5 Marriage Realities No One Ever Tells You

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Anyone who has been married discovers that there are some realities of marriage that no one ever tells you.

They are realities that are almost impossible to see when you are picking out rings, trying on dresses and deciding if the teal in the centerpieces is going to match the teal in the napkins.

They are the realities you will never find inscribed in a wedding card.

(But if they were, the card would probably say something like this… “You have NO IDEA what insanely hard thing you just got yourself into.  Soooo many people who have done what you just did have failed miserably at it.  But hey, good luck to ya all.  Hope everything pans out okay.”) 

What?!  Hallmark isn’t clamoring for a card like that?

The realities no one tells you about will ruin your marriage — send you into existence as roommates for years (maybe even decades) on end — unless you intentionally do the wise and courageous thing and choose together to build a more fulfilling life together.

Here are 5 realities of marriage, and (more importantly) what it takes to not let them ruin your marriage:

1. Much of marriage is monotonous and boring.

Yes, when you hunker down and do life together, it doesn’t take long before you run smack into the monotony of married life (and honestly, it is the monotony of life in general).

Laundry. Bills. Cleaning. Work. Lawncare. Grocery shopping. Car repairs. Puking kids.

Dishes pile up.  And then they pile up again.  Lawns are mowed.  And then grass grows again.  Milk is bought.  And then it runs out again.  Clothes get worn. And then you have to wash them again.  Bills get paid.  And then they arrive again.

Repetitive life maintenance.  Over and over again.

To combat the toll this takes on your marriage, see yourselves partners.

Intentionally be on the look out for ways you can lighten each other’s load.  Extend grace. Find and build upon each other’s strengths.  Don’t become easily offended by the tedious frustrations.

Within the ordinary lives the extraordinary. But you have to take a breath and appreciate that fact.  Within the ordinary is extraordinary sex as well.  For more on that, check out this post.

2. The exhilaration of falling in love will end.

What’s not to like about falling in love?!  What an invigorating experience.  Even people who aren’t adrenaline junkies can appreciate what is so powerful and soul-gripping about falling in love.

But falling in love always has an expiration date, which is a good thing, because no one can exist in an adrenaline rush indefinitely.

No one.

The good news is that staying in love is BETTER than falling in love.  One of the best posts I have ever written digs into why staying in love is better than falling in love.

Don’t just fall in love. Stay in love.

3. Virtually nothing will be a champion for your marriage.

Seriously.  If we are being brutally honest, nearly all around you will pull you away from your marriage.   Work, volunteer opportunities, kids’ activities, society’s pathetic standards, easy access to porn and infidelity, busyness, boredom, social media, tv shows, etc.

Add to this that satan is a master of division, hell bent on destroying marriages (because he hates anything that God designs and lays out as covenant).

If you are paying close attention, you will discover that virtually nothing will be a champion for your marriage.

The biggest champions for your marriage have to be you and your spouse.

Yes, God is your ally and champion too, but He won’t do the work for you.  No one can fight for your marriage the way the two of you can.  So decide to fight for it.

4. Difficulties will come.  Not a matter of if; only a matter of when.

My beloved and I have been married a mere 11 years and in that short span we have faced a wee bit of difficulty.

We’ve been laid off from jobs, had to navigate struggles with our kids, faced financial messiness, took on caring for an elderly parent, been in a somewhat serious car accident, watched people we love suffer and die, and so on.

No, our difficulty isn’t as bad as what some people have faced, and I am humbled by that.  But it also is worse than what some people have faced.  And I’m humbled by that too.

Don’t allow difficulty to paralyze you.  Let it motivate you toward each other — toward a stronger relationship in the midst of crisis — toward better resolve to build one another up.

5. You will likely run the risk of missing what’s most important.

I had a medical scare recently.  I already had a good sense of what is sacred and important, but nothing like sitting in a doctor’s waiting room with a bunch of unknowns to bring everything into even sharper focus.

Not long ago, Tim McGraw released a song called “Overrated.”  Even if you are not a country music fan, you can likely hear the truth in these lyrics from his song:

This rock we’re rolling on
Is like a circus ride that don’t last long
Round and round we go and then we’re gone
We waste time chasing ghosts
And overlook the things that matter most
We get so caught up in the maybes
Just trying to be somebody baby
While we’re slowly going crazy

Building up a stack of bones
Keeping up with the Jones
Getting us all so jacked and jaded
Baby if you’re asking me
Love is really all we need
Everything else is overrated, overrated

We’re all running after something
But if it ain’t love, it’s nothing.

It is super easy to miss what is most important.  I don’t have specific answers on how you personally can let this not ruin your marriage, but I offer you what works for us:

We make time together a priority on a weekly basis (sometimes daily basis, but weekly for sure).

We do not rely on subtle suggestion or mind-reading to make our needs known.  We ask for what we need and want.   “I need some alone time with you.”  “I want to make love tonight.”  “I want to go out with you Friday.”  “I need to talk about something I’m struggling with.”

Everyone loves that saying “If mama ain’t happy, no one is happy,” but I’ve always said that I think a richer and more accurate truth is “If mama and daddy aren’t in sync, nothing else is either.”

The realities I’ve listed above — and likely a bunch of other ones — are rarely on anyone’s radar when they are standing at the altar.  They likely were not on your radar.   But I bet you ran into them, right?  After the thrill of falling in love and getting married started to fade.

Just don’t let those realities ruin your marriage.

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Copyright 2015, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.

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9 thoughts on “5 Marriage Realities No One Ever Tells You

  1. Reba says:

    Well said, Julie. This post makes me think of my grandmother who would give a marrying grandchild and new spouse a sympathy card.

    Regarding medical scares, they do bring priorities into sharp focus. They can also put us on indefinite alert as we wait for the next crisis. This makes intimacy very challenging. Why risk getting close to someone who may not be around long? This may sound harsh, but I know it is part of the wall I put up with my spouse. Thought it was worth sharing here.

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  3. Robert says:

    Hello, Julie, and thank you for the wonderful post.
    It is so simple and so true that is should be read by any couple that is looking into marriage. And by any teenagers as well, so maybe they will understand their parents a little bit better..

    I have been married with my wife for nearly 24 years. Along the road we have had 5 pregnancies and 4 wonderful children.
    During these years, we have experienced all the 5 point you mention in the article, and they all stand true. There is one, however, that I would like to talk about. Number two. I just read your article about “Staying in love is better than falling in love” and I am in tears. Yes, staying in love is better, harder, but the emotional rewards are out of this world. To be looking in the eyes of my wife of 24 years, and feel that I love her the same way, not, wait, make that “more and immeasurably deeper intensity” than I have ever loved her, is a feeling that can hardly be described.
    Our walk of married life has NOT been easy. Not at all. Struggles, pains, years of deep pain for the children, issues between us, all this has been experienced by us as well as a lot of couples.
    It’s hanging on to God, and to the commitment made on wedding day, that makes all the difference. Someday, the clouds will be gone, maybe for a short time, maybe for a lot longer.
    Communicating honestly, directly, at the risk of breaking, ni our case has been the key.
    Yes, staying in love is a hard road to walk. But it leads in a place where you look at each other, and it is so beautiful that it actually hurts. You look at all the scars, and think “it is possible ? we actually made it through all that, and still madly in love, at the age of 52?” Amazing. Young couples, stay the course, communicate openly, pray daily, and you too will weather the storms.
    Thanks Julie.

  4. Brandie Mcnemar says:

    There are so many realities in marriage, and if you go into it thinking there are n’t going to be any then you are dreaming. I found that once you embrace those realities then it becomes so great. We have been reading Radical Marriage and it’s been a great book for us. It’s always a fresh look at your marriage and that’s why we find a book to read on marriage. The author is David Steele and his site is radicalmarriage.com. Excellent read!

  5. Howard Williamson says:

    I had a fantastic marriage of 44-1/2 years to a marvelous woman with three beautiful children – and three grandchildren. We were both committed Christians, and we enjoyed a very close physical relationship as well. Sadly, and it was the hardest time I could ever imagine – I lost her to cancer in 2009. I have been led by God to marry another committed Christian woman who had lost her spouse to the same cancer about 1-1/2 years earlier. She was also led by God to me, and we immediately knew that we were to be married in God’s plan. We are approaching our 4th anniversary 5 months and we know that God’s desire for us is to enjoy each other fully, each with the same desires, likes and dislikes – even to what we order off a menu. (Which, BTW, is exactly what my late wife and I did in restaurants.) We, each talk about and still love our lost spouses, and honor them. But, I can tell you that at 73 and 68 that an active sex life is a wonderful gift from God and something we thoroughly enjoy very frequently. But, one thing I can say is that we both had good marriages and were committed to the marriage and we know that it does take some work, but we are both experienced at making a good marriage. We’re looking forward to an active life – in all aspects – until we are past 100 years old.

  6. LatterDay Marriage says:

    Some of those are among the things I love about being married. I would have to do all that boring stuff anyway, but it is so much nicer to have her at my side when doing it. Going out grocery shopping together is quality time together. The emotional high of falling in love has turned into something way better. A solid and durable relationship that I wouldn’t trade for anything, and I don’t mind if it is us against the world because with her I feel up to the challenge.

  7. m says:

    ….We like to use the “mundane things to pull us closer, such as using laundry day as a form of clothed fore play, or to start a deep discussion,such as when I take apart something and relate how the complexity of the device reminds me of the complexity we are made with, and how we as husband and wife had better get and remain excited about the complexities of each other and our marriage. These “complexities” are in actuality miracles, and I for one am CONSTANTLY amazed and humbeled by them.
    M

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