The Truth About Marriage: Most Days are Very Ordinary

Truth.About.Marriage

 

For the majority of my twenties I was the single girl in a group of mainly married friends. Thursday nights we’d  all squeeze onto an over-sized sofa to watch The Office and most weekends we would meet up at the beach on Saturday afternoons. In between passing bags of Kettle chips back and forth, the girls and I flipped through magazines and chatted, while the boys invented games using seaweed and driftwood as markers in the sand. I never felt left out or “less like an adult” because I didn’t come with a significant other.

That is until it was time to leave.

I watched as they hopped into their cars, two-by-two, and drove away together.

I sat in my white Honda with the sunroof down and felt the twinge of sadness that sets in when you realize, I’m going home alone.

Somehow I had imagined my married friends driving home together having incredible conversations; discussing everything that had just happened and responding with active listening skills. Upon arriving at their driveway, I pictured them walking through the door hand-in-hand, having magical moments as they talked in the kitchen and then cuddling up on the sofa, before crawling into bed together.

Now, four years later and 8 months into marriage I can confidently say that I had some unrealistic expectations about marriage.

The truth about marriage is most days are very, very ordinary.

Someone has to take out the trash. Someone has to put gas in the car. Someone has to make the bed. And in our home, it’s whoever is the last person to get-up (which is usually me). There are towels to fold and emails that are waiting for replies. Some days someone is tired, or someone else is stressed and the conversation doesn’t get beyond who is going to the bank? did you call the doctor? And who is going to the airport to pick up the next group? As I write this now, we’re both on our computers. He’s at the table, I’m on the bed. There is no magical moment happening in the kitchen. Unless you count the stack of dishes that are patiently waiting in the sink.

Of course this is not the whole picture of marriage, but it’s definitely part of it. And I think it’s important to tell this part, less any single person is watching their married friends drive away together and still thinking that they are going off to the magical land of holy matrimony.

 

Marriage is made up of a million, mundane daily tasks. And I have found the beauty in marriage is getting to do these ordinary tasks with someone. Or for someone.

Of course there are still meaningful, long conversations, and spontaneous moments of pure fun and hand-holding while walking through the park, but I have found real intimacy through learning how to do daily life together. And I think this may be be one of marriage’s intended gifts. More than love and magical romantic moments, most of us long for intimacy with a spouse or partner.

The pastor who officiated one of my friend’s wedding a few years ago said this and it has continued to be one of my favorite pictures of marriage:

“Within marriage, you are free to fail without being rejected. You are free to succeed without causing jealousy. You are free to journey through one stage of growth to another, while drawing strength and support from your partner. You are free to face huge problems knowing that each problem will be less intimidating and more manageable because you will face it together. Marriage also allows the freedom to exchange hopes and fears and the whole gamut of feelings with one another. Such intimacy requires hard work and courage, but it is a kind of hallowed journey and, ultimately, a source of fulfillment and freedom.”

I believe this is the kind of marriage you create when you embrace the ordinary, and make time and space for intimacy to grow.

 

If you’re married what does your “ordinary” look like?

If you’re single have you ever watched married friends drive away together and thought something similar? Why is it so easy to do that?

 

Keep checking back for more posts on, The Truth about Marriage. I plan on writing from time to time and inviting other people to join in and share their perspective. You can read the first post here:

In a culture that feeds us stories of either fairy tell weddings or of marriages that crumble into messy divorces, I think its important to have places where you can tell the truth. What does real, not perfect, day-to-day marriage look like? What does loving someone with everything you got look like when a minute later you’re so frustrated wondering how on earth this is going to work? Maybe when we learn to be honest about what marriage looks like (the good, the ugly and the confusing) we’ll be less and less inclined to worship the idea of it. Marriage is wonderful, but it is certainly not a means to end. I want to tell the real story. The truth about marriage.

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15 thoughts on “The Truth About Marriage: Most Days are Very Ordinary

  1. This is a great post for marrieds (to be reminded that every relationships has an ordinary) and for singles (who, as you said, might think marriage is always like the romance movies.)

    Our ordinary is how lame our evenings can look sometimes. We usually eat together, but after that we do our own thing. Neither of us have physical touch as a love language, so we’ll sit in different rooms on our computers while we work. Sure, there are a few nights a week that we watch a tv show together or cuddle a little on the couch, but it’s more common we do our own thing.

  2. Yes, yes, yes. A hundred times yes. I get this. And I, too, had unrealistic expectations of marriage that were squashed very quickly and replaced with the reality. There can be a lot of beauty and romance in those ordinary days, but they are still, mostly….ordinary 😉

  3. I can relate to your thoughts on marriage In the first year of marriage and when we started our family it sounded a lot like what you describe. We had to make time for dates so we could have meaningful discussions. I think marriage moves through cycles and is very dynamic. The first year was a lot like you described trying to figure out who does what, how do we fit in each other’s every day schedule, in general how do we do life together. After the first year we began to make more and more time for each other and had a lot of fun. I almost didn’t want kids because I couldn’t imagine life being any better. Then we agreed to have children and we had to learn to do life again together all over but this time trying to fit the baby and then baby and toddler into our everyday life. We had our trials but we conquered them together. Around this time we really began seeking and calling on the Lord together and learned to pray aloud together, for each other. We were growing as a family and in our faith and knowledge of our Saviour. I don’t know how families do it when they don’t have Jesus as their foundation. The next stage was busy with activities for our children and we loved it even when it was a bit tiring. Seeing life through fresh eyes. Now my oldest is an Adult already living his own life and my youngest is 15. My husband and I are finding we have more and more dinners just the two of us because of their busy social lives and we are adjusting to this next stage of our marriage. This stage is still very busy with jobs, housework, home maintenance, homeschool and ministry and we have to work hard at finding time to share with each other how are day went but I imagine soon life will slow down enough that maybe we will have even more time for more meaningful discussions. I would advise making time to go on dates with each other weekly, pray together for each other each morning, hug and kiss each other before parting and follow what the Bible says about marriage.

  4. P.S. Marriage should be a place where you feel, safe, accepted and secure. We had times when our behavior wasn’t the best toward each other but we always apologized and forgave. It is not easy to humble your self when you do wrong, or to forgive when you’ve been hurt by the one you love most but it is what God asks of us. God has used our marriage to make us who He wants us to be in Him. I have learned to react with much more grace then I had in the beginning and so has my husband. God is still using our marriage to mold us into what he can use here on earth and preparing us for what he has for us in eternal life.

  5. ah this one is great too Michelle – have wanted to post something similar for a long time kinda dispelling the myths of the magical land of holy matrimony – loved this bit:

    Marriage is made up of a million, mundane daily tasks. And I have found the beauty in marriage is getting to do these ordinary tasks with someone. Or for someone.

    great post – keep on…

    [i have done a bunch of relationship/marriage related posts on my blog which you may or may not have seen as God has placed marriage hugely on my heart and a bunch of those can be found here including a whole bunch of thorts from a very varied group of married friends – http://brettfish.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/loving-your-woman-or-man-better-andor-the-art-of-marriage%5D

  6. I don’t know what any of you are talking about. My marriage looks like the rowboat scene from The Notebook all the time 🙂 JUST KIDDING!

    This was a great post. Our ordinary is pretty lame: dishes, diapers, budgets. My husband eats a bowl of oranges and makes popcorn nearly every night after the baby goes down. I love our little routines because they’re ours, but they’re not necessarily magical or fantastic 🙂

  7. –“i love our little routines because they’re ours” well said.
    Anna, maybe that’s what makes the ordinary so worth it, right?

  8. Very true. It’s amazing how ordinary life together really does become. What’s even stranger to me, now, is this season of our life with a toddler means we’re home by 7:30 every night to put her to bed. EVERY NIGHT. ha! So our life involves a lot of me sitting on the couch, playing on the computer while he’s somewhere in the house reading or playing music. Still good, but would make a very uninteresting romantic movie! 🙂

  9. When I watch my married friends drive away,it is specifically the normal mundane togetherness that I am wistful bout, not the magical journey through a bed of roses.

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