Marriage as a Relationship

As one of the few married students on campus, a lot of my friends ask me what marriage is like. My generic, and honest, response is usually this: it’s like living with your best friend: 90% of the time it’s super cool, and 10% of the time it’s either trying not to kill them because they did something that made you unreasonably mad or just needing a second to yourself. After a year of explaining it this way, I’ve given it a bit more thought and the result is the following proposition: marriage is first and foremost just a relationship.

I know what you’re thinking… of course marriage is a relationship. And yes, I know. But what I mean is that the mechanisms of maintaining a marriage are the same as maintaining a friendship with a family member or loved one.

It takes effort, it’s not always fun, there will be disagreements, and there will be bad days.

It takes compromise, trust, communication, and a mutual desire to maintain the relationship.

It is the most beautiful part of your life, and the most painful.

Relationships are multifaceted, tenuous structures predicated on history, emotions, and external factors like distance, stressors on individuals, and circumstance. Most simply put, they are the result of two individuals’ consistent decisions to make room and time for each other. And if you love each other, the effort it worth it.

The point is this: romantic relationships take on dimensions and depth that most relationships don’t. The nuances of having a significant other come from trying to maintain different types of relationships with one person. They are your friend, your family, your lover, your team mate, and everything in between. That’s a lot of dynamics and trying to balance them all makes the relationship more dynamic than others. So much so that it’s easy to forget that marriage (and other forms of dating) is in the simplest explanation just a relationship. And remembering that makes it a lot easier to manage, refine, and sustain.