this thing called marriage.

>> 1.28.2012

There have been a lot of posts lately talking about whether or not marriage is hard.

I think this was all spurned by the Driscoll's new book that came out recently, and even though I haven't read said book, I've read the posts around it.

To be honest, I was a little surprised. Most of the posts I've read have all been talking about how this thing called marriage is not hard, and the surprising ease that they found during their first year together. And while I don't discount this at all, I feel like it's not necessarily fair to those of us that did have a hard time.

Because let's be honest here (since that's what I do).

My first year of marriage was probably one of the hardest things I've ever faced.

BUT

 it was also one of the best.

And here's the thing. I got married at the ripe old age of nineteen, halfway through my second year of Bible college. When I got back to campus in the fall after we got married, I was surrounded by couples who had tied the knot that summer as well.
And that whole semester, I spent a good chunk of time worrying that we had made a mistake, because look at everyone else, they're so happy and all they talk about is how happy they are and how great marriage is, and gosh, we sure do have a lot of problems compared to everyone else...

And I just wish I had known that it was okay to wonder if we had made a mistake.
It was okay to feel like I hated this life, and to wish that I could just go back home and not do this anymore.

The problem is that no one warned me that it was going to be this hard, and that my husband and I would get in big fights late at night, and that I would cry and he would get angry, because we are imperfect, sinful people. No one wanted to talk about how marriage is like God holding up a big mirror that shows all of the bad parts of you and says, "Well kid, take a look. This is the truth, and there are parts of it that are pretty ugly." No one wanted to tell me just how selfish I was, and how I was going to have to learn how to say, "I'm sorry" and mean it even when I didn't want to.

So, I'm talking about it.
My first year of marriage was incredibly difficult, but it was also incredibly wonderful. There were moments that could have been pulled out of your favorite romantic movie, and moments that I will cherish for the rest of my life. But it was hard. And that's okay.
Because it's even better now, and I get to realize that and see how far we've come. And this is all okay with me. God has used my marriage like a refining fire, and even though I am far from done, I am proud to say that I have made progress.

And even though I sometimes get jealous of those people that have had a really easy time in their marriage, God is making me see that every relationship is different, and this just happens to be ours. Comparison is the kiss of death, it's the cause of all discontent, and it can be fatal to your marriage.

To my husband, thank you for loving me despite all of the roadblocks and difficulties we've faced. Thank you for forgiving me thousands of times, and showing me what sacrificial love looks like. Thank you for being my best friend, and making me laugh like no one else can.
I respect you so much, and I am so proud to call you my husband, and the father of my son.

To everyone else, I hope you won't judge too harshly.
And if someone else resonates with this, I hope you will realize that it's okay for something to be hard. That doesn't make it wrong, and it doesn't mean that you've made a mistake. It just means that it's going to take some work, but it's going to be worth it.


9 thoughts:

Mandy Enter,  January 28, 2012 at 2:04 PM  

I needed to read this today (and probably EVERY day if I'm being completely honest). Thanks Cami. :) "Comparison is the kiss of death" HA! I love that!

I've been married for 2 years, 2 months and 7 days. (but who's counting) Hardest thing I've ever done. Ever. John and I are both guilty of saying, "I know there's a God because we're still married." ;)

I appreciate your posts, sister! Keep 'em comin'.

TheWhatIfGirl January 28, 2012 at 3:07 PM  

I think the people who say it's been easy are lying.

Alli January 29, 2012 at 10:57 AM  

Hey Cami - 1st of all, Thank you for writing this.
It's true, people don't Really tell you about marriage. Or anything about being an adult. I feel like more of our difficulties stemmed out of the trauma of adulthood hitting us than anything else. And also the hardship of our best married friend's slow and horrible road toward divorce (we dealt with that for the 1st 2 years of our marriage).
Half the people who told us something about "the first year of marriage" said it was the most difficult of their marriage, and the other half said it was the easiest. So we went in to it with a little bit of wariness.
As for the new marriage book by Driscoll... I tend to strongly dislike him (but i have never heard or read him directly) based on the fact that he is purposely inflammatory and shocking and I believe that is not helpful to the Christian community or doing anything to make the Gospel beautiful. BUT I am reading "Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas (I've previously read Sacred Pathways by him) and though I'm only on ch 4 I'm all about recommending it. He is very honest and straightforward about marriage and about Being a Christian. I can't recommend it enough for any Christian who wants to be constantly working toward holiness.
The other book I strongly recommend is either "The Emotionally Healthy Church" or "The Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" by Peter L. Scazzero. Emotional health and maturity has been the other area that I feel has had the greatest effect on our marriage - how we have or have not dealt with our past, our pain, and how to be honest with ourself and others. Powerful. stuff.
Anyway - sorry for a dreadfully long comment, but I love you post and I wanted to speak to it because I agree that it is something we all need to get a whole lot more honest with each other about - it can Only help! I love you and Daveo so much and love to hear that God is doing His amazing work in your lives and your marriage. :)

Kari Kotter January 29, 2012 at 12:23 PM  

I agree with the whole part about not knowing what you're getting into. Marriage is hard but totally worth every little problem and fight. We've been lucky enough to have a whole different trial to go through in the first few years of marriage with the infertility. After this last year, I can see how it can either bring you closer together or rip you apart.

The thing I've learned the most with marriage and the hardships...love your husband with all your heart, keep God in your marriage, and work through trials as they come. I've seen too many marriage crumble from couples not willing to face challenges head on. LOVE YOU!

Jess January 31, 2012 at 7:30 AM  

I love you and your honesty! And love the "comparison is the kiss of death".....just like it is for me when I compare my single life to everyone's married life and how much better their life is cause they are married.

I think something also important to remember in those "kiss of death moments" is that I am comparing my inside ugly to people's outside best.

Miss you friend!

Kirra Sue February 2, 2012 at 8:22 AM  

dude. marriage is hard work. it's so good when it's hard though. so good.

Kacie February 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM  

My theory is that everyone has something that is hard. For some people, marriage is hard, for others, marriage is easy. For some, weight is hard, for some it's easy. For some, family is hard, for some it's easy. Same with parenting. With your career and job satisfaction. With "home" and place satisfaction.

Both marriages that are hard and marriages that are easy can be beautiful, God-honoring, and lasting.

Even marriages that are easy can end (I just saw it happen this year).

Time to stop degrading people who find it hard, and time to stop feeling jealous of those who find it easy (I guarantee they have something else that's hard).

Stacey February 7, 2012 at 9:45 PM  

Oh sister! Let me tell you, Justin and I got married 6 months after we graduated from high school. A few months later I was so distraught, I told him I was leaving him and heading to California. I was irrational and scared and didn't think I had made the right choice. I didn't know what I wanted in life but I sure as heck was thinking marriage was not it. I have never told any one this... Anyway, there were tears and yelling and anxiety and fear and a jumble of emotions I can't even begin to make sense of. We were after all only 18! However I really believe with all of my heart that Birth control had a huge part to play in it. I had never been on the stuff and it screwed me up in a bad way. But we got through and when I finally stabilized, I realized how awesome it was being married to my best friend. And we have been happily married ever since. 17 years and still madly in love! After we ditched the birth control for good, It made a world of difference in our marriage too. Love you and your honesty!!! Thanks for such a great post.

Jackie February 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM  

THANK YOU for writing this! Our first year of marriage was SO hard. You could have been describing David and me instead of you two. So many fights, me finding out I'm a "yeller"- never yelled at anyone before getting married, much questioning and doubting, and thinking it would never get better. Thanks to our commitment to each other, not letting divorce into our vocabulary, and God's grace, we're still together and it has gotten better. I, too, felt like we were the only ones who struggled and like no one would ever understand. I wish someone would have prepared me, because I know now we're not the only ones who went through it. Now I probably scare poor engaged couples because I DO tell them all about how hard it is and how much work you have to put into marriage!
Anyway, thanks for being open- and here's another affirmation that you're not alone!

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