A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a comment asking me what some of the struggles of marriage are. “Obviously, blending two lives into one cannot be easy at times,” she wrote. “Marriage is an amazing sacrament, and I hope to one day be called to mirror Christ’s love in the world through the sacrament of marriage. However, I think us single gals out there need to know some of the areas you really worked as an individual and as a couple to prepare for, along with areas you wish you had prepared more for.”
When I made my list of the joys of marriage last month, I mentioned how easy that task was. For me, listing the struggles of marriage is a little harder. Yes, “blending two lives into one is not easy at times.” Like learning to share a single bathroom sink and mirror when I want to tweeze my eyebrows and Daniel wants to shave. Or dealing with pet peeve issues, like when Daniel leaves recycling in the kitchen sink to be rinsed out “later” or I forget to turn the computer off when I’ve finished using it.
But I feel like I’m beating a dead horse with silly stuff like that. Daniel and I worked through the major stuff in the four and a half years we were together before we got married—religion, values, lifestyle, desires for the future, etc. Early on when we were dating, there was a lot to do in these areas. You can read about that in my entries from last summer and fall. Now there are, of course, the standard newlywed issues such as time (which I’ll talk about now) and money (which I talked about on 9/3).
Time is a big one for Daniel and me, as I know it is for so many couples, because our time together during the week is restricted to a few hours each evening after work. In that limited amount of time, there is dinner to be prepared, enjoyed, and cleaned up. Then there is mail to be sorted, exercise, and lunches to be made for the next day if we actually get around to it. Not to mention other miscellaneous chores or errands to be run. Relaxation is an issue that goes along with time. I am not good at relaxing when I know that there are things that need to be done. Daniel, however, has no problem with this whatsoever. I get upset when I see him sitting around while I feel so stressed by everything I “have to do,” but he sees this as my own problem: “You could sit down with me if you wanted to,” etc. Voila! Tension. And we don’t even have kids yet!
With so little time at home together every day, we never get to bed as early as we would like to. This leads to another issue: waking up in the morning. This might not be one you would think of, but it is a lot harder to find your way out from under the covers when there is another warm body sleeping peacefully next to you!
Speaking of covers, sharing them has proved to be somewhat of a challenge as well. Daniel doesn’t like the sheets to be tucked into the mattress around him, while I like to have a neatly made bed before I climb into it. Once I’m off in dreamland, though, that rule apparently no longer applies. Daniel calls me a “burrito”, because while I’m asleep I like to steal the covers away from him by rolling up into them, leaving him shivering.
Like I said, this stuff is all pretty silly for the most part. I’ve touched on other struggles in the past few months, such as balancing time spent with friends and family, and making decisions about money. The thing is that overall, I feel like Daniel and I did a very good job in preparing for marriage. We had our priorities and goals in sync with one other, which I think is the most important thing. In fact, our lives were already so intertwined before we got married that actually getting married and moving in together made our relationship easier. That is why answering this question was difficult for me. Our situation was pretty unique, though; we know this isn’t how it is for most people.
Maybe some readers who have been married for longer than Daniel and I have can help me out with answering this question about the struggles involved in the blending of lives in the sacrament of marriage…