Marriage isn’t always easy.
But to be honest, I think marriage is a lot easier than dating.
At least, it is for us.
Of course, we still “date” in marriage. We go out, we stay in, we seek adventures together.
But when I say marriage is easier than dating, I mean that everything finally fell into place and according to plan when we got married.
That’s a cliché thought, but it’s true.
Since we first started dating, marriage was always our goal (when you know, you know). Whether it was reading books, talking to married couples, or attending premarital counseling sessions, we prepared as best as we could for marriage. Our role models have healthy marriages, and it was evident to us that nothing is more powerful than a fully-committed couple.
Therefore, we looked at dating as training for marriage.
And it was difficult.
During our two years of dating, we debated everything: career dreams, parenting styles, political views, spiritual beliefs, etc. We set physical boundaries until marriage. Driving back and forth to each other’s place was annoying. Insecurity surrounded us at the smallest mishaps. We didn’t like saying goodbye or being on family trips without each other. Living together was a total mystery. We weren’t taken seriously by community members because we were “just dating” and “could still break up at any time.”
Don’t get me wrong: we are thankful for those dating challenges that prepared us for the healthy and loving marriage we have today. It was while dating when we learned (sometimes the hard way) how to resolve conflicts, listen to each other’s Love Languages, and make sacrifices. We had to let go of selfish tendencies in order to mold into one super awesome unit. (And that’s not an easy thing to do).
The more time we spent failing and succeeding in “dating life,” the more we felt ready for marriage:
Ready to be sexually intimate. Ready to share finances. Ready to have a home together. It was difficult to be ready, yet at the same time, be too young to do anything about it.
While we waited and trained for our next big step together, people always warned us, “marriage isn’t easy.” We understood that to a certain extent, but we also couldn’t wait to try it out ourselves.
When we finally got married after graduating from college, it felt like a breath of fresh air. We reached our goal. Our hard work paid off.
Throughout our first year of marriage, we saw our previous problems dissolve. No longer did we need to worry about physical boundaries. We didn’t have to say goodbye. Members of our community weren’t condescending or thinking our relationship was, “cute.”
We could finally be considered a “real couple” in society.
As husband and wife, we patiently waited for new problems to arrive, and we were prepared to attack anything together as a team. But to our surprise, no challenges arose – at least not to the extent of our dating ones.
Of course as a married couple, we bicker about dinner plans, my deep love of Target runs, and TV shows. But to us, these are little things compared to the major annoyances of dating.
Dating felt like a long, tough (but rewarding) climb up a mountain, marriage feels like the victory. Because of this, we believe as long as we continue to use what we learned while dating, marriage will always feel like our light at the end of a tunnel.
The more time we spend together as Mr. & Mrs., the more benefits of marriage we discover.
Together, we combine incomes for traveling & fun dates.
Together, we plan – without the fear of loving someone too much.
Together, items are “ours” instead of “his/mine”
Together, we compliment our different strengths and weakness
Together, we create our home.
Together, we are a family.
Dating can be difficult. Marriage can be difficult.
But this past year was so much easier than the two years dating, training long and hard for this wonderful marriage we want to last forever. After all, nothing beats happily ever after with your best friend. ❤
Photos by Megan Talbert Photography