Far too many singles are out there trying to find their perfect match. We’re told to look for our soul mate, and we’re taught that you’ll just know when you meet them, because all those perfect vibes will be there. But is that relationship advice any good? Is it even accurate?
So why do we continue to look for such a fairy tale relationship? Because let’s be honest…it’s far more romantic to dream of finding that person who will complete your life, rather than to imagine a relationship that involves time, energy, and investment.
But good relationships will always require work.
No one wants to hear that marriage takes work.
In fact, there have been numerous articles trending encouraging us to STOP SAYING that relationships take work. Because it’s discouraging. And scary. And defeating to hear.
But to stop saying that a good marriage takes work, would be to live in a delusion. That’s like saying becoming a doctor, or a teacher, or an Olympian doesn’t require any work. Anything of value takes time, energy, and investment. Any area you want to master, or become an expert requires time, education, and energy.
That’s work. And marriage requires work. If you want to succeed in marriage, there’s no way around it.
I believe that the goal of this type of conversation isn’t to SCARE people away from marriage, but to PREPARE them for what it entails.
A good marriage isn’t about finding the perfect person, it’s about working to create the best relationship you possibly can.
And the process of creating something beautiful, will always take work. Ask any artist. Ask any writer. Ask any musician.
That’s why, when, in a Hollywood culture that tends to portray relationships as over-the-top romantic gestures and passionate one night stands, it was refreshing to see this article floating around by US Magazine where Dax Shepard confessed that marriage takes work. Here’s what he told US Weekly:
“We don’t believe in The One. We don’t believe in the fairytale. We don’t believe that you can meet someone and you have a perfectly matching personalities. We are opposites and it has taken a tremendous amount of work and therapy for us to coexist.”
I’m thankful for this much-needed reality check about relationships, from a couple that’s adored by so many young fans. Because a good marriage takes work. And anyone who tells you otherwise is living a lie.
I’m not saying that marriage is always hard. And I’m not even saying that the work is always hard.
Because so many times, the work of marriage – communication, connection, intimacy – is delightful. But to discount the fact that there is also hard work involved, would be to present a one-sided picture.
A Good Marriage Is Something You Create
To say that marriage doesn’t take work is like saying running a marathon is easy. Who on earth would ever be naive enough to say that? To run a marathon well, you’ve got to do the work. You’ve got to train, to sweat, and to run with discipline – whether you feel like it or not. There might be days when the practice is easy on a beautiful sunny day with a perfect breeze. But there are going to be other days when you don’t feel like running, or training, or practicing. And that’s when the work of running a marathon has to really kick in. That’s when you decide how bad you want this thing, and choose to do the work to get to the goal.
You can only get to the win by doing the work.
Marriage is much the same. To do marriage well, you’ve got to put in the training. You’ve got to communicate, connect, give, forgive, and sacrifice with discipline – whether you feel like it or not. There will be easy days, when the practice is easy and your love is shining bright. But there will also be other days, when you don’t feel like loving, connecting, and forgiving – or even feel like you’ve got nothing left to give. But that’s when the work of marriage really kicks in. That’s when you decide how bad you want this thing, and choose to do the work to get to the goal.
You can only get to the win by doing the work.
And much to people’s surprise, just because you are a Christian, doesn’t mean you’re automatically going to be good at marriage. You have to work at it just like anyone else. “Happily Ever After” is a path you have to forge, not a road you accidentally stumble upon.
As Dax later went on to say, “[Relationships] are labor intensive. If you want them to last they are labor intensive.”
So many times marriage is good work.
And often, marriage is hard work.
But if you’re expecting anything less than that, than you might not be ready for marriage. And I won’t apologize saying that.
To start learning what you need to know about the intentional work of creating a great marriage, check out Choosing Marriage.
DEBRA FILETA is a Licensed Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of Choosing Marriage and True Love Dates, and Love In Every Season. She’s also the host of the hotline style Love + Relationships Podcast. Her popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions of people with the message of healthy relationships. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twi
BOOKS BY DEBRA
Get busy learning what you need to know about healthy singleness, dating, and marriage. Check out Choosing Marriage: Why It Has To Start With We > Me or True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life.
(Debra’s New Book: Love In Every Season Coming January 2020, Pre-Order Today!)
And Check out Debra’s Love + Relationships Podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!