I was on the phone with a friend recently and off-handedly commented that my husband and I weren’t big into celebrating Valentine’s Day. To which she jokingly quipped, “Well that’s because you’re married. Isn’t every day Valentine’s Day?”
I about choked on my laughter.
We’ve all watched enough Oprah and Dr. Phil to know that marriage is hard work and that every relationship will have its own set of struggles. We believe that with our minds, but in our hearts we secretly assure ourselves that our marriage will be different. When we marry the right person, how could there be anything to fight about beyond what movie to rent or where to go to dinner? We’ll love each other so much that every day will carry a bit of the romance of Valentine’s Day and we’ll live happily ever after.
Eventually that long awaited day dawns, the veil is lifted, and we are able to experience the glories of marriage first hand. If you’re like me, you quickly find out is that these talking heads tell only half of the story.
Marriage is so much harder than anyone prepares you for.
Even when you marry a man with the character of Abraham Lincoln, the patience of Ghandi, and the charm of Mr. Darcy, there are fights. Squabbles about nothing become raging fits of passionate protest. The lines are drawn and you’re so blinded by anger that all you can think about is how in the world you thought marriage would be fun.
It’s one of the hardest things you will ever do because marriage takes two imperfect human beings and repeatedly forces them together in a process of refinement and growth. For your marriage to succeed, you’ll have to be stripped time and again of any pretense, laying down your expectations and personal wants for the good of the other.
But that’s only half of the story.
Marriage is also so much more fun and rich and rewarding than anyone can fully explain. It’s not just your best friend around for life, sex no matter the time of day, late nights watching movies, and lazy Saturday brunch together. Marriage means having someone to prop you up when you don’t feel you can take another step, someone who believes in you more than you believe in yourself. It’s spontaneous notes of affection, and acts of extravagant love. It really is just so much fun.
Every day of marriage isn’t Valentine’s Day. Most days it’s actually much better than the commercialized romance in Hallmark cards and candy boxes. Other days it feels like your greatest achievement was simply not killing each other.
Marriage is gloriously difficult. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
(Image viaShannon Lee Miller Photography)
Based out of Los Angeles, Joanna Hyatt speaks and writes on dating, relationships, and sex. She blogs at