Two thoughts have been on my mind lately:
1. Marriage is hard
2. That’s okay
Wait what? What am I talking about? It’s a piece of cake for you? Well, that’s great for you, freak couples. But for the rest of the world, sometimes it ain’t easy.
For those that may be reading this and are un-married, replace the word “marriage” with “relationships,” because marriage is a type of relationship after all.
I’m not planning on diving deep into my own personal marital struggles here, but I just wanted to share a few thoughts that resulted in a song I recently wrote. Now I certainly don’t claim to be any expert on marriage. I’m just a guy that’s been married for 9 years, which is not long at all from an eternal perspective. But at the same time, it’s pretty hard to believe it’s been that long already. And I’ve got so much more to learn.
There are a million reasons why marriage and relationships can struggle. Personality differences, goal differences, family-of-origin differences, misunderstandings, communication errors, innate men and women physical brain differences (hilarious), financial conflicts, children conflicts, trust issues, habits, how he does the dishes, how you do the dishes, why doing the dishes my way is better, why do you shove all of the dishes to one side of the sink and pile them a mile high and leave sticky pots and pans out to “soak” but only fill it up halfway causing me to have to spend 15 minutes scrubbing the top half of each pot when it could have just been filled to the top to soak and I wouldn’t spend so much time doing dishes…..
Ok, got a little carried away there. But for those of you that are married, or in any sort of relationship, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Not too long ago, I overheard a friend say that she and her husband were having some marital struggles that started to result in some “heated discussions” at home. With disbelief in her face and fear in her voice, she said, “I got so worried that something was wrong with us and we might have to start going to counseling!” This idea seemed to terrify her, as if it was the worst thing that could happen to her and her husband. At the time, I didn’t say anything. But if I could say something now, it would be, “So what? What’s wrong with counseling? That’s what it’s there for, to help.” Just because couples go to counseling does not mean there is something wrong with them. It just means they love and care enough about each other to reach out to someone who can not only help heal or mend their relationship, but make it stronger than it could ever be on it’s own.
But I share that story simply to say that there seems to be a pressure out there in the world to be perfect. And if there is the slightest sign that you’re not perfect, or that there is some sign of struggle, everyone around you will judge you (And most likely, they are, because everyone judges a little too quickly and I’ve just learned not to care so much about what others think of me). Most people in a relationship, marital or other, are struggling in some way.
I think we need to learn to overcome this idea that it’s a bad thing to have relationship struggles. That something is wrong. That everyone else seems so happy and you seem to be the only ones that struggle with this or that.
If you’re struggling in your marriage, or whatever relationship you are in, I say you’re doing something right. Is that too bold? I don’t think so. As long as you can keep your head up and your eyes forward, bring the struggles on.
My song, Something Will Change, is about how to accept and deal with the struggles we all face in our marriages or in our relationships in a positive way. It’s speaks of how to broaden our perspective beyond whatever issue might be right in front of our face at the moment, and keep ourselves focused on where we’re going, what we’re learning, why we love our spouse (or partner), and why that is more important than any struggle you may have.
Someone once said, “Never let a problem to be solved be more important than the person to be loved.”
It may sound cliche, and is much easier said than done, but more than anything I think it’s important to always try to remain positive. Nothing can tear us down quicker than ourselves. Our own attitude can be the determining factor on how much we choose to suffer.
As a wise man and prophet once said, “Carry on. Things will work out. If you keep trying and praying and working, things will work out. They always do. If you want to die at an early age, dwell on the negative. Accentuate the positive, and you’ll be around for a while.” (Gordon B. Hinckley, Go Forward with Faith, pg. 423)
He has also said, “It isn’t as bad as you sometimes think it is. It all works out. Don’t worry. I say that to myself every morning. It will all work out. If you do your best, it will all work out.”(Jordan Utah South regional conference, priesthood session, 1 Mar. 1997)
Now it may not work out the way you think, or how you had planned your life. But it will work out. Whatever struggles you may be going through, no matter how severe, know that it will work out. In the end, it will all be alright.
Here is the song:
And here are the lyrics: