Marriage is hard.

We hear that all the time. But I’m wondering: Is it necessarily true?

Every Friday I like to run a quick, 400 word inspirational piece on marriage (since usually most of the stuff I write is way longer!) And today I want to look at this question about whether marriage is actually difficult.

Marriage is Hard: We hear that all the time. But is it true? Let's look at what a great marriage takes.

Sheila’s Marriage Moment: Is Marriage Really That Hard?

Many people have difficult marriages. But is marriage itself necessarily difficult?

My husband and I were recently debating that question, because honestly, to us, marriage isn’t hard right now. It’s rather lovely and encouraging.

That doesn’t mean marriage has always been easy. But we can link each difficult time to one simple factor: both of us, or one of us, was being self-focused, looking only at our own pain. Once we broke through that and learned to be generous again, marriage changed.

If two people genuinely love and care for each other and want the best for each other (which is hopefully why you married in the first place!), then putting several small habits in place can set your marriage up for major success. Like I talked about last week, talk for twenty minutes a day. That’s not that hard! Speak the positive about your spouse far more than you speak the negative–scan for things to praise, and say them out loud. Ask directly for what you want and need. Be generous sexually. Be affectionate. Study your spouse, learn what makes them feel loved, and then do little things each day to show your husband love.

That really is basically it. And at first it is work: I remember having to count, “have I praised Keith for two things today?” I remember having to say to myself, “tonight we should really make love, so that means I have to start getting in the mood.” I remember having to think, “Keith needs time alone, so I need to encourage that on Saturdays without getting mad.”

It only takes 21 days, though, for a habit to form. We don’t get up in the morning and start complaining, “Man, I have to take a shower AGAIN today. And I have to eat breakfast. And I have to make my bed. And I have to get in the car and drive to work.” We do these things because they’re part of life.

Well, doing those little things is part of marriage. Do them often enough, and they become habits that can change the whole dynamic of your marriage.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t difficult marriages; sometimes one spouse in particular has allowed selfishness to take over. But marriage itself, with two people committed to doing things right, doesn’t have to be hard. And if it is–then maybe both spouses need to take a good hard look and ask, “are we really seeking each other’s good, or are we only looking to get our own needs met?” Change the focus, and you change the whole marriage.

Friday Roundup on To Love, Honor and Vacuum

What’s #1 at To Love, Honor and Vacuum?

It’s not all #1’s this week but we’ve got some different posts hitting the top 4 spots!  This week the tops are covering some hard questions and situations in marriage and parenting.  Have you or your spouse found yourself dealing with issues like porn or debating the topic of masturbation? How about learning when to start giving your kids the responsibility of chores?  Maybe you just need some help learning how to strike up an honest conversation with someone you’ve been talking to for many years.  There’s always something new to learn, so check it out!

50 Conversation Starters for Couples--for conversations with a purpose. They're fun! #marriagetip#1 NEW Post on the Blog: 50 Conversation Starters For Couples
#2 on the Blog Overall: Top 10 Effects Of Porn On Your Marriage
#1 from Facebook: Is Masturbation Wrong In Marriage?
#4 from Pinterest: How Old Is Old Enough–a look at age-appropriate chores

We Recorded at Focus on the Family This Week!

So this week Keith and I flew to Colorado to record two segments for Focus on the Family radio. They’ll likely air May 2 &3, but I’ll keep you updated.

We were talking about 9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage, and it was a great discussion. The one point I was really glad I made was the one about submission. I said that I find it odd that we often think the definition of submission in marriage is, “When they disagree, he makes the decisions.” That sounds like it’s assumed that husbands and wives will always be at odds. And if they disagree, there are only two possibilities: either one of them isn’t hearing from God, or both of them aren’t hearing from God. Why not aim for unity?

That’s one reason I think too many segments of the Christian culture have missed the boat when it comes to submission, and it makes me sad. We talked about lots of other things, too, but I hope that survives the edits!

Here’s another when we were joking around afterwards in the studio:

FOTF Studio

We’re Flying Home Today…

…from Colorado. So I don’t have a lot of time for more news. I’d love to tell you more about the marriage conference we spoke at last weekend, but I’ve got to get to bed now (I’m writing this Thursday night)! But I sent out a long update to all my supporters (my “patrons” who support this ministry with $5 a month or more) yesterday, with links to all the articles I’ve read lately, what I’m thinking about, what I’m planning for the blog, and more. And they’re all giving me some great feedback about blog series and even titles for books.

When you sign up to be a patron, you get access to chat sessions, free ebooks, webinars, and more. Come on over and check it out!

Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend!

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