Marriage Is Awesome And Amazing And All That Great Shit. It's Also Hard As Fuck.

Damon Young/VSB
Damon Young/VSB

Last week, The Wife Person and I had a "we're not arguing, but we're not completely good" four day stretch that began while binge watching Game of Thrones and ended in the parking lot of a Market District Giant Eagle. We celebrated the end of our mini cold war with gelato shakes and pizza, and listened to Radiohead's "Talk Show Host" on the ride home.


We ended the night with more Game of Thrones (we started watching it a month ago and are now midway through season four), and both ended up in bed by midnight.

I have been married for 10 months now. And that 10 months has done nothing but reinforce an idea repeated by parents, great aunts, neighbors, co-workers, sales clerks, novelists, stand-up comedians, Michelle Obama, and anyone else who cares to share their opinions about marriage. Marriage is a collection of shared mundanities occasionally interrupted by new shit happening. And, if you're married long enough, the new shit becomes a mundanity too.

If you're already "eh" about the thought of spending the rest of your life with someone — or if you're "eh" about the thought of the people currently in your potential "rest of your life" partner pool — this makes marriage sound like Hell.

This is where someone like me — a person who's presumably found someone they love so much that they enjoy sitting and doing nothing with them more than they enjoy doing pretty much anything else —  is supposed to say something like "But, if you're already excited about the concept of marriage, this makes marriage sound like Heaven." And it does, in theory. But it's not Heaven. It's not Hell, either. It's much closer to Heaven than Hell, but it's not Heaven. What is it, then?

Hard, that's what it is. Fucking hard. The hardest fucking thing I've ever done. Every hard thing I've done — and this includes both running a mile in 5:30 and reciting an entire Big Sean verse without sneezing — is exponentially less hard than marriage. And I have a great marriage! And I was someone who wanted to be married, and I am someone who wants to continue to be married to the person I'm married to. And it's still hard as fuck.

Placing both of your expectations of how a marriage is supposed work in a tidy brown paper bag, shaking that bag up, lighting that bag on fire, and then trying to decipher the ashes is hard as fuck. Having each part of your being — every insecurity, every fear, every unattractive habit, every fucking receipt — exposed, a bit peeled each day like skin off a callous (and being exposed to each part of your partner's) is hard as fuck. Living together is hard as fuck. Determining who's going to spend what money, and how the money will be spent, and how the money will be saved, and how you'll deal with whichever other psychological issues arise when having these money determinations is hard as fuck. Families are hard as fuck. Friends are hard as fuck. Sleeping is hard as fuck. Shit, even shitting is hard as fuck.


Oh, and that collection of shared mundanities that sound shitty for someone "eh" about marriage but considerably less shitty for someone "yay" about marriage like me? Still great to experience with someone you love…and hard as fuck. Because the finality of marriage, of knowing this is the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with, means you're planning to share these mundanities with this same person for the rest of your time on Earth. Like, till death do you part isn't a suggestion. It's the plan. And both the process of wrapping your mind around that concept and embracing it is hard as fuck.

Interestingly enough, an optimal marriage is preceded by a happy pre-marriage relationship. And how is the happiness of a pre-marriage relationship often determined? By your level of compatibility. And how is your level of compatibility often determined? By how easily you get along. Ultimately, what makes marriage hard as fuck is your attempt to continue that ease. Marriage isn't hard in spite of your great relationship. It's hard because of it. If it wasn't great, you wouldn't have invested in it. And if you didn't care enough to invest so much into it, you wouldn't really care about it. And if you didn't really care about it, it wouldn't be hard as fuck.


Tonight should be easy though. I'm going to pick my wife up from work at 5:30. After we come back home, we'll sit and talk for a while. Maybe eat some fruit or something. At 6:45, I'm going to leave to play basketball. I'll be there until 9. Maybe 9:30. I'll shower, and after the shower, we'll sit on one of our couches while on our respective laptops and watch TV. We'll talk and joke and maybe eat too. And then she'll go to bed, but I'll stay downstairs to maybe write something or watch a playoff game. And then I'll go to bed.

We're going to enjoy ourselves and each other. I know this because when this happened last Thursday…and the Thursday before that…and the Thursday before that…and the Thursday before that, we enjoyed ourselves and each other then too.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



Much props to you and anyone who is married right now. I'm single and I know that marriage is hard as f**k, just from seeing my parents marry, divorce, remarry, and re-divorce, plus the countless other failed marriages I've witnessed via family and friends. I haven't gotten anywhere near that point of being able to tolerate being around someone constantly and sharing the mundanities (sp?) of life with them. I'm 33 now and it seems as if the older I get the more I enjoy/value my space/freedom/ability to do what the eff I want when I want. Maybe this is a selfish and immature side of me that I have yet to grow out of, who knows. Or perhaps it could be all the tales of precaution I've heard from people about not rushing and only doing it when you're ready. My mother married my father when she was 18 and constantly warned about the dangers of marrying when you're not really ready, I have a cousin who dated a girl for 2+ years, but the marriage only lasted like 6 months. My older brother's marriage lasted about 3 years, so I take heed to these warnings lol. To all of those in strong, healthy marriages, I salute you. Ish aint easy bruh.