The ‘Work’ versus the ‘Challenge’ of Marriage

Couple making plansIs 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.

© Copyright 2013 All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Mark.J

    May 27th, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Never does marriage seem like WORK more than when you are misunderstood or when there has been a disagreement. There is your ego, your belief of having been right, and your mind telling you that it would be useless to try talking to your spouse. I have discovered this from years and years of marriage.

    And what’s true? What’s the one thing that helps? Truly, there is none. All you need to do is to look after this living thing, this plant that you want to grow. And that will eventually bear fruit, trust me.

  • Deangelo

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    There is definitely a time when it just ain’t worth it. Sometmes It’s best to just cut your loses andmove on, trust me. Haha.

  • Dottie

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    People these days are just too willing to throw their marriages away.
    They don’t want to do work or challenge.
    They just want the easy way out.
    It is really a sad thing.
    God made man and woman to get married.
    That is His plan so that is best.
    He did not plan for man and woman to get married and then go their separate ways.
    It may be hard, but if it’s God’s plan, it’s worth it.
    People really should be willing to do both work and challenge before they get married.

  • JB Hollingsworth

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    to me part of the problem is how quick young people want to get married i look at my granddaughter and her friends they are so mean to the boys they date and the boys are so mean to them not respectful at all.
    but they all say they want to marry those people they don’t respect i think they just want to get married and figure the person will change once they are married
    unfortunately it don’t work that way the things you don’t like about somebody only get magnified ten times in ten years and get on your nerves even worse
    it’d be so much better for young people if they waited people live so long now why not wait until you are thirty at least to get married.

  • Chester

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:06 PM

    To me. The biggest challenge of all that can break up a marriage. Is having kids. Those little suckers. Will suck the life out of a marraige.

  • ronnel

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    Sooooooo maybe this is why i been married three times. cuz i really really really really really don’t like to workk.
    i much rather soemebody else do the work and take care of me so i don’t have to go to work
    i think the man needs to do all the work in the marriage
    areyou with me ladies?

  • Pat

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    If you knew my wife, you’d know that finding a nice word to say to her was work. Laziest ugliest meanest woman I know.

  • Vie

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    I guess the bottom line is that if you want your marriage to last, you must take care of your partner and give him/her what he/she needs. I guess it is effortless to some people b/c their personalities are nurturing and caring by nature. Those with more selfish personalities probably do have to work harder. Sometimes, it may not be as much about how one perceives what needs to be done as much as it is the different gifts and talents we are all born with.

  • Ceilia

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    Me and the wife can have some doozies when it comes to fights but there are certain things neither one of us will do like call each other names.

    As long as we stick with our own unwritten rules it doesn’t get too out of hand but we are both stubborn as mules.

    I think everybody has their own hot buttons if your partner is willing to push those buttons it is bad news.

    You have to have someone to be married to who respects that there are lines that aren’t too be crossed if someone is always crossing your lines they are probably not the right person for you.

  • montel

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:18 PM

    my mom and dad got divorced when i was real little.I asked my mom later why they did.when i got older.she said it was cuz she got so tired of working so hard.i guess she didn’t like the challenge or the

  • Mary Margaret Salem

    May 27th, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Good advice; JUST DO IT!! Do whatever it takes. Divorce is too hard. It really destroys everyone in its path. Just do whatever it take. Whatever it takes.

  • ella

    May 28th, 2013 at 4:00 AM

    It is those people who go into marriage thinking that this is going to be easy are the ones who fail.

    The couples who realize that this is going to be some work, those are the people who I think are going to make it.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

GoodTherapy uses cookies to personalize content and ads to provide better services for our users and to analyze our traffic. By continuing to use this site you consent to our cookies.