I changed the title of this post and decided to take it in a different direction than originally planned. I was going to give my thoughts on why marriage shouldn’t be hard, but I realize it will be hard for some (women especially) because of belief systems. While JP has given up all social media, I still have Facebook and follow some pages that give me food for thought. I’m amazed at how differently Christians view marriage depending on denomination and cultural influences. I haven’t read very much about marriage beliefs in other religions.
I’ve read various comments about marriage recently such as “Marriage is hard”, “Marriage is difficult because men and women are different”, “Marriage is meant to make us holy, not happy”. These statements seem very sad to me. I never heard my parents say those things. I wasn’t taught that in church. I always felt that marriage is for companionship and that it should be happy.
I’m not saying there won’t be occasional challenges in any marriage and I’m definitely not saying the two years after the the last D-Day weren’t difficult, but it was because of the addiction and not the marriage itself. Recovery was a long, challenging process, but what we’ve learned has helped us both be emotionally healthy people with good communication skills and a happier marriage.
One recurring theme I see when people talk about hard marriage is that they tend to view men and women with very different characteristics and roles. I don’t think men and women are so fundamentally different that they can never understand each other. I don’t believe that all men think, feel, and behave a certain way and that all women think, feel, and behave the opposite way. I had never heard the terms “complimentarian” or “egaliatarian” until recently, but looking back I can see that my parents had an egalitarian marriage. My husband’s parents did also. My husband and I are equals. We both contribute financially and with upkeep of our home. We carpool to work, cook together, do home improvement projects together, and shop together. It does help that we have many of the same interests. We have fun together and laugh together. Sometimes we’re sad together and support each other. My husband can show emotions and still be masculine. I can use a chainsaw and still be feminine. We accept each other as we are (minus his addiction). Both of us are capable of living on our own, so we don’t feel “stuck” in our marriage. I believe a factor in my husband choosing recovery was that he knew I could walk out and never look back if he didn’t.
Marriage to me is about being best friends, loving each other as Jesus commanded, helping and supporting each other in life, and getting to enjoy all aspects of intimacy (emotional, spiritual, and physical). It’s about mutual respect and talking through problems or frustrations. It’s about lifting each other up. It’s about enjoying each other’s company in the everyday and in the adventures. It’s about learning and growing together.