I have never believed in the idea that marriage should be work. Work is work and it’s not fun. Marriage should be fun. This does not mean that marriages do not require effort but if you really love your partner and they love you, the effort will be worth it and the energy that flows from it, contagiously awesome. And yes, I realize that ‘contagiously’ may not be a real word. Moving right along…
Whether or not you agree with my view that marriage should not be work, surely you will agree that there is a such thing as putting too much work trying to keep one afloat. The question is, how do you know that your marriage is too much work? What are the signs?
Let’s walk through 5 of them.
Sign 1 – You are consistently talking on eggshells: If you cannot talk to your spouse without constant worry about how your words will be received, you are working too hard. Talking on eggshells strips you of your individuality. It also makes moving forward impossible.
Think about it: Eventually you are talking so gingerly that you will never be able to have the difficult, substantive discussions necessary to solve your marriage issues.
Sign 2 – You rationalize the negatives: When your spouse is verbally abusive, you make excuses for them. When your friends raise concerns about the fact that you don’t seem yourself, you chalk it up to everything except the real problem. In short, you are not happy and you are hiding your true feelings with lies and rationalization. It’s even worse when you don’t realize that you’re doing it.
Think about it: As long as you rationalize, you ignore. As long as you ignore, you remove any possibility of addressing issues.
Sign 3 – You are getting physically ill: There are countless articles that speak to the fact that a bad marriage can, in fact, kill you. Here’s one. Here’s another. The fact is, if you are suffering from heart disease, depression or high blood pressure and you are working hard in your marriage, you are likely working way too hard. Love should make you stronger, not weaker.
Think about it: If your marriage is so much work that it makes you physically ill, there won’t be a healthy you if the marriage ever gets to solid ground.
Sign 4 – You are rarely yourself: In any relationship, particularly a marriage, you should never have to compromise who you are. And yet, you find yourself being someone else in order to survive, to make things work. When marriages begin to sour, it can be dangerously common for us to morph into someone else as a coping mechanism. Megan was the epitome of calm her entire life but is now constantly irritable. Ellen has become a woman of a few words around her friends and colleagues, largely because her negative home life has sucked the wind out of her. These are two women who have worked hard to the point that they have compromised who they are.
Think about it: Once you compromise who you are for the sake of the relationship, it is not a real-ationship because the real you is absent from it.
Sign 5 – A lack of reciprocation: The clearest sign that your marriage is too much work is that you are putting forth the lions share of it. In love and marriage, both spouses should want a strong, consistent and meaningful relationship. When things are broken, those same spouses (plural) must work towards resolution.
Think about it: If you’re the only one working, you have become the very definition of a one-sided marriage.