Now I'm really putting myself in the firing line – but with good cause.
Because I'm sick of the way both casual commentators and some of the experts continuously perpetrate an insidious idea that I believe contributes to marriage problems.
And neither spouse is aware that this myth is getting in the way of them making headway in improving their marriage. The reason being is that this is one of those phrases that has become a standard remark to those requiring marriage help.
Here it is:
Marriage Myth 3
"Marriage Is Hard Work"
No, it is not. Marriage in itself is not hard work. There – I've said it!
So what brings me to this conclusion? Well, a combination of observation, involvement, education, discussion and facilitation.
Look, I get it – "What would you know – you have not been through what we've been through!" is the cry I hear from the multitudes. Not quite true. I have, in many cases, been there and, yes, being there was hard work.
And that's just the point. Being there was hard. The solutions were much easier: 'face-palming' easier. Once I realized how simple the solutions were, I understood that marriage was not hard. Not knowing or applying simple strategies or basic common sense were what complicated things.
Which brought me to this realization: Life is the difficult, complex, obstructionist thing that couples have to get their heads around. Do not blame marriage for all the problems. Life is what gets in the way. The funny thing is, when you apply solutions to your marriage problems, it's incredible how life's problems suddenly become clearer, more in perspective and easier to deal with.
It also does not help that the phrase "Marriage is hard work" is absolutely negative.
Do we really want to think about more hard work in amidst the other stuff the day throws at us? Work, family, money, negotiating leisure time?
Those are hard work. Those are the things that usually lead to marriages going flat or breaking down. It's the focus on those to the detriment of both of you and your relationship that causes most of the marriage problems that my wife and I help others deal with.
It's no-ones fault. We're not born with an instinctive feel for how life ticks. It's a learning process. The same is true for marriage. Once you understand that great communication (as mentioned in prior articles) is the fundamental, but not the only, skill that smooths the maritime journey, you discover how much easier marriage is to maintain at an enjoyable, enriching level.
It's amazing watching the lights go on during our workshops as couples see how a few, simple steps and their application can turn a marriage around. More than one person has commented recently that all newlyweds should know about this.
Then life would find it harder to get in the way. We would not make marriage 'hard work'.
After all, it's not the fault of "the marriage" …. is it?