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I’ve heard that a lot in my life, marriage is hard. It’s like a mantra, one that persists today, just repeat after me, marriage is hard, hard work.  It’s like forced labor in the salt mines, being tied to a ball and chain, endless sacrifice and suffering. Certainly the dark place your sex life goes to die.

I once parroted to an older woman the standard line, “marriage is hard,” and she said, “No it isn’t, marriage is easy.” It caught me by surprise because we just don’t say such things. The idea that “marriage is a hard” is so ingrained into the pop culture, into psychology, into faith, that when she said those words I actually looked over my shoulder to make sure no one was listening.

I’m not sure what they do if they catch you saying something like, “marriage is easy.” I’m not even sure who They are, but I know they’re real enough.

Those words changed everything, my perceptions, what I believed was true, what I thought was possible. I don’t think we realize what a toll it takes on people, what an impact it has to hear so much relentless negativity, such predictions of failure. I grew up with all the standard lines, “marriage is hard, hard work” and “half of all marriages end in divorce.” They do not, that is a statistic that has been debunked over and over again, but still it persists today as if it were an established fact.

Marriage is easy. Piece of cake. What’s hard is stubbornness, pride, self-preservation, and fear of vulnerability. Ha! Not our spouse’s issues with those things, our own.

This is one of those times when the truth is not nearly as important as how we perceive the truth. I’ve had a lot of people attempt to dispute that fact, post links and statistics, anecdotes and research about the horrors of marriage, and outright accuse me of lying, all because they insist on believing the mantra, “marriage is hard.” It’s somewhat tragic, but comical too if you think  about it. Who does that and for what purpose? Where’s the carrot, what’s the pay off in working so hard to try to prove…. marriage is hard?

What’s hard is stubbornness, pride, self-preservation, and fear of vulnerability. What’s awesome about life is that you get to deal with all those things whether you are married or not. What marriage does is provide you with endless opportunities to level up your entire game. Somewhat funny, but that can be hard stuff to handle. I’m so grateful I haven’t had to go it alone. You really need a buddy to help you deal with those things.