Marriage is difficult. We all know it. We all see it. And yet for some reason we choose to ignore it. I mean, people will say things like, "Marriage is tough!" But that is always quickly followed by, "But sooo worth it." Or something to that extent. When it comes down to it though, we don't really want to believe that marriage is difficult. When it gets too hard, we decide there is something wrong. Most people choose one of two things: to end it, or to "put up" with it. From what I've seen in my life, few people actually push through and truly change it.
Let me pause here for a second and clarify. This is not a judgment piece. I have only been married a little over 6 years, and while we have been through a lot, I'm not about to pretend my husband and I have conquered all hardships, and I'm not about to pass judgment or pretend I know some generalized answer to all marital issues.
Marriage is difficult. Living with another person day in and day out. As much as you love them, you are different and you're not going to see eye to eye on everything (sometimes it may feel like you don't see eye to eye on anything). You're going to feel like you are right about 98.9% of the time. And your spouse will feel the same. This is difficult.
I think the majority of people have this image of marriage that portrays a perfect relationship. One that completes, enriches, and empowers. One that fills your needs (and so of course you automatically fill your spouses needs as well, of course). That's how human relationships work, right? You may snicker to yourself when you read that, because you know better. But when it comes down to it, and it doesn't look like that, isn't your first instinct that it's not right? That maybe it won't last? That maybe it should end?
Marriage is the perfect example of all that is hard about human relationships. Because you can't just walk away. Even ended marriages are a part of you forever (all relationships are, but an ended marriage, whether "good" or "bad," seems to be particularly scarring). Relationships are binding, and while many have positive aspects that make the negative worthwhile, none are perfect arrangements. No real relationship is easy.
So basically, because we are human (aka freakin' messed up), we're not ever going to find a perfect relationship. I think that's ok. I think we need to change our outlook on marriage (and relationships in general). Instead of viewing it as a tool to achieve self worth, happiness, or purpose, perhaps we should try to view it as what it really is? A partnership. Anyone who has had to work with a partner for any extended period of time knows that at some point or another, one of you is going to be pulling a little extra weight. Encouragement, accountability, and commitment is required to make a partnership work and to accomplish whatever it is you are working for. The best partnerships work because both partners have the same end goal. Whether or not their methods are the same, they are both working toward the same thing. The best partnerships work when each partner uses their particular strengths, admit their weaknesses, and use their differences to work together. We are all headed somewhere with our lives, if we choose to walk with a partner, we have to realize it's not going to be all about ourselves (whether you want to see that as a positive or negative thing is up the individual). A good partnership can make even the hardest task doable. A bad partnership can make even the easiest task impossible.
I'm starting to see that what makes a relationship beautiful is not so much the partners as much as the partnership. And a good partnership takes a lot of hard work. Whether or not it's worth it is entirely up to you.