughter, just like you’ve described), but now there’s even more to love and laugh about. You keep all of the things you already love about your marriage, and you gain the opportunity to see each other in all of these cool new ways that you didn’t even have the chance to be before.

    One toddler and one on the way, and we’ve never been happier.

  28. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    @Kristin
    This is totally making my day

  29. Erin responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I think the best thing hubby and I did was be friends before dating. 2 years besties + 6 years dating + 1 year engagement + 1 year anniversary this past July! And we’re still SO happy and can’t wait to someday start a family. I look at friends of ours whose relationships aren’t the best.. and I don’t understand it. They’re not honest with each other. ISn’t that one of the basics of marriage? It confuses me. People ask us “is it different being married?” and honestly it’s much the same as before. Still happy and in love, and it’ll stay that way as long as I can see it. :)

  30. Alpana Trivedi responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Hello, Kate. Well, I’ll say this. I get tired of hearing people talk about “the real world” and “how hard it is to get a break.” I mean, all these cliched statements have SOME kernel of truth in them, but they are blown way out of proportion. I mean, the only reason there is ebb and flow in marriage is because there is ebb and flow in LIFE. But I get tired of folks who talk about everything as if it’s just bleak, bleak, bleak and that life is hard.

    I’ve just stopped listening to naysayers. There are opinions that exists among polar opposites. I just take what works for me and flip a bird to the rest.

  31. Kristin responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    @Kate – Good! It’s about time I return the favor – I love reading your blog (in fact, I usually read it with the above-mentioned awesome husband). When I first stumbled on your blog (through your great post about “you’re probably not a good enough feminist”), I turned to my husband and said, “Um, I think I just found my Jewish alter-ego.” Your articles feel like someone has gone into my brain, transcribed what’s there, and then re-written it so that it actually makes sense.

    I love every post, but my favorites are your post on the girl someone should write a book about, “Putting down the gun” (which is pretty much the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read), the natalie portman post, and anytime you give us small-chested women a shout-out. A-cups unite!

  32. ashley responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    i’m sure there will be some bumps ahead..but so far my marriage has been pretty smooth too..joe & i were together for 4 years & got married this year in may…we also have a pretty decent age difference, hes 31 & i’m 23..which a lot of our friends said was too much..but we clicked & complete each other in a way neither of us had really thought was possible & both agreed that it must be love :]
    my take on it is, marriage is easy when you marry your best friend.

  33. Maja H responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    @Kate No no, please write the baby post too! I would love to read it!

    @Kristin Your comment is making me go “Phew!” right now, FYI ;)

  34. Erika responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 4:43 pm #

    I’ve also been married 10+ years and have two kids. I would also say my marriage has been “easy” and am often at a loss when in conversation with others who describe their fights and frustrations.

    My relationship is different though – my husband doesn’t talk a lot and even after 10 years there are things about him I don’t know, and he about me. We have gone through rough patches with our kids, disagreeing on what to do, but through all of that we’ve both had a “we’re in this together” attitude and we work it out.

    Recently, I’ve had some serious body image issues and have been seeing a therapist (I found your blog when researching this). It’s unbelievable how close I feel to my husband now. I always knew he was kind, but there are issues I’ve never mentioned to him and wanted to keep hidden to keep me and our marriage “perfect.” I’ve been so happy to find that he accepts all of me and my flaws, and we’ve recently had kind of a renaissance.

    So things can change in a marriage over time, but I never imagined after 10 years I’d be in love all over again.

  35. MrsSmith responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    My babies have all made me fall even more in love with my husband. Watching him be a father, even when he isn’t doing a great job (because he knows it and tries to do better), makes me love and like him more.

    I have three girls and I love seeing him in them. I love watching how they adore him. I like when he notices things about them that are like me. I like how it makes his relationship with my parents even better.

    So, I will certainly acknowledge that having children makes the logistics of day to day life harder, I don’t think I’d say it makes marriage harder. It makes it even more special, in my opinion.

  36. Janet T responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    We have been married over 28 years now; we were married a year and a day after our first date. Throw in 2 kids, numerous pets, 7 moves, 3 kitchen remodels, several jobs and now we own/run a business so we are together something like 24 hours a day.
    Honestly? I wouldn’t have it any other way- yes, we love each other, but more importantly we really like each other a lot.

    There is not another soul on this earth that I would rather be with, hang out with, drink wine with, watch TV with, go on walks with, sleep with and make love with. He understands me in ways I don’t even understand myself.
    Has it been hard? No, mostly effortless….I put his happiness above my own, and he puts my happiness above his own. It is not always equal, sometimes I am selfish, sometimes he is- but those are not the times we focus on.
    Adding kids to our lives was interesting, but we stayed a united front and stayed focused on our marriage knowing that staying together happily was the ultimate gesture of love for our kids, and that one day they would leave to start lives on their own and we wouldn’t ever look at each other and not know who the other one was.
    I’ve never bought the “marriage is hard” line, and neither do most of my friends. Life can be hard, but if you have a partner you really love/like, it makes the journey far more enjoyable.

  37. ChachiCat responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    My hubby, E, and I have been married for 3 years, were together for 5 years before that, and dated for 3 years back in high school (so we’ve known each other for 21 years). We still giggle at each other about how “they” let us play house and oh boy are we pulling one over on “them.”

    Maybe it’s the fact that this is my 2nd marriage. I was with my ex for 7 years in total and oh boy, did I feel all 7 of those years. With E, I can’t believe it’s been as long as it has because being with him is just timeless. It’s both like we have always been together and like we just got together at the same time.

    We did spend time in therapy. We did it so we could learn how to talk to each other better and actually hear what the other was saying. We did this before we got hitched. I think it was one of the best things we ever did.

    Is being married to E hard? Not really. He has his moments where he annoys me and I have my moments when I drive him mad. But I think that is called being human. The fear of abandonment we had both felt in other relationships just doesn’t exist now (therapy had a lot to do with killing that demon). Realizing, deep into your bones, that you are safe, that the other person will be there for you no matter what, I think is key. It makes it okay to be human and mess up and be not your best self at times. It means you don’t have to put so much energy into being afraid of that. And that frees up a lot of time and energy to just enjoy each other and the adventure you are on together. Which is a beautiful thing.

  38. katilda responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 5:22 pm #

    i love this…SO MUCH. i feel like the “marriage is hard” kick is almost trendy to say….like every blog i read by a starry eyed young couple goes from lovely and romantic to a condescending tone of “we got married and are now in a secret club and ohmygosh you have no idea that marriage is hard just you wait….” It’s almost like saying “marriage is sooo hard” is, like i said, trendy. So weird.

  39. Amanda responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    I just found your blog from a link on the Psychology Today website – I love this! My partner and I have been together almost 15 years – since we were 14. We aren’t married… will probably elope to Vegas someday cause we aren’t very traditional ;) We have lived together about 8 years now… I can’t imagine my life without him.

    When people find out how long we have been together, they all have similar reactions of, “Wow, how do you make that work for so long?” I feel similarly to you – it’s really not hard for us but I feel bad saying that for some reason. Like you said, like they won’t believe me or will thinking I’m not being “real” about our “problems.” But in reality, being together is easy for us. We are best friends, he is my partner in this life, we are on the same team. I genuinely like who he is as a person. I respect him and his thoughts, opinions, beliefs, even when they differ from my own. We communicate well together and really understand each other. Do we have arguments? Of course. Have we had tough times? Sure. But our love, respect, and friendship always see us through.

    I agree with what others here have said – I think people try to force themselves into some stereotypical idea of a relationship instead of doing what works for them. I’m lucky I have a true partner – we care for each other and go from there. He cooks, I clean it up. He vacuums, I take out the trash. We have hobbies we enjoy doing together and some we enjoy doing alone. We help each other out when things get busy and stressful in our lives. We are honest with each other and apologize when we are wrong.

    I really enjoyed your post and it was nice to read about others feeling the same as I do because sometimes it feels lonely being the “happy one.” ;)

  40. Brenda responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Girl, two years ain’t shit.

  41. Kate responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    @Brenda
    sigh….should I wait another five or so to count it? Or is that not enough either? Ten? It’s so hard, waiting around to become valid.

  42. MrsSmith responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Maybe it also should be said that not marrying an asshole, or being an asshole yourself adds dramatically to the chances you have of feeling like marriage is work or not.

  43. claire responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    keep enjoying each other, all the other stuff is sour grapes(,better known as envy) crf

  44. Amy S. responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Lovely, lovely post! Very thoughtful and beautiful. I love how often you say what I am feeling in my heart.
    I’ve been married for ten years, and I wouldn’t want to be married to anyone else. We had only known each other for 9 months before we were engaged, and 9 months later, we were married. I was twenty, he was twenty-three, and we moved halfway across the country two days later, from ND to VA. We’ve seen each other through jobs, schools, a child (currently age 3), deaths of both of my parents, marriages of family members, moving, building, and even a foreign exchange student. And though there are definitely times our relationship has been strained, we are committed to one another for the long haul. We work things out. We forgive. We do what needs to be done in order to have a strong, productive relationship. For me, that meant therapy after the death of my parents, because my bursts of anger were something I couldn’t explain, and were hurting our relationship. For him, that meant picking up the slack when I started graduate school, and becoming “house-husband” on his days off so I can work on my schoolwork and further my education. In the end, we’re sticking together, and in the end, we turn to each other for comfort and solace. We’re a team; we’re a family.

  45. Sheryl responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 9:35 pm #

    Being married isn’t hard. LIFE is hard. Sometimes navigating the hard stuff in life isn’t easy, and sure sometimes for some people marriage or relationships are the hard stuff. But the idea that marriage has to be hard? Ridiculous.

  46. em responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 9:47 pm #

    YES Kate you have no idea what challenges may be ahead in life for the two of you, but YES that some people are simply happily married, and yes sometimes it actually does stay easy.

    I got married at age 18, to my 18 year old boyfriend, and neither of us were from families where that was done. It was not received well. I’m Jewish and he’s not. We were assorted and numerous unhappiness and divorce statistics waiting to happen. We have very little “in common” except friendship and whatever mystery LOVE even is when it makes people so happy and just keeps holding them together like yummy frosting.

    We went to university together and into the same professional lives that had been expected we would. We have a family. Marriage is wonderful! and I won’t say crap about it to make anyone happy. :-) We have been married 18 years. As the years pass we seem to meet more and more people like this, who simply have lasting happiness in this life relationship. In our case, LIFE has been hard (a handful of serious life tragedies and heartbreaks) but the part that is him and me has always stayed good.

    (Of course, the next stage to be warned over is where people get divorced after 25 years or so. We personally for our case think that is stupid, for reasons we joke about whenever it comes up.)

    Blessings and best wishes to you and Bear through all your years! :)

  47. The Feminist Grandma responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Life is hard. Marriage, a good one (lots of love, talk, and kindness), can make it a little easier.

  48. Holly responded on 03 Oct 2012 at 11:50 pm #

    Let me say that I love your blog. :) How kind, affirming, and positive it is just brightens up my day.

    And I totally love this post about your marriage! I’m still single, and this gives me hope.
    I think you are absolutely right to just enjoy and celebrate your happiness. My parents have been married for 30 years and they still enjoy the heck out of each other. So just keep having a blast.

    Wishing you all the best!

  49. Nina Potts responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 12:10 am #

    I’ve been with my girlfriend 5 years, we’re not married. We don’t see the point because we live in the US and its not legal everywhere. If it was, we probably would get married. I don’t see any difference in our relationship if we’re married or not. Marriage isn’t hard, relationships are hard. I think there’s just this expectation that after a certain amount of time together you get married, so that makes it seem hard.

    I’m also insulted by the people who say a relationship/marriage isn’t difficult because there aren’t children. Those seem to be the same people who insist everyone wants children and eventually they’ll change their mind. The same people who say marriage is hard work.

    My girlfriend (or partner if you prefer, we don’t care) and I just seem to get along great. We fight once in a while, but there are so many other difficulties, like money, my illnesses, our pets, our families. Our real sanctuary from all of these things is each other. I know no matter how bad I feel, I always feel safer and better when she’s here.

    I’ve lost my point of all this comment… so uh, thats that?

  50. Kande responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 9:59 am #

    Having kids adds a new dimension to a married relationship, but I wouldn’t say it necessarily makes it harder … it is just a new life experience to adapt and adjust around. There is certainly the opportunity for it to make life, and marriage harder – same way any major life event could, such as job loss, unexpected financial stressors, life-altering illnesses …. but like everything, I think it comes down to what the relationship was like to begin with.

    Having kids (or any new stressor) may mean adjusting to lack of sleep, new priorities, unexpected stress – but my marriage wasn’t built on adequate sleep, single-mindedness and zero stress. My marriage was built on mutual love, respect, integrity, honour, patience and hope. Having kids, and every other life event we have experienced, didn’t fracture any of that – the foundation that our marriage was built on.

    After reading your blog and getting a glimpse into who you are, who Bear is, and what your marital foundation is – trust me, you will be fine! Having kids does change your life, but it doesn’t change who you fundamentally are – you have already established that you have a winning blueprint to marriage – and once that is set, having kids will only strengthen it, not weaken it.

  51. Lucy N. responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    FINALLY!!! Someone else agrees with me. Great post!

    My husband and I have been married for over two years. When we were engaged we were told by friends and relatives to get ready because it is hard and in time might even grow to hate each other. Really?!!! What sad existence awaited us? Friends told me that they spent their first years of marriage screaming at each other and then finally just settled down to tolerating one another. They thought we were naive because we looked at each other and smiled thinking, “No, this is going to be great!”

    All the stories sounded horrible! With the warnings and handbooks we were told to read, we hit the mute button on the crowd, looked at each other and set up some fundamental values for our marriage:

    1. Treat each other with respect no matter what.
    2. Do not be afraid to talk to each other difficult subjects.
    3. Drink a beer/glass of wine/margarita together and laugh/talk/have adventures as much as possible.

    We haven’t screamed at each other once and don’t intend to. For us marriage is easy, fun and if people think we are naive fine.

    “Bring me a cold beer my sexy bearded husband and let me tell you the funniest joke I heard today.” ;)

  52. Heather responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    This post made me laugh! Your tone was great!
    “a year later, there you are, worn down on the front stoop, your hair unwashed, eating Doritos by the handful as you stare blankly into space” <—-HAHAHA

  53. Kate responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    @Heather
    Thank you!!! I love this compliment!!

  54. Allyson responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    I love this post! My husband and I have been married almost three years, and it seems to keep getting better and better. I think our relationship moved faster than I normally would have been comfortable with, because we met in grad school, and I knew I’d be moving across the country about a year later, so we had to decide fairly quickly whether he should focus his job search in the city I was moving to. He did end up moving with me, and we got engaged six months later, married a year after that.

    I’ve also found marriage to be way easier than I anticipated. We’ve sometimes wondered if we just got really lucky though. Looking back at who we were when we met, when we decided to move in together, when we moved across the country together, stopped being full-time students and had to join the real world, even when we got married-we’re both completely different people now. I sometimes think we really didn’t know each other that well when we got married and have both changed quite a bit, but we’re fortunate to grown in ways that brought us closer together. No matter how much I grow and change though, the one constant seems to be that my marriage is the easiest part of my life.

    I’m glad to hear that other people have had similar experiences, because I’d much rather think I at least subconsciously knew what I was doing, rather than it just being dumb luck :)

  55. Marie responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 4:48 pm #

    Kate – I LOVE you and Bear’s story so much and and it gives me so much hope despite going through a separation and heading toward divorce after being married for only a year. I grew up around hard marriages – my parents divorced when i was 5, my dad had been divorced once before that, my paternal grandparents were divorced, and my maternal grandparents paid a divorce lawyer twice but never actually went through with it and were miserable around each other. When I married I thought (HOPED) it was going to be surprisingly easy – living together had been easy enough. Hearing things like this gives me hope that I will find the right person and will want to get married again someday and it will be just as easy. :)

  56. morgaine responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    “And as far as I can see, it’ll always be hard to tell, because the research says marriages tend to fall apart after two years, and after five years, and definitely after seven years, and when there’s a new kid, and when the kids go to college, and when you’re eating breakfast, and if you get a dog, and if you have slightly different sleep schedules, and if you ever thought for a second that you were going to be happy.”

    Amen to this. Perfectly phrased. I have lived most of my life under the gnawing feeling that happiness is inherently temporary, that it’s against the natural order of things, that I’ll soon lapse back into discontent. That happy relationships are, by definition, flukes.

    Recently, I stopped believing in fate, and it feels amazing. I create my life and my relationships. I am not at the mercy of some tide of despair that will sweep in and knock contentment from under my feet. I am never doomed. Yeah, there are circumstances beyond my control, but ultimately I can choose to crawl out from under the fear and wring as much pleasure from life as I can.

  57. Elena responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 years.
    We’ve been living together for a year now… and it was the most beautiful period of my life. We’ve been even happier than when we kissed the first time.
    People go nuts if you tell them you’re happy.
    And I totally drive them crazy when tell them I love my job.
    They roll their eyes and start shouting “If you love your job, you’re not working enough!”.

    Dear Kate… hard times will probably come, but why bother now?
    There’s a little bit of “scaramanzia”, Italian word for “rite that avoids bad luck”.
    People here in Italy thinks that saying that you’re happy will bring you bad luck, even that being happy brings bad luck (no, Italians aren’t always so easygoing as you see them in movies).
    i.e. – Do you still have migraines?
    – No, I’m feeling great.
    – Ssssshh! Don’t tell it aloud!
    Guess it works also outside Italy… even if nothing is wrong, people don’t show happiness, because “hard times” will come. Sure they do. They always do. If they don’t, what are we going to talk about at pity parties?

  58. Beth responded on 04 Oct 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Just keep on ignoring them. My husband and I have been together for 12 years now, and we also work together too. Believe me we had so many people tell us that we’d get divorced or fight all the time when they heard that (with the exception of several other married couples who also worked together), but it hasn’t happened yet. Like many have said, it’s really just that life is hard. I also think that the whole thing of going on and on about how hard marriage is contributes to the problem. Then people in miserable relationships may stay in them longer with the idea of ‘marriages are hard’ (yes I have heard this from people in marriages as an excuse for why they are miserable all the time and hate their spouse). There are lots of happy married people out there, but a headline like that hardly sells books, videos, or magazines. :)

  59. sami responded on 05 Oct 2012 at 8:54 am #

    I’ve been with the boyfriend for 2 years so far (no marriage on the cards but no biggie) and we are so goddamn happy it’s disgusting. We don’t fight. There’s the occasional bit of snippy attitude but it’s followed by an immediate apology. If we have any actual issues we talk about them. Like grown ups. it’s amazing. Shit gets worked out. Magical!!

    Even without the marriage part there’s so much doom and gloom about it all- mostly for the poor boy. So many people ask him and I why I haven’t ‘put my foot down’ about him having a beard- apparently I should prefer him without one? They’re always so surprised when I say I like the beard. And that even if I didn’t it’s no business of mine what he does with his own face. That is just one small example.

    Anyway we made a pact long ago to stay in the honeymoon period. Whether we are doing it consciously or not, it’s working. We still are. Forever! ;)

  60. Emmi responded on 05 Oct 2012 at 12:57 pm #

    YES. Oh yes, all of this!

    My husband and I are ridiculously, excessively, disgustingly adorable in our happiness. Every day I feel that special thrill, the one I thought only happened in the early parts of exciting relationships. We have a great partnership.

    Not that we haven’t been through our tough times. We’ll have been together 10 years come February, and we broke up twice and had two other really difficult patches. But all that happened in the first 4 years, and then we seemed to hammer out our difficulties. We’ve been married now for three and a half years and it’s great, and easy – largely, I think, because we put the work in at the beginning. Not that it needs to be that way for everyone, but it was what we needed.

    But you’re right – I find myself shying away from gushing about how wonderful my marriage is, how ecstatically happy he makes me, how every day we seem to get happier. Because people generally won’t believe it, thinking we’re trying desperately to cover up some deep rooted unhappiness, because marriage is SO HARD. But how do you protest – NO, that is not the case! – without sounding like you are protesting too much? Every day I think how even if we lived another 100 years, I would never have enough time with him. Even writing it here, and meaning it completely, I feel foolish. People are going to go all, EEW how sappy and ridiculous!

    So I try not to slobber the happy too much, and just focus every day on being grateful and aware.

  61. Gaby responded on 05 Oct 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Wow, I forgot how quickly things had evolved with you and Bear! But thank you for reminding me and for posting this. It’s reassuring. I feel ridiculously happy with my guy right now and it’s been 3-4 months. I know it’s a “honeymoon” I know things can go wrong, I know I might get over it or he might or we might not be compatible after all even though he’s like me in gorgeous man form. I roll my eyes when he says he can’t see us ever fighting about anything big or that no matter what happens he won’t turn around and walk away from me, etc etc. But I kind of want to believe him, and I want to believe I’m falling in love and that it just might work and turn out the way your relationship did. It would be crazy, but I can see myself jumping head first into this and having it work out perfectly.
    So thanks for sharing and making me feel a little bit less naive when I believe this guy could be totally falling in love with me and that I can trust him for the long haul :)

  62. Charise responded on 05 Oct 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    To me, marriage isn’t hard. It takes WORK sometimes, but it’s not HARD. But what relationship doesn’t take some effort – those with your family, friends, coworkers, etc.? Anytime you have people interacting, there’s different opinions, personalities, needs and desires, flaws, etc., that come into play. There’s bound to be an issue at some point.

    And sometimes, it’s LIFE that is hard, not marriage. Many of the bumps you come across while married could happen while not married. And to me, in those cases, being married helps, because it’s someone to share the burden, support you, etc.

    Sometimes, I wish it were easier (as a society, culture, or heck, just in my social circles) to portray marriage as something other than hard and unpleasant or easy and perfect – it seems to be so black and white, when there’s lots of gray.

  63. Aurora responded on 05 Oct 2012 at 3:37 pm #

    I hate it when people tell me that the “passion” part of love dies out really quickly. The old six-month rule — that it takes six months before you can really see the flaws in a person or relationship, because before that you’re super blinded by hormones and infatuation.

    I don’t *get* the infatuation phase. Or if I get it, it also overlaps with love. I can have passion and love. People talk about this like it’s like having your cake and eating it too, but it’s not. It’s having two cakes, and one of them is a lovely sloppy chocolate mess that you want to chow on like a dog tearing apart a steak, and the other is an elegant white-fondant confection that is so rich you can only eat a little bit and it lasts for ages, but really, that chocolate cake just keeps on being there, every day, and I keep noshing on it, every day. They’re both wonderful in two different ways, and you don’t have to throw one out to have the other. I’m tired of love being described as some kind of quiet, calm, boring thing, and passion as a transient, fleeting thing that inevitably dies early on in your relationship — before most people will even get *married.*

  64. cassey responded on 07 Oct 2012 at 8:21 am #

    i just want to share my experience and testimony here.. i was married for 6 years to my husband and all of a sudden, another woman came into the picture.. he started hailing me and he was abusive..but i still loved him with all my heart and wanted him at all cost…then he filed for divorce..my whole life was turning apart and i didn’t know what to do..he moved out of the house and abandoned the kids.. so someone told me about trying spiritual means to get my husband back and introduced me to a spell caster…so i decided to try it reluctantly..although i didn’t believe in all those things… then when he did the special prayers and spell, after 2days, my husband came back and was pleading..he had realized his mistakes..i just couldn’t believe it.. anyways we are back together now and we are happy..in case anyone needs this man, his email address templeofsolution@yahoo.com his spells is for a better life. again his email is templeofsolution@yahoo.com

  65. Jeanne responded on 08 Oct 2012 at 9:08 am #

    I’m so thankful you wrote this! My husband and I married after knowing each other less than a year. All we heard was “Wait until you’ve been married a few years!” He was and has been my best friend every single day of the 15 years we have been married. We have gone through things together but I would never say it has been “hard” to be married to him.

    Keep up the awesome work and know you are an inspiration.

  66. Shannon responded on 09 Oct 2012 at 6:51 am #

    Hear, hear!

    I’ve been married for a year and lived with my husband for three years before that. We are both extremely happy with each other. And the marriage is wonderful at helping us weather shit life occasionally throws at us.

    I feel if a marriage is miserable, it is time to consider a divorce (perhaps after counselling depending on what the problems are).

  67. Molly responded on 09 Oct 2012 at 4:45 pm #

    Kate, when you write wonderful things like this, it just makes me want to be like you when I grow up EVEN MORE.

  68. Patty O responded on 11 Oct 2012 at 8:58 am #

    Read this on Huffpost–loved it. After 32 years of marriage I can tell you this: it isn’t marriage that’s hard (although, of course it is); life is hard. Marriage, if you’re lucky, (and honest) is salvation from going it alone in a very tough world. My best to you and Bear as you make your way.

  69. Bev. Cooke responded on 12 Oct 2012 at 8:01 pm #

    Kate, I read the piece in HuffPost. You have an unstable diabetic husband and you say this? (ie. physically unstable – not mentally!) You’re amazing. Really. Two years isn’t long, but you’re facing issues and problems that most of us won’t have to ever look at or deal with. Yeah, maybe you were prepared too much in the other direction, and I can promise there will be challenges and issues that will test both your resolves and commitments, but if you have this attitude now, I suspect you’re going to come through with an intact marriage and a deep, lasting joy in each other because what the problems will do is make the two of you move closer once they’ve been sorted out. See, that’s what people don’t tell you – if you can work through the stuff that comes up, it can deepen your love,respect and appreciation for each other, and build tolerances and gratitude that bind you even more closely. I’ve been married for 30 years, and a lot of it was gorgeous and fun and flying high in the sky – but some of it was damned hard work and just barely hanging on by the finger tips. And we’re not emotionally disabled, and he has all his fingers (!) and we have something very special that has taken every single moment of all 30 years and every single laugh and every moment of joy as well as every single tear and each yell and all of the silent disdain to build. I truly hope you have the same success we did, and that you both love each other in 30 years as much as my husband and I do.

  70. Anna responded on 16 Oct 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    I love this post! I got married within 6 months of meeting my husband. I’d use the word soulmate here, but I don’t wanna make anyone gag. EVERYONE went out of their way to tell us how hard it would be…blah…blah…blah, my best friends refused to give me a hen do, they threw me a YOU.WILL.DIE.OF.REGRET party instead!

    yeh, whatever.

    All I know is, love is natural. If you have to ‘work at it’ or ‘work hard at it’ YOURE WITH THE WRONG PERSON!

    I’m so sick of hearing about how hard marriage is. It isn’t hard at all, it’s as natural as breathing. If you’re struggling, you’re with the wrong person and probably wanting them to be something they’re not. There’s a real current obsession with women chasing down ‘The One” and whilst I believe some people do find their soulmates, I think it’s pretty clear by looking around that most people have settled on companionship with occassional bouts of great sex.

    Don’t worry what other people think, if it’s real love, it’ll last and it’ll get better. Marriage is easy.

  71. Eat the Damn Cake » stop judging my diamond ring, I already know I’m a bad rebel responded on 25 Oct 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    [...] am no threat to you, I swear, here in my marital apartment, actually wearing an apron as I cook yet another dinner in which some but not all of the vegetables [...]

  72. Mar responded on 08 Nov 2012 at 10:14 am #

    I actually just found your blog after a friend recommended, so apologies for the late comment! I was married at 21, divorced at 23. And if that wasn’t enough to get everyone examining my choices, four months after my husband moved out, before we were legally divorced, I met someone I’ll call P. I resisted at first because it seemed weird, right? But I just knew. We went on our first date in March. He told me he loved me in April. I legally divorced my first husband in May. P moved in in October. For months, things settled down, they were normal, and I was overwhelmingly happy. Then in July, the year after we met, my mother suddenly died.
    Now, this is why I wanted to comment. You mentioned a parental death in your post as something that may change your relationship. And it does. It changed mine.
    But for the better. After seeing how P stood by me during that awful time, I knew that this was real. Two weeks after my mom’s funeral, we sat on our back porch drinking beer, talking about life. And I proposed to him. Not wanting to confront all of the mother-daughter moments in the wedding planning, and because I’d done it all before and I don’t like planning parties, we got married 12 weeks later. We’ve been married over a year now. He is still the best part of everyday. I still know.

  73. Erin responded on 01 Dec 2012 at 2:08 am #

    It doesn’t feel hard to you because you married the right person. And with the right person who you actually love who actually loves you (but love no matter what, like even when someone gains 20 lbs or suffers postpartum depression or fill in the blank), whatever comes at you might be terribly hard, but marriage is the thing that makes the hard crap easier. The opposite is also true: if you married the wrong person, no matter how wonderful they are, how kind, deserving, gorgeous, etc., somewhere deep you know that, too. And even if external life is relatively easy, it is THEN that marriage is HARD. SO.

  74. Eat the Damn Cake » don’t marry him responded on 19 Dec 2012 at 11:17 am #

    [...] Long-term relationships are absolutely about security and convenience and reassurance and companionate support that will endure because you make it endure. But they can also be about the sheer relief of finding someone you truly desire and respect at the s…. [...]

  75. Ashleigh responded on 09 Jan 2013 at 11:48 pm #

    I first read this on theage.com.au about 2 minutes ago (excuse me for being late!).

    I made me feel so wonderful that I had to navigate to your website and give you kudos!

    You are a brilliant writer, and I love your humour.

    I am not married, so I suppose I am not in any position to make informed comments on the matter – but I wholeheartedly agree with ignoring the ‘studies’ and peoples comments.

    If you have a happy and loving marriage that makes you wake up feeling euphoric everyday then I commend you on that; it doesn’t mean something is going to go wrong!

  76. PointofEden responded on 10 Jan 2013 at 1:32 am #

    Hiya Kate. I read this article on theage.com.au website!

    I’ve been married 6.5 years now and we have a 26 month old, and a 5 month old, and let me tell you, parenting is WAAAY harder than marriage. You can’t negotiate with babies/toddlers, can’t ask them to be quiet, and certainly can’t get them to do the dishes.

    My hubby and I were engaged after being together for 12 months, and married one year later, and some days I’m in awe of the fact that we were 20 and 21 years old then! Perhaps some of the reasons that compelled me to marry him were:
    1) I had not yet decided if I was ever going to be married, or have kids, and being with him changed my mind.
    2) I wanted him in my future, and I wanted to grow old with him, ala Adam Sandler’s song
    3) I figured he was too good to walk away from.

    Sure it’s hard some weeks, months. But Love is a commitment, an active decision. Therefore we can choose to act on that commitment by being kind, loving, responsible and forgiving. I’ll definitely admit it’s harder than I thought it would be, but as we were good friends before, it’s made some of the yucky days (lots of those with babies!) bearable.

    I still think he’s cute, and he still likes to grab my butt. So yeah :)

  77. Bianca responded on 10 Jan 2013 at 5:58 pm #

    I just read this on Daily Life, thank you. Seriously, thank you!

    I got married 8 weeks ago and we were together over 3 years before that. I was excited to get married, elated that I got to make a commitment like marriage with the man I have loved for all these years. But engagement suddenly meant people thought they could say things like ‘just wait’ and ‘things will change, you’ll see’ and ‘marriage is hard’.

    Even since I got married, these comments have not stopped. I hate feeling bad for loving my husband and feeling secure and happy in my relationship. Marriage has been great. I know I’m apparently in the ‘honeymoon phase’ but I love my husband and want to make the choice to love him everyday. I even started a blog about this recently.

    I learnt very early on not to listen to these comments, why would I take that negativity and those expectations into something I want to last forever? Anyway, thank you so much for sharing!

  78. unsol responded on 10 Jan 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Hi Kate. Your article appeared in an online paper we have in NZ – I posted there but realised you were not a NZ author so would actually have no idea how far your article had reached!

    So I offer what is now a very belated response as well, I like you. I like your blog, the way you think, your honesty & I love that you love your marriage & of course your husband. It is good to appreciate what you have got.

    So here goes: I think you raise a good point – far too many people, especially women, have been swept away by the Hollywood & 50 shades of tripe depictions of love, relationships & marriage.

    But to assume that marriage doesn’t require an ongoing effort in terms of communication, affection, trust & commitment is to set yourself up for a big fall.

    My husband & I lived together from about 6 months of dating, engaged after 2 1/2 years & married soon after that (only had a 6 week engagement).

    I have friends who have an almost identical relationship pattern to you (they were engaged after 6 months of first meeting & married by 10 months).

    Both our relationships are now close to 12 years on & both of us are going strong. For me, I cant imagine ever not been married to my husband….and thankfully, vice versa.

    But boy some days are tough – especially when you have to contend serious financial decisions/financial stuff ups, children getting in your ear, in-laws trying to have their 2 cents worth etc…all on top of sheer tiredness with life, commitments & routines. Life can get very busy, complicated & tiring.

    Some days it is really difficult to see the forest for the trees & some days some things can take a few moments to get over.

    Life can be very hard & sometimes it will also expose what is the inevitable differences between you & your spouse….whether you see them now or not.

    But if you are solid, you have the foundations of love, friendship, intimacy, communication, companionship & a shared outlook in terms of goals, values etc you do & should always find your way through.

    Because love & marriage is definitely no fairytale – some days it is a conscious choice to stay in it, hold tight together & wait for a storm….or strong gale force wind to pass.

    That is what people mean when they say marriage is tough & the ones who fail are the ones I think who either werent in it for the right reasons, had delusional ideas on what marriage & love is meant to be or just got complacent. They forgot to keep investing…..and like the say, those who play together stay together.

    You claim that marriage is easy based on the 3 years you have been together since first meeting. And that is fantastic – the first 3 years should be easy as you are still in the honeymoon period.

    But you cant ever take the love you have now for granted. It is a daily investment & a daily choice as human emotions are fickle & vulnerable.

    Making a marriage last is very simple & yes marriage in itself is very easy, but first you have to have married the right person & you have to understand what marriage is…..what is means to you & your spouse.

    It is much more than merely falling in love (which any fool can do – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin).

    So all the best – stay thankful, share a giggle & a cuddle each day & most of all just enjoy each other….may your 2 years married multiple by the 10s!

  79. Robin responded on 14 Jan 2013 at 11:43 am #

    I agree 100% with the unsol (the previous commenter).

    Three years in to a relationship, you haven’t yet been subjected to the real work it takes to stay married for many years. You are definitely still in the honeymoon phase, and I want you to soak up and enjoy all the love and passion and ease you feel right now, because it will serve as a reservoir of strength when things get tough later on.

    The reason everyone says marriage is really, really hard is because it’s the truth. It is REALLY hard. I have been married for almost 10 years, with my husband for 13. Three years in I thought marriage was easy, too. For five years, my husband and I naively floated along in our “easy” marriage – never arguing, getting along great, and taking our love (and each other) for granted. I figured we had broken the code, we beat the system, WE were extra-special because we were having such an easy time of it. We also expended a lot of energy making each other happy and comfortable, which after a time becomes dysfunction. Then the brain chemicals that make you feel passion for one another go away. Sometimes the chemicals that make you feel attached at all go away, and you have to dig really deep and get down to the bare metal to find something worth saving. We got to the point in marriage where most people our age give up and get divorced. We became stronger and better individuals by working on staying together. This is the beauty of marriage – it forces you to be a better person. And nothing prepares you for marriage except being married. If everyone knew how hard it really was at the beginning, NO ONE would do it. Honestly.

    Things got pretty miserable for me and my husband a couple years ago, and I nearly moved out. We went through counseling, we wept, we considered divorce, and there were times I literally felt so miserable I wanted to die. Instead of feeling the “7-year itch”, I felt what I called the “7-year primal scream”. But here we are, still married, happy together, and more solid than ever in our new grown-up relationship free of the myths and fantasies of what everyone thinks marriage “should” be. We’ll be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary this year.

    Hey, maybe you will be one of the lucky ones. Maybe you’ll be like the commenter that has been married for 18 years and also thinks marriage is easy. But I think those relationships are about 1 in 1,000, maybe 1 in 10,000. For us mortals, we have to weather dark storms, identity crises, feeling trapped, and longing for someone new. Sometimes marriage REALLY sucks because sometimes life sucks, but that’s ok. The love you dig in deep to find with the spouse you fight to keep is transformative. My heart is at peace. And that had to come with a Hell of a lot of work. It probably will for you too, but not just yet.

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  81. kathy responded on 01 Feb 2014 at 8:21 am #

    DON’T SETTLE FOR A COMFORTABLE EXISTENCE. I have experienced both kinds of marriages. I married young and stayed in the first one for years and years because “life is hard and marriage is hard, really really hard.” I was PROUD to be still married free of the myths and fantasies of what everyone thinks marriage “should” be. We went through raising three children, deaths of a child and our parents,career changes,financial struggles, moving several times, and marriage counseling too. But in reality, we were just two strong people WHO KNEW HOW TO SURVIVE through life. Then one day, I got up and walked out of that existence (SHAM) of a marriage, because I realized (they call it mid-life crisis) that l had wasted my entire life in a marriage that was “happy.” I found the right person and have been together for over ten years. Yes, we are each other’s “love of a lifetime” and life is good, really really good! We laugh every day and genuinely smile at each other. We love each other for our quirks…not in spite of them. And in case you’re wondering…life has been no rose garden, financially, emotionally with kids, family, and both our divorces from ex-spouses. But those are life’s struggles. We, however, are crazy about each other! Fireworks!

  82. HMBT: Not that hard | Nashville Marriage Studio responded on 06 Jun 2014 at 11:40 pm #

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