the most beautiful experiences in life always seem to feature some challenges. there’s probably not just a one-answer-fits-all here; instead of trying to provide that, here are three of the hardest parts of marriage. did you know that you have limitations and that there’s a stopping point to all the things you can accomplish and get done? so, there’s something paradoxical going on here: people confess to knowing that they have limitations, but when face to face with one of their limitations, they crumble. and this begins to illuminate why being shown your limitations is one of the hardest parts of marriage. related to the hardship about limitations is the discovery one makes in a marriage that they’re not always in control. part of why people enjoy non-married life so much is because their sense that they have full control remains intact. it’s what happens when two individuals with complete say over their lives enter into a “partnership of say,” so to speak.
to be clear, it’s not that in marriage you go from having the control to being controlled. almost always at the bottom of the story of your anger, sadness or fear is a past wound. it’s easy to miss that this is happening, however, because of the difference between primary and secondary emotions. if you’re married or have been in a very close relationship before, then you know that this is close to unavoidable—eventually, someone will get one of their earliest wounds rubbed up against. it’s not exactly precise, however, to say that marriage triggers your deepest wounds. in the process, your deepest wounds, scars, and traumas tend to move to the surface, perfectly placed for being triggered. core to every flourishing marriage is a commitment to the hard work of getting to know who you are—learning your triggers, understanding your wounds, and discovering how these experiences make up who you are. looking for tips on building a flourishing marriage and the tools to make it work?
and frankly, among the people who used to argue that is myself. vedantam: the hollywood version of this story portrays cleopatra and antony as being very much in love, but stephanie paints a slightly different picture. if you were a peasant, you wanted somebody who had a good reputation as a hard worker, and that was much more important than this – frivolous luxury is the way it was really thought of – as how attracted you were to the person. this is the first glimmers, if you will, of the idea that in some ways love was coming to conquer marriage. but as the divorce rate in america surged in the 1970s and ’80s, many started to think that what you should look for in a mate was not your opposite but someone who shared your interests and values. and that’s one of the big challenges of love today because we spent a hundred years trying to get people to see difference as erotic and the source of love. and for the first time, you start to see cases where people would say, as i think liz gilbert would say, that she was in a loving marriage, and he was a good man and treated her well. and if our marriage is falling short, many of us consider it to be a reasonable option to end the marriage for that alone. and the advantage of thinking of maslow’s hierarchy as a mountain in this way is that it brings to mind a number of metaphors related to mountaineering. and so the book talks a lot about how we can in fact align what we’re asking of the marriage with what the marriage is realistically able to offer us. and this is the idea that a given means can serve multiple goals. today, we’re looking for a spouse to bring out the ideal version of us, the latent version that’s inside of us that we can hopefully grow into with enough time and effort.
and sometimes the version of you that you want to grow into isn’t the version of you that i want you to grow into. vedantam: so of course, eli, when we hear this and we’re thinking about this in the context of marriage, why wouldn’t we all want to grow pinot? and i would say a whole lot of people might not want to deal with something that fragile and delicate. and i – frankly, i think that the reason i had a hard time is the sort of stuff that i’m talking about in the book. and one of the major ways i did it was by recalibrating my expectations, yes, but also reinvesting in a way that made sure that i was more connected to my wife than we had been. and one of the hacks that you suggest is to reinterpret negative behavior from your partner in a way that’s more sympathetic rather than critical. well, it turns out there’s a lot of good research now on the extent to which people feel like compatability in a relationship is something that is fixed. and i’m chronically a little disappointed about how we do as a couple in helping to fulfill the sort of need. but that’s a lot of eggs to put in that one basket, and when the market goes down, we’re going to get hit pretty hard. vedantam: you say that you and alison have developed a shorthand of sorts for the times that you want to communicate affection but are starved of time. and what was neat about the way we used the phrase belly full of wine is it was able to contain, like, a whole terabyte of information about love and respect and affection in this, like, one-second phrase. if you have a child, you may know her as the host of the storytelling podcast circle round.
leila miller’s book contains a goldmine of wisdom from couples who have walked a really difficult road, sometimes together, but often apart, according to relationship therapist aimee hartstein, lcsw, as it turns out, the first year really is the hardest—even if you’ve already lived we all know that marriage is hard. there’s something undeniably profound about two people committing themselves to the other, isn’t there?, most difficult years of marriage, most difficult years of marriage, is marriage hard for everyone, why is marriage so hard after baby, things to do first year of marriage.
altogether, marriage is tough and comes with many challenges overtime. at the same time, marriage can be extremely rewarding and beneficial to one’s life. if marriage is hard — and there are signs it’s become even harder in recent decades. we examine how long-term relationships have changed, hands down, this is the best piece of marriage advice i have ever received: every single day is a choice to stay married. on any given day,, 50 reasons to stay married, first month of marriage, reasons to stay married or get divorced, first year of marriage during covid.
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