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Marriage takes work...

(41 Posts)
cheeseycharlie Wed 12-Aug-15 12:15:50

Wise people say 'marriage is hard' and 'a successful marriage takes work'. What does this mean to you? What is your view on compromise and commitment and putting the other before yourself? What does the 'work' in the marriage actually entail?

What worldly advice would you give to a young adult embarking on the journey of a life together?

Inexperiencedchick Wed 12-Aug-15 12:32:35

I have friends he and she, they are married to each other. She converted her religion in order to be with her, he respected her and didn't touch before marriage. They have 3 daughters now, he went against whole his family and married her despite her being absolute foreigner.
Recently they had a small raw... She allowed herself to buy a silver ring. While being very petite she straggles to find the right size in everything. He got cross that she didn't consult or ask him, she returned back saying her family is more important than the ring. Few days later she got a parcel with a gold ring, her size and the style she likes. He said he wasn't right and the happiness of his wife is more important...

Some people will accept it in a different way but knowing both of them for a long time I know they are happy and love each other.

Ineedmorewine Wed 12-Aug-15 12:38:48

I don't agree that marriage takes work. I think unhappy marriages take work because two completely ill-suited people who have perhaps grown apart have to bite their tongues and make compromises everyday just to keep some kernel of relationship going.

I see my marriage as being like any other friendship or relationship that I have in my life, if it stopped being fun and started being hard work I would break it off.

HPsauciness Wed 12-Aug-15 12:40:43

Ineed I completely disagree, friendships are fun and superficial to some extent, and you don't live and make huge life-changing decisions with your friends. It is these that require the hard work to me, not the day to day companionship which is relatively easy if you get on.

BoboChic Wed 12-Aug-15 12:41:36

Family takes work. Unless you want absolutely nothing interesting to ever happen!

Sodder Wed 12-Aug-15 12:44:10

Marriage isn't supposed to be hard full stop and it isn't supposed to take work all the time. I get infuriated when people say that it does and it is and use that to justify being unhappy and staying that way. You do have to compromise on some things but you shouldn't have to compromise your whole self. No one is worth that.

I'd recommend doing your own thing - hobbies, career, friends. You are married not joined at the hip.

I'd recommend having a joint account only if you have very much the same ideas about money. If one of you is an avid spender and the other a saver, then there are going to be fireworks.

Start as you mean to go on - if you expect him to do half in the house, make this clear from the outset. He's not 'mummy's special soldier' any longer, so don't let him act like he's still at home.

BadLad Wed 12-Aug-15 12:46:37

Marriage is, in some ways, like playing sport at the top level. Working at the marriage is like sports training.

You are in the marriage / play the sport because it gives you a lot of pleasure.

You have to put work (training) in to stay at the top, but that's fine because just doing it is fun, and you want to stay at the top.

If you never put any work in, it goes to shit because you can't perform at top level any more / married life turns to a selfish load of resentment on both sides.

If the training / work at the marriage becomes hard work without leading to good performance / happy married life, then it's time to retire / call time on the marriage.

Some have very short careers/marriages, some are late starters, some do several different ones.

Ohfourfoxache Wed 12-Aug-15 12:47:11

If you're with the right person, it shouldn't be particularly hard work. We all have to bite our tongues on occasion, whether that is in a friendship, with family, with colleagues. A partnership is no different.

But to say that marriages or relationships in particular take hard work, I've never understood that.

HPsauciness Wed 12-Aug-15 12:47:13

And- I wouldn't use the expression 'hard work' at all, I would say sometimes relationships seem to flow, everything goes well, you get on effortlessly, your decision making seems easy and in sync, and sometimes it really does not flow at all, you butt heads, you argue, you get in a negative cycle, you don't seem able to make big decisions or you disagree about them. Living your entire life, and sharing your whole heart, can be a hard thing to do and for me, and most people I've ever spoken to about it in real life who are in long-term relationships, say there are rough patches where things just don't flow, but then they do again and that's what keeps the whole thing moving along.

Only on MN do I read about people who never go off their husbands, never stop having 'fun', it always being easy to be together, I know no-one like this in real life at all!

I do agree though if it is all 'hard work' rather than a short patch, this is not a good sign. I think Gottman's work shows you need 5 positive interactions (anything from smile to touch to positive comment to interaction which is easy) to one negative for you to perceive the relationship as good.

squishee Wed 12-Aug-15 13:09:41

I think this is now a myth, and dates back to a time when marriage was not necessarily about being with the right person.

Joysmum Wed 12-Aug-15 13:17:13

I think it definitely takes effort.

I also find it strange that people seem to think that effort and hard work are seen as undesirable and negative ��

The best thing that have ever happened to me or that I have haven't accidentally fallen into my lap. I've made the effort to go get them and make the best of them.

I'm in a great marriage, work hard when needed and am secure, all because we've made the effort in the past and it's paying off.

As an example, we are going to be having s big party this weekend and I'm embarking on a change of career. Both have taken hard work and effort and both are well worth it.

Those who sit back and see hard work and effort as negative are lucky if they are fulfilled, they won't have put much in to get it.

BadLad Wed 12-Aug-15 13:20:54

I see the "work" as not getting complacent and trying to think what might make my wife happy, rather than tedious grinding at a task.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 12-Aug-15 13:20:58

All too often what that means is: Women - Eat Shit. It's what women are told by those around them when their husbands are beating them, raping them, drinking up the rent money, frightening them, isolating them, bullying the children etc. Marriage takes work - learn to manage this man better, obey and placate him, never refuse sex.

No wonder more and more women are refusing to listen.

BadLad Wed 12-Aug-15 13:23:23

I looked back to see what EatShitDerek had posted that you were replying to when you wrote that. I wonder if anyone else did

PointyBirds Wed 12-Aug-15 13:26:21

What is the hard work that people think marriage takes? There is no aspect of my marriage that I would call hard work.

Some bits of everyday living can be hard work, but my relationship with DH makes things easier, not harder.

I find it easy to be considerate and make compromises for DH, because he is considerate and makes compromises for me.

I'm really struggling to imagine any part of a relationship that could be 'hard work' without it meaning the relationship is unhappy and not actually working at all.

TheDietStartsTomorrow Wed 12-Aug-15 13:27:11

Even if your partner is the best match for you in the world and you get on like a house on fire there will still be times over the course of your married life when you disagree on something or fall out with each other on something. These are the moments that require forgiveness, overlooking mistakes, compromise or sacrifice for the sake of your partners happiness. These can be difficult and i guess this is what people refer to as 'hard work' although I wouldn't use that term myself.

BadLad Wed 12-Aug-15 13:31:05

I think it's different interpretations of the word "work"

Iamralphwiggum Wed 12-Aug-15 13:36:03

I don't think it is hard work. Hard things might happen but being married is not really hard in itself.

LadyLuck81 Wed 12-Aug-15 13:51:02

Learning to compromise, apologise, accept when you are wrong, not be smug when you're right, and which battles to fight are all lessons you need to learn to make a marriage work I think. As long as you both learn together and have expectations that match I don't think it's difficult.

My dad always told me that the most important 5 words you can learn to say to each other in a relationship is:
"you are right about that".

Acknowledge the good and don't just point out the negative.

Above all be kind to each other and be open to talking. Personally H and I work because we've not found something yet that we've had differing opinions on where we haven't been able to compromise or one of use hasn't felt that strongly compared to the other. We either compromise or one of us backs down. It all balances.

shufflestep Wed 12-Aug-15 13:54:19

TheDiet expresses it beautifully. You need the ability to accept mistakes, forgive, compromise and occasionally sacrifice. Both parties in the marriage need to do this, and you both benefit from doing this. Whether this is 'working on a marriage' is really semantics. But these things do require effort on occasion.

pocketsaviour Wed 12-Aug-15 13:59:11

I think if you're in a relationship where it all feels like hard work all (or the majority of) the time, then something's not right.

If you have DC with special needs, then yes that's hard work.
If one of you is disabled or falls seriously ill, then caring for them is hard work.

If one of you is trying to re-train or is aiming at a promotion, and therefore needs to work longer hours for a while or study, and the other partner needs to therefore do more housework/childcare, then that is hard work, but it is for a limited time, with an agreed-upon end result.

What I do think is that some people become complacent and lazy about their place in their partner's affections, and stop appreciating their partner. Saying "thank you", going out for date nights, complimenting your partner, making them their favourite meal, buying them their favourite chocolate bar - these things are not difficult or hard work, but I think they are easily forgotten, especially if you are both working FT and have children.

mindyourown15 Wed 12-Aug-15 14:05:30

I think it needs dedication and commitment but work suggests a slog to me, when that is not what it should be. I always think if it needs work it is one person compromising and doing all the running while the other walks all over them.

BoboChic Wed 12-Aug-15 14:06:48

I think life is hard work. It's so boring when you haven't got goals and multiple projects on the boil.

Happytuesdays99 Wed 12-Aug-15 14:31:41

I think it takes a lot of compromise rather than hard work.

gildedcage Wed 12-Aug-15 14:32:10

Rather than marriage being "hard" or "work", I would say a good marriage effort and commitment. Anything worth doing requires these things, why should marriage be any different. You shouldn't need to make fundamental changes to you or your character.

Sadly sometimes people marry the wrong people though and no amount of effort will make that work.

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