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What is Marriage Really Like?

Updated on October 14, 2018
VVanNess profile image

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, blogger at Healthy at Home, and educator. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

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It's hard to define in specific words what marriage is like for everybody. Just like each person is an individual, each relationship is too. All I can share with you is the general feeling of being married, and what marriage has been like for me.

As at least 59% of the population is marrying every year, and at some point in their lives 95% of the population has been married, it's obvious that marriage is still highly desired. It’s still the dream and desire of most men and women to get married one day. Couples are still getting engaged in droves, and wedding venues are doing better economically than many businesses out there.

I obviously cannot speak for everyone. There are still marriages happening every day due to unexpected pregnancies, there are still arranged marriages that both parties may not be happy with, and there are still marriages because couples just felt like it was the next step in the relationship and therefore the right thing to do. Although many of these marriages do work out and become healthy and happy unions, thankfully most marriages are still by choice and for love.

I realize that different countries and different cultures may have different beliefs and traditions regarding marriage. By no means do I mean to negate or offend any of them in this article, only to offer hope and some peace of mind to couples getting married. But overall, even in those marriages that happen for less than ideal reasons, marriage is wonderful. It's hard work, it takes effort and time, but in the end, you have someone to hike the mountains of life with. Even if this person can be the biggest pain in your butt sometimes, they are also your best friend and confidant.

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Love

Imagine unconditional love; someone that loves and accept you no matter what. I imagine we've all had to experience trying to fit in, wanting someone to like us and want to be our friend, and being willing to give anything we had to in order to be wanted and accepted. I think this is called high school.

If you experience this wonderful feeling at home with your parents or your siblings, this might not sound so foreign to you. But for many of us, we are still seeking this kind of love and acceptance all the way through adulthood.

My Experience

I remember first meeting my husband and how awkward I was. I knew that I was tired of guys faking it, trying to be what I wanted, and trying to change me into what they were looking for. I just wanted someone to enjoy me for who I was. And it looked like I had finally found the man I had so been looking for. He was amazing. I didn't want to complain, I didn't want to cause any problems, and most of all I didn't want to look stupid.

But no sooner did I trip, stutter, spill something on myself, or make some awful sound, did he come to my rescue and do something even worse. Even from the very first date, it’s like he read my mind and wanted to make me feel better. (I cry as I write this, because ten years later he's still this incredible man.)

The Truth

Marriage is finding that unconditional love. This person loves you, has accepted you, and admires you so much that he wants you to be a part of his world for the rest of his life. I felt like I had finally found someone that truly understood me.

He has supported my dreams, encouraged me to pursue what really made me happy, and is a light of focus and hope in my life. Every day I work hard to give him even a little of the happiness he has brought me. He makes me want to return that love 150%.

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Friendship

In marriage, you gain a best friend for life. When you’re in a long term relationship, you become very close. You share your day with this person, you share your ups and your downs, you likely ask advice from this person, and cry on his shoulder. Not that you don’t have other friends that you talk to or confide in, but this person becomes your best friend.

I remember the day when my husband told me that I was his best friend. He said that he felt like he could share anything with me, even stuff that he would be embarrassed to share with any of his guy friends. He said he truly felt like he had a partner in life. Talk about swooning!

I feel the same way about him. I talk to him about everything, even those things I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone else. This is the person that you hang out with, throw parties with, talk to, confide in, get advice from, and know will have your back at any time. I know that I could call my husband for anything and he would be there. What makes a better best friend!

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Respect

Marriage teaches you respect. The longer I'm with my husband more I am in awe of his amazing moral character and strong values. Sometimes this is because of some of the awe-inspiring sounds he makes, or the magnitude to which he can shock me.

This man knows me better than I feel like I know myself sometimes. He knows exactly what to tell me to make feel better, can help me out with my work and give me truly valuable advice, and treats me as an equal. He works hard to be the bread-winner and provide for us, and takes it upon himself to be the moral leader of our relationship as well.

Not only does he trust me enough to come to me for advice, help with his work, and confide in me as his wife, but he can also step back and stand up to me when he feels like something should be handled better. He’s always trying to do what’s right. He’s a strong leader in the community, he’s hard working and responsible, he’s honest and reliable, and he makes me proud just to be near him when we are in public.

He makes me want to be a better person. I have a great deal of respect for him.

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Accountability

A good book for you to read to expound on this specific topic is Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. In his book the author presents the idea that marriage is not necessarily to make us happy, but to make us better people.

In marriage, you are opening up yourself to be known inside and out by someone else better than you’ve ever been known in your life. They will see not only all of the wonderful things about you, but also all of the negative. Marriage makes you accountable for your actions.

What typically happens is that your partner may casually question something you’ve done, like not putting your dishes in the sink when you are done, and this is where it begins. You have a choice to make. You can either accept the criticism, talk to him about it and come to a compromise you are both happy with, or you can get upset.

Normally, this turns into an argument in the beginning. It takes a little bit of time and a lot of humility to be able to accept criticism from the one that you love. Instead of taking it like an attack, you have to slowly come to realize that he loves you and is only trying to help or understand you.

What’s great about this, and no one is exempt from having faults, is that the sooner you can learn to take the criticism and use it to become a better person, the stronger your relationship will become, and the better you’ll become overall. Accountability is a very good thing when tempered with lots of love. Everyone needs a little accountability in their lives.

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Recognition

One of the greatest things about marriage is that from the wedding day on, you always have a cheerleader. This is not only the person that know you the best, your good qualities and your bad ones, but your spouse is also the person that wants the best for you.

He wants you to be treated right by everyone, hurts when you hurt, and is excited when you’re excited. He wants not only to share in everything happening in your life, but also wants to share his ups and downs with you.

No fail, when he walks in the door, my husband wants to tell me about all of the exciting things that happened to him at work. He wants me to be frustrated with him when something is going wrong, and excited with him when he succeeds. We need this. We need someone to share our feelings with, to cry with, laugh with, and celebrate with.

This is your best friend, who else would be better to do this with! Just like your mom and dad were there cheering you along on the sidelines when you were a kid, now you have a spouse doing the same thing for you. If there’s anything else I want for my husband, it’s to be happy and to find success in his life.

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Marriage is definitely a whole new experience. It is a big deal. This is why it’s so important to be patient and wait for the right person. The person you choose to spend the rest of your life with will make a huge difference in your day to day experiences, and your feelings towards life and about yourself for a lifetime.

Check out my article on Finding the Right Person in Your Life for some tips and advice on making the right choice for a spouse. You hear time and time again to marry your best friend, and it’s all true. If you marry the person that truly loves you no matter what, gives you the respect you deserve and commands willing respect from you, and obviously wants you to be happy and successful, you will reap the rewards for life.

Marriage is wonderful!

© 2013 Victoria Van Ness

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