Is raising a child hard work? Is housebreaking a new puppy hard work? Is losing those stubborn 10 pounds hard work? Or are all these things merely challenging endeavors? According to journalist Vicki Larson, marriage is what you make it out to be.
Larson believes that no matter how you slice it, marriage requires action, whether one sees that action as “work” or not. Relationships are like plants, children, and pets: they are growing, living things. And like plants, children, and pets, they require constant attention, nurturing, and maintenance.
Anyone who has been in a relationship for any length of time can attest to this. If the marriage is neglected it will stop growing. When something living ceases to grow, it eventually dies. But is it wrong to refer to marriage as “work”?
Sonja Lyumbomirsky, an author and psychology professor at the University of California believes that loving relationships are sustained by words and actions. Simple gestures like doing something kind for your partner or offering generous words can provide sunshine and water to a thirsty relationship. Do these things require work? Most people might say that taking these actions require effort, not necessarily work.
If you enter a relationship with expectations of ease and joy with no effort on your part, you are fooling yourself. So why do some people say happiness takes work while others seem to easily glide through life with constant relationship bliss? Again, Lyubomirsky thinks it’s based on the perspective you have. There’s nothing wrong if you and your partner feel that your relationship takes work and dedication. And there’s nothing wrong with you if the happiness in your relationship is effortless.
Larson reminds us that the word work is a subjective term. She says that if you look at doing the things that are necessary to keep your relationship thriving as work, then they will be work. “If you see that as challenging, fine; consider yourself challenged.” Larson adds, “If you accept that these are things that you just do, great; just do it.”
Larson, Vicki. (2013). Marriage: Is It Really Work? (n.d.): n. pag. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/marriage-is-work_b_3269987.html
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