How Hard Should You Have To Work On Your Marriage?

Prior to getting hitched, I repeatedly heard that marriage is hard work. However, there were some people who divulged that it can be fun work. The latter comment made me feel more at ease with the idea of getting married, as I didn’t quite understand the type of work that was required to sustain a marriage. The less daunting it sounded, the better.

It wasn’t until I moved in with my husband (after we got engaged) that I really noticed how different our behaviors were, thus making the “work” we had ahead of us more apparent.

I like eating in the bed; he’s concerned about bugs. I would rather park in the garage; he believes it’s solely for storage. And let’s not forget the popular toothpaste tube debate: I like mine crinkled while he likes to squeeze from the bottom up.

Nothing is wrong with our respective behaviors as they are mainly attributed to our upbringing; however, these differences bred many compromises that weren’t always easily achieved.

I admit that we’ve learned a lot about each other through our dissimilarities and it has been work in creating a balanced household. Fortunately, we haven’t hit a point in our relationship that would cause us to throw in the towel. For others, though, the work can truly be too much.

Recently, The Real Housewives of Atlanta star Cynthia Bailey filed for divorce from her husband of six years, Peter Thomas. In an interview on The Steve Harvey Show, Bailey mentioned that she initiated the breakup. According to the reality star, “I just got tired of working on my marriage.” Aside from that big issue, she also mentioned that she and Peter lost sight of their friendship throughout their marriage.

At what point did she truly get tired of working on her relationship? (Maybe it was after he was caught getting too close to a woman at his bar?) Is there a breaking point and if so, what is it? I’m sure it’s different for everyone, as some people can’t get past infidelity while other struggles to work through major differences such as their financial habits or opinions on family planning.

I’m currently watching Season 2 of the Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce in which the main character and her estranged husband were trying to work things out. Their attempt at reconciliation consisted of trying to balance sex with the rehashing of old arguments and lingering feelings. They ultimately realized that their differences were too much to handle and decided to continue on their path to divorce.

Watching this all unfold, I couldn’t help but wonder why they couldn’t try harder. Yes, it’s television, but these characters’ situation paints an accurate picture of of the reality of everyday couples. Does working harder mean going to counseling? Could have Bailey and Thomas have found that long-lost friendship if they had taken a break from reality TV? Or do couples sometimes just need to give up?

I would hear of couples who were married for 20-plus years throwing in the towel and I couldn’t help but think, “Geez, you’ve been together that long, why give up now?” But then I realized that they could have given up 10 years prior and just stuck it out begrudgingly for the last 10.

Yes, marriage is hard work. What keeps me and my husband going is our shared goal of truly wanting to make it last for the long term. We make an effort to discuss any and everything that bothers us and if we cannot come to a resolution or a situation keeps occurring, we decided that we would be open to counseling. We will do everything in our power to maintain our relationship because, in the end, we truly do want to make it work.

But sometimes, there is no longer a reason to. In her interview with Steve Harvey, Bailey said that she didn’t have peace in her marriage. In life, that is something that we should all strive for and hopefully you can experience peace in a life-long relationship.