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3/31/16 at 11:43 AM 0 Comments

Is Marriage Really That Hard?

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Marriage is 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 wantand 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.

By Sheila Wray Gregoire via

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