The Truth About Making Marriage Work

Close-up Of Hands With Golden Wedding Rings

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary and as I started thinking about what I would write on the blog – what words of sage wisdom I would provide on how we make our marriage work – I came up empty. The truth is, after eight years I’m not at all sure how we make our marriage work.

A woman I worked with once told me there were “hard years” in a marriage. I was 20-something, newly engaged and had stars in my eyes about what our life would be like.

I thought we would be different, like everyone does. We were so often on the same wave length in terms of life’s decisions and direction, I knew it wouldn’t be perfect but didn’t think hard was the right word to describe it…and I was right. In the really difficult years, “hard” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

I know we’ve had times where both of us have wanted to give up. I know we’ve had times where we strongly disliked each other and we’ve both questioned it.

In those times, I’ve found that marriage is very much about going through the motions. At the end of the day do we just deal with life because separated is messy, hard, painful and too much work when we’re both exhausted from the everyday of it all?

But maybe going through the motions IS really what it’s all about. Packing up the kids in the morning, driving off to school and work, calling each other when you’re on your way home, eating dinner together, putting the kids to sleep…within those motions, you find normal.

In those motions you find everyday life and you get to a place where after a big fight there is a thaw. You get to a spot when whatever it is you were mad over lets go of you, and you can communicate again.

From there you build it again and again because that’s what marriage, love and life are about. And that life is what you make together- in good times and bad, in sickness and health.

Making a marriage work isn’t always about it being a fairy tale. In fact, it’s usually not and anyone who says their marriage is, is probably lying.

It’s about the peaks and valleys, and more often than both of those, the flat landscapes that you end up walking together. Somewhere deep down, even when you’re mad, you know it’s better than walking them alone.

Eight years isn’t a lifetime, but it sure is a pretty good start and I feel like we’re just starting to find a natural rhythm to our life together. We’re past the point of trying to conceive and welcoming more babies into our home, we have lived in our house for seven years through major renovation projects, we no longer have babies per say and we have both been headed down a specific path for employment for awhile now. With all those things behind us it feels like we are entering a new phase of life where we can stop waiting for the next thing to happen and just live.

So while most days I can’t tell you how we do it – I can’t tell you how I survived him being completely introverted or how he has survived me making every, little thing into a project or how we survived the death of a child – maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe the how isn’t really important at all. The point is that we have survived and we have done it together.

After eight years in, for us marriage has been about working through the worst times, wading in the mediocre moments and finding the love underneath it all again and again.


  1. Marriage is definitely work and so many people give up too easily. I am divorced and it was the best thing in the world for both of us – we ended up with the people we were supposed to be with.

  2. It’s a lot of work and it’s definitely not rainbows and butterflies. I think it’s all about finding the person who wants to work it out regardless of what you’re both going through!

  3. I am happy I am with my husband but there are times and days where everything is not perfect but it can never be perfect all the time. I hope you get through your tough times and make it for many more years.

  4. “With all those things behind us it feels like we are entering a new phase of life where we can stop waiting for the next thing to happen and just live.”


    My husband and I are only 4.5 years into our marriage, but we’re starting to feel this in certain aspects of our marriage. I aspire to hit that point where we’re in a groove like you mention, and even though it’s hard work, it’s worth it.

  5. Wow, I could have written this myself. We’ve got two young kids and are pretty much going through the motions right now. We are still madly in love with each other, but we’re both TIRED. He will still be there when I’m less tired. Until then, going through the motions is good enough.

  6. I don’t know that there really are any real tips and tricks aside from remembering you chose each other for a reason and sometimes you just have to get through the days. Yes, sometimes times are hard and sometimes they are easier but if you can get through them together you can stay together.

  7. It’s true that marriage is not a fairy tale, but it’s easy for some people to go into marriage hoping it will be that way. I love your honesty in this piece! Marriage can be fun, but it’s also a lot of work.

    I once heard from a very wise person that choosing to ‘do the next right thing’ can help you get through rough patches in your relationship and sustain your love and commitment to each other.

  8. We have two little kids so the days are often very long and we are just trying to keep our head above water. Marriage is hard, but I feel like we are in the trenches right now and we will come out stronger than ever. I chose him for a reason and I have to remember that everyday.

  9. There area difficult years and times when I actually really dislike my husband, and the it passes and we have great times as well. Marriage is cyclical I think!

  10. Though I am not married, my significant other and I have dealt with many hard times and there has been times were it felt like we weren’t going to make it through those times together but somehow we learned to lean on each other not pull apart.

  11. This – “After eight years in, for us marriage has been about working through the worst times, wading in the mediocre moments and finding the love underneath it all again and again.”

    We celebrated 8 years this year, too, and I relate to this so much! Happy Anniversary!

  12. There is no perfect happily ever after marriage. Everyone has their struggles and some even ahve their daily ups and downs, its just normal. The best thing is to just keep trying and believing in each other.

  13. Looking back at our 12 year marriage and I think so far some of the worst times were the first couple of years – so far. Marriage is so far from easy and is a constant state of work.

  14. I’m not married, but I’ve been in a relationship for five years, living together for two, and I already believe you 100%!! Life is hard, marriage is no different. So glad to hear a real and raw story of marriage. It’s work!

  15. We never went into marriage thinking it was easy and I think that has helped us in more ways then we know, Even though we are currently going through the motions, there is no place my husband and I would rather be!

  16. You have some really great tips there. I would like to add that selection of your partner is the most important item on the list of making a marriage work – I have made the mistake of marrying someone who has narcissistic tendencies, and if I would not have been as naive as I was as a very young woman, I would have seen the signs of mental illness in his extended family. So, be careful with your selection, keep working on your marriage, and make sure you still maintain your financial independence as a safety net. Blessings!

  17. You are so right, making a marriage work is hard work. I think a lot of people are in love with the idea of being in love but don’t want to put in the work or have the patience to make their relationship last for the long haul.

  18. For us it’s really about great communication. You never know when something that feels silly to you might be very significant to your partner so it’s a great idea to just share everything. I get so frustrated when my husband doesn’t tell me things that happened during the day and then I am clueless when we revisit places together and he never introduced the person acting like they know my family. It takes solid efforts on both sides!


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