When I think about my own marriage, I realize that I have been really fortunate.
I was lucky enough to find an amazing woman who understands me and herself and we are both determined to make our union as perfect as possible.
I realize that I am lucky in several ways because for many people who fell in love and thought they found their relationship pot of gold, things are not as always as smooth as anticipated.
A marriage can be hard. And today I would like to talk about why a marriage can be hard.
What are the factors that makes a marriage rough going?
Is it possible you married the wrong guy? Perhaps not, but if you wish to learn more, check out this post I wrote recently….
What is it in a relationship with the person we fall in love with that can make it amazing and fulfilling and at times, difficult and painful?
Is it what we bring with us when we arrive at that moment when husband and wife says, “I do”?
What is it that causes us to think we are really compatible and “made for each other”, only to find out later than we are miles apart on a great many things?
Are we destined to repeat the mistakes our parents may had made?
Are there certain predictors of successful marriages and if known, can we implement them so our relationship can prosper?
These are all the questions we are going to tackle today. Hopefully, I can offer you some insights and advice that will help you with your marital situation.
Because after all, why should you be miserable and married?
Your married life need not be so hard and difficult.
Why can’t you be fulfilled and excited about each day you will spend with your husband or wife?
That is the end state we all desire.
We want fulfillment for ourselves and those that we love and are close to.
Marriage Can Be Hard Because Good Things Don’t Come Easy
The other day I was catching up with a ton of emails and noticed a trend in some of the questions.
Actually, I noticed several trends. Men and women with broken hearts, feeling rejected, not knowing where to turn.
You see, deep inside us all we are yearning to be loved and to love another.
It is written into our genes. It is something we all need in order to prosper and to feel connected.
“Thou shall love and be loved”, right?
You see, we are very social creatures and it is our nature to form relationships.
Without them, we are lost.
Now I am not just talking about marital relationships or boyfriend and girlfriends dating. Of course, all those things are important to our way of operating in society. But we have relationships with people in all kinds of ways.
It is something we naturally gravitate to because it is very much part of our makeup.
But no one ever promised me that marriage would be easy.
And I bet no one every told you that making a relationship, second to none, would just be easy as pie.
No, people don’t talk this way because the reality is so many couples end up breaking up. Things may have gotten hairy and tough for the husband and wife and they couldn’t find their way out of their marital troubles.
Sometimes we just need to turn the corner. Sometimes it is best to start over as I discussed in this post….
So as I was going through my emails, I couldn’t help but notice that one one particular day, I was getting a number of messages from women and men (mostly married women) expressing frustration and a sense of futility that their marriages had become so cumbersome.
They talked about how hard they worked on making the marriage work, yet they were falling short. And the various dysfunctional states in which they coexisted with their husband (or wife) varied from couple to couple.
One person said that she thought of her husband as a live in brother because there was so little love or tenderness exchanged.
Another claimed her husband never wanted to improve on anything.
Others reported things like:
“My husband of 9 years has give up on us. I am not sure what to do. I never thought that it would be so hard to keep the relationship fresh. That is his number one complaint. He thinks that we have fallen into a boring routine and says we should live apart for a while to see how that makes us feel. I don’t want to be part of some grand experiment my husband has in mind. If I have to work at improving myself, I will. But isn’t he part of the problem? I feel like I am swimming upstream and our marriage is slipping away.”
“It seems like a daily chore to keep our marriage alive. He won’t do anything except complain and I am at my wit’s end. This is a painful way to live. I think it’s harder on me than him. He doesn’t want to invest time to help us draw closer and frankly I not sure if it is worth it anymore.”
How Do You Learn To Make Your Marriage Work?
Sometimes I wonder about things.
It seems that we have colleges and universities all across this land which allow you to major in many kinds of subjects.
But in all my years, I have never seen any degrees or even college credits that teach us how to prepare for marriage and how to optimize your relationship once you tie the knot.
Wouldn’t that make sense to educate young men and women during their college age years about how to master the art of marriage?
In fact, I have a list of courses that I think would be excellent additions to a curriculum focused on helping young adults to become successful love partners in marriage or romantic relationships.
Try this on for size:
The Key Factors To Consider Before Choosing Your Soul Mate
The Needs of Your Soon To Be Wife
What Makes Your Man Tick
Overcoming the Marriage Quicksand
Staying Married For a Lifetime
Case Studies on Surviving Adultery
Marriage and The Bedroom
I mean really…. in High School there are opportunities for students to attend a special series of classes to learn how to drive.
Seems reasonable, right. Driving is an important skill that can positively affect our lives.
Just like marriage is an important event that marks our lives.
Which of the two do you think is more important?
Of course, marriages hold greater import in our lives. Yet there are not any High School courses offered like, “Foundations of a Great Marriage”.
No wonder marriages can be so hard on both the man and wife.
They are literally so poorly prepared, particularly if they get married while they are young adults.
When I went to school, a lot of students took Home Economics.
They learned all sort of things like cooking and how to stretch the budget.
When in college, any of us can take cooking classes or major in Hotel and Restaurant Management.
It seems like a reasonable vocation or way to spend your life. And it makes perfect sense that we train people.
But do we teach people the “Art of Making Up With Your Husband”?
Then there is sex education which is taught in some schools. Though, it’s pretty basic.
And in college, there is a wide range of topics on sexuality that helps us learn more about this vitally important topic.
Yet, society seems to stumble when it comes to integrating practical and pragmatic courses like, “Love and Relationships, & Marriage” into our college curriculum.
Sure, parents can help us prepare to face the world, right? But what if your parents are not good teachers or what if your family marital situation is a bit strained?
No wonder so many people find it so challenging to make their marriages work and fire on all cylinders.
This is why we struggle.
Why Do We Get Stuck in Bad Marriages?
Sometimes can rush into marriage or a relationship that is not good for us. We just didn’t know it at the time.
Now of course, there are exceptions.
There are some people who take it upon themselves to learn all they can before making that huge decision about who they wish to spend their life with.
They may be blessed with wonderful parents that serves as a role model. And perhaps they were given some vitally important books that dealt with the key ingredients of not just a successful marriage, but also importantly, the factors you need to consider before choosing your husband or wife.
But more often than not, such individuals are exceptions to the rule.
Most couples came together by happenstance and were ill prepared in evaluating the factors that are predictive of a good marriage.
Often, instead of being influenced by rational and logical considerations, a couple becomes unduly influenced by their emotions and their neurotransmitters…the dopamine running through their body….the oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin and vasopressin (for men) that floods their brain.
Essentially, while we can enjoy the experience of feeling we are in love, these neurotransmitters can also blind us to certain important realities such as compatibility issues, history of behavior, and alignment of core values.
Of course, there is no perfect match out there.
No one has a perfectly compatible mate.
However great you may be at selecting your lover, there will be a time when your marriage is tested and certain times will be really hard on you and your husband (or wife).
Summing Up Why Your Marriage Can Be Challenging
So in summary, if we ask ourselves, “what makes marriages so hard for many”…..well, part of the reason is we are just not adequately prepared and educated or in the proper state of mind.
We receive no or very little personal or educational development in the young adult years of our lives when many of us are expected to make long-term relationship decisions; and sometimes, what we are taught is information passed down from our elders or from friends or whatever we learn in popular culture.
Those examples of coming up to speed to make one of the most important decisions of your life are usually not great platforms to help you with becoming competent
We all want to have a great love affair with our wife or a husband.
People who meet and eventually become husband and wife, all have good intentions to start.
But my goodness, it can be a rough ride if one did not learn how to select well.
Except when it comes to matters of the heart, missteps and mistakes can lead to big setbacks.
Isn’t it odd that one of the most important things we covet and hold up as grand and important…indeed so important that we have big ceremonies to honor and celebrate the event…..ends up getting very little attention in terms of personal preparation and development.
Well, let’s see if we can do something about it.
If you find yourself in a situation in which the struggles of your marriage have pulled you down, winding the clock back to the past is not an option.
But there are something things you can do to help ease the burden. And one great thing most married couples have going for them is that they are in it together.
No one enjoys suffering and arguing and being a general state of unhappiness or disillusionment.
Let’s do something about it.
5 Things You Can Do To Make Your Marriage A lot Less Difficult
- The Power of Reciprocation – If your husband or wife says something kind, then return the compliment and relish that moment. This kind of behavior is a form of mirroring each other. You copy what the other is doing. But choose to reciprocate a “positive”. Pass it forward to your lover. A couple can feel lifted up when giving and receiving compliments and once this become a routine in your marriage, the sky is the limit.
- Practice the Art of Kindness – A number of years ago, a famous study was performed that looked at the secret sauce of what makes marriages easier and long-lasting. They studied couples who had formed a relationship and followed those couples for many years to see how they coped. So you want to know what kept couples together for many years and buck the breakup or divorce trend that is so common today? In a simple word it was kindness. They found that the couples that stayed together and avoided the dark times were those who said and did kind things to each other. Imagine every time you tell your lover something kind or show appreciation, you banked a “kind point”. And every time you were mean or nasty or exhibited negativity with your spouse, you lost a point. Those married couples that enjoyed a ratio of 5 kind acts to 1 negative act (i.e. 5:1), did remarkably well as a married duo over many years. You can read more about it in this lengthy article I put together for you. https://marriagerecovery.com/how-to-save-your-troubled-marriage/
- Have Sex More Often in Different Ways – It is easy for all married couples to get stuck in their routines. The thing about routines is that they can be good, bad, and neutral. Your love life can become a routine if you are not seeking new ways to enrich the experience. Re-inventing how, when, and where you will have sex can provide many enriching benefits for you personally and your marriage as a whole.
- Spend alone time Together. So what does that mean? Well, often couples don’t make enough time for themselves because of work commitments and other responsibilities. Sure, you probably spend time together every day. But there is a qualitative difference when you spend time together alone. Which means you should participate in more excursions or outings in which you and your husband (or wife) are freed up from your typical responsibilities. Spend time away from all the distractions. This means carving out time on your schedule and losing your smart phone to do something you have not done before with each other. It could be a brief trip. It could be a sexual rendezvous at a posh hotel. It could be a walk in the woods. The fewer the distractions the better. That way you can get back to enjoying and experiencing each other’s company without interference.
- Touch your Husband (or wife) and Then Touch Some More. When you touch, hug, cuddle, or otherwise do things such that you are in close intimate contact, you release a set up neurotransmitters, particularly oxytocin. When your brain is bathed in this chemical, it pulls you closer together and when that happens, you naturally build up a set of experiences in which the bond between the two of your is strengthened.
Make no bones about it, hanging on to a tender and loving relationship requires a lot of work.
A lot of the chemicals that bathe our brain in the early days of courtship and during the period when you and your husband (or wife) were falling in love, tend to get muted by a sense of familiarity.
So to keep things fresh, you need to reset some of your routines, particularly the way you go about making physical love and the manner in which you schedule time for each other to be with each other and touch and hold each other.
These five factors are not the only things you can do to improve your marriage.
Obviously there are others like enhancing your communications and learning to reduce or manage those periods when you have conflict.
But if you are looking for some ways to make things just a bit easier in your life of marriage, grab a hold of some of the ideas I shared with you today and put them into practice.