Being Married Is Tough, Yo

I'm trying to contain my Monday posts to marriage-related material. Of course last week was an epic fail in that regard. Oops. Nevertheless, new week, new month, new goal. And you know me, I like goals. So, on to today's marriage-related material.

I have a friend who just got engaged. She was talking to me the other day about some of her fears that come with getting married. I tried to really reassure her that it isn't as scary as I thought it would be. I went through the same thing before I got married, even though I knew I wanted to marry A.P. I mean, it's frightening to commit yourself in such a big way, despite the fact that, in the end, you're still doing the same boring sh*t. It got me thinking, though, because regardless of the silliness and love, being married is different. And parts of it are hard. So here's my quick list of what is tough about being married. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

- Boy clean versus girl clean. The eternal cleaning fight, I think, often comes down to gender specific definitions of clean. Please note gentlemen that stacking things in one spot is NOT cleaning. That's called piling

- Giving up on some dreams. That same friend and I were talking about this, too. We were saying how when you decide to commit yourself to someone, especially in a marriage, you do it knowing you will have to give up on some dreams. I'll never move to Montreal and eat poutine all day and night. Not unless A.P. suddenly masters French and loses his job.

- Financial futures. 'nough said. Who the hell ever contemplated retirement funds so seriously before? If you did, you're a better man than me.

- Pregnant pauses. Remember when you prayed away all your babies? "God, I hope I'm not pregnant," or "Please, God, don't let me be pregnant." Now, you pray you are pregnant. Well, some of us, anyway. Not me. Not yet.

- Taxes. We put a huge dent in our joint savings because we got slammed by the man. I just asked A.P. what he thought was hardest about being married, and he rather quickly replied, "Tax penalties." Tru dat, A.P. TRU DAT.

- Fighting fair. It's so easy to make personal slams when you're in a relationship. When you're married, it gets scarier. "Will he hate me forever if I call him a dillweed to his face?" Good Lord, I hope not.

- Responsibility to another person. When you're single, it's easy to only think about yourself. And when you're in a relationship, it's still easy to brush off the other person because you're not bound to the person forever. When you're married, it's impossible to be selfish. Everything you do is connected somehow to another person. It's scary and wonderful, and yes, sometimes really annoying. It reminds me of that Louis C.K. joke where he talks about how when you're single, you think, "I can't leave her. That's terrible. I can't do that." And then when you're married, you think, "I could have left!" Louis C.K. is so wise, but I'm still grateful I didn't leave.

- Laying your cards out on the table. In a marriage, you have to be honest. About everything (well serious things, anyway). Anything else leads to nowhere good. For some people, that's the hardest thing. But hopefully, most of us are at a point where that fear of sharing subsides and you're left with a feeling that if you don't share, you'll explode. Sometimes, I over-share. Better to over-share, than under-share, in my humble opinion.

- Being there for the other person in ways you can't possibly imagine. I never pictured how I would deal with A.P.'s mother passing away. Or how he would deal with my deep depression after I lost my job last summer. Those are things you know will happen, but you don't factor into the big picture. They're also the things that change your relationship. One of my favorite quotes about marriage is actually from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. After Robert (Ray's brother) and Amy celebrate their 3 month wedding anniversary, they invite everyone over for dinner. They also start doling out marriage advice. A fight breaks out, and Marie (Ray's mother), in an effort to set all of them straight says this:

Marie: We’ve been married 46 hears. We’ve seen the lows and we’ve seen the highs.

Frank: What day was the high?

Marie: (to Amy and Robert) You two, you’re newlyweds. You’re in love. God bless you, you know nothing. (to Debra and Ray) And you two, you’re always fighting. And the reason you get so upset is because you think there’s something wrong with that. Look at us. This is experience. This is wisdom. You want some real marriage advice? I’m going to give you the secret. There’s going to be yelling. There’s going to be anger. Don’t fight it – accept it. You love him. You hate him. He disgusts you. Look how he eats (pointing to Frank). You keep your head down and you power through.

Frank: Amen.

Amy: But, Marie, you said hate. How can hate have any room in a marriage?

Marie: You make room. There’s going to be hate. Hate is real. Marriage is real. We might fight, but…we’re okay with each other. And do you know why? We’ve endured. We have been through it all. And now…

Frank: We’re waiting for death.

Marie: Not that we’re in a rush.

Frank: Fair enough.

Marie: That’s a marriage.

There are so many more things that are tough about being married and I'm certain I've not covered more than half of them. But the key to getting through them all seems to be the Marie Barone method: power through and endure.


  1. Love that sitcom :)

    OK, as you know, I'm far from being married. But I can tell you the things I think are scary about marriage.
    Actually it comes down to one thing: you're not the one who decides everything.
    As a single, you decide where you live, what you spend your money on (makeup, anyone?), what you're going to eat tonight, where you'll go on vacation. You decide, you act.
    But comes a serious relationship, and you need to play those big games with someone else, who might not share your opinion on everything.
    Are we going to live in my hometown or yours? Why wouldn't I spend that much on shoes if you spend that much on video games? Will we have a single kid or raise a footbal team? And where will they go to school? And what's a suitable punishment for our teenager who did a stupid thing? Why should we spend the holidays with your mother? Or paint the walls white? Will you support me if I hate that job and decide to quit?

    Someone has their saying in every big decision you need to make, you're not on your own deciding anymore.

    But well, you're not on your own anymore at all :) I guess that's worth the discussions/fights and compromises.

    (Let me know if I sound like a naive idealist)

  2. You don't sound like a naive idealist at all! Those are all the things that are annoying about being in a relationship. I was extraordinarily independent, and still am. I've made some adjustments, but mostly, I landed a guy who is okay with that. And I think that's the key.

  3. great post marty i love it. i am coming back to read again when it's not so late.
    mob: you sound exactly like me a few years ago! that is why i waited so long to get married. and honestly, if you pick the right person, when it comes time to make some of (not all) those decisions you will gladly compromise because it's the right thing to do for the team and it feels good. you won't even mind. right marty j? i think she said the same thing.

  4. I think landing a guy who's ok with who you are is the only way to go. Someone who can't handle the real you will never stay around your whole life, I guess.


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