Allow me to be more specific: a good marriage, that is.
I’ve seen this article titled “Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment” floating around Facebook and getting shared by various people for a few weeks or so now, and while it made some great points, it’s the reaction and comments of the readers that really got me thinking.
The entire premise of this article is the getting married part. The excitement and ritual leading up to the big day. People are then taking this to mean that marriage is not an accomplishment. I say that getting married and marriage are two very different things, and I do agree that getting married is not an accomplishment. However…
I also believe that a marriage; a good, strong, loving marriage, is a huge accomplishment.
Isn’t there some crazy statistic like 50% of all marriages end in divorce? Therefore, if you’re married and have managed to stay that way, you’ve accomplished more in that arena than half of those who tried. Then you take out whatever percentage says they are married, but aren’t necessarily happy in their marriage. While I haven’t done any research, I’m willing to guess that that number is (sadly) reasonably high as well, meaning that the leftovers aka those of us who are in happy, loving marriages, are in the minority. We should feel great that we are accomplishing something so many have tried and failed.
Now, I’ve only been married two and a half years, so I can’t call myself an expert by any means, but I can speak from experience. Take a second and think of all of the day to day challenges you have to conquer in marriage. You have to merge your life with another human being. Live with someone who might have managed their living space differently than you. Work with different sleeping, eating, tv watching, and cleaning habits. This often creates some sort of tension. Talk about and manage money together (which is difficult to begin with..try using the “it’s our money concept when only one of you makes significantly more or makes all the money..that’s a hard one). That tends to be a huge stressor. Little things like leaving lights on or leaving clothes on the floor turn into small annoyances which can quickly add up to a bad mood or anger toward your spouse. Seriously, this list goes on and on..
Then you have to factor in that the feeling of love changes as your marriage progresses. Eventually, the “so in love” butterfly feeling that you get when you’re dating comes around less often, if at all. Especially with a spouse who travels, my everyday runs pretty “business as usual” and it’s easy to lose what that love feels like when he’s not around for me to cuddle at the end of the day, or kiss as he walks out the door to work. Nowadays, in my world of housework and doing what I can to make sure my housewife duties are done by the time my husband returns from his week of travel, its easy to feel like this marriage is more like a job where the “boss” checks in weekly rather than the constantly romantic, can’t keep our hands off of each other, fireworks all day every day romance that many of us grow up believing marriage could be. It’s hard to accept that marriage isn’t that fairy tale princess story that most of us grew to believe in.
Marriage is balance, support, talking out the disagreements, dealing with the little things that irritate you, choosing your battles wisely, and at the end of the day, choosing love and being happily married to the person you decided to walk down the aisle with. You might not feel butterflies anymore, except in little moments, but you have to choose to love this person anyway. Making such a major choice every single day until death do you part is a commitment unlike any other. Making the effort to have a marriage that is loving, secure, and happy takes more work than any job out there. Being in a marriage that stands the test of time, doesn’t even consider the possibility of divorce as an option, and serves as the modern day tale of happily ever after is, in my opinion (as a newly-ish married woman, knowing that she’s in this “divorce is not an option” type of marriage), one of the biggest and proudest accomplishments out there.
Getting the ring is not an accomplishment. Planning the wedding and saying I do is not an accomplishment; but marriage, with all of its ups and downs, arguments and disagreements, good times and bad, might be the greatest accomplishment ever.