Marriage: Turns Out It’s Work

They say marriage is work. I figured that meant that every few years (or months if you’re unlucky), both parties are so thoroughly fed up that there has to be A Big Talk. Then there would be Some Readjusting and Eventually Starting to Like Each Other Again and finally the part where everyone pretty much forgot whatever had been pissing them off and went back to normal.

Apparently, though, there’s a different model, wherein you wake up one day and realize that while things are decent, but someday they won’t be if you don’t get your act together. You realize, with a cold shiver, that you can’t just bank on the fact that the two of you are far less crazy than all of your parents. You have to step up and change the way you act. Right now. And it doesn’t mean just doing it for a few days, then putting it on the back burner. It means doing your best to act differently almost every day for the rest of your life.

No, C-Man and I aren’t in terrible trouble and needing drastic intervention. But I’ve had a reality check in the past couple of weeks. To be the kind of person I want to be, and have a good marriage, I cannot always put him on the back burner because I know he will put up with it for long periods of time.

I also have to learn to think before I speak, especially if it’s a complaint, which has never been my strong suit. (If the complaint is funny, that’s different.) I have to go out of my way to show him affection, daily, not just every two weeks when I get on top of my to-do list for five minutes and feel like I “have time” to sit down and watch a movie sitting next to him on the couch.

It’s not that C-Man doesn’t love me the way I am. But he needs me to keep growing, and to be the best person I can be, instead of running on instinct and habit. He has a tendency to say to me “Well I’m [insert personality trait here] so of course that’s how I do it” and it’s the same issue. You can use a personality trait as an explanation for past behavior, or as something to factor in when designing a solution, but it can’t be a stopping point unless it’s more important to you than the relationship.

Becoming an adult is so annoying.

4 thoughts on “Marriage: Turns Out It’s Work

  1. Suebob

    Yes, who knew so much learning would be involved in being an adult? I have to fight my way through the mire every day. I also have to see and watch my two extremely unhappy passive-aggressive parents deal with each other every day, so I see the consequences of not trying to untangle my hangups.

    Good luck. I know you will do fine.

  2. Halala Mama

    I know what you mean about complaints – my husband will put up with them too. BUT I need to learn restraint, especially if my complaint about the situation would on increase his stress. Some days I succeed, and I’m proud of myself for those days! Not everyone likes Dr. Laura, but I loved her book, “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands,” she talks about the very thing you mentioned, ‘not putting husbands on the back burner.’ You might find it helpful.

  3. Michelle

    I read that completely engrossed. I used to be with someone who used to tell me he loved me, but I started to realise there was no actual evidence. There has to be loving ways and actions. It was a good thing though because I learnt that this is the case. You are smart, he is lucky.

  4. Catherine

    Marriage is hard, but divorce is even harder. And then comes being single again, dating and possibly remarrying just to go through it all again. It’s definitely worth it to work as hard as you can to show your husband/ partner just how much they mean to you. And hopefully, in return, they will catch on and treat you with the same amount respect and loyalty.

    Thanks for the reminder!!

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