I do not normally watch daytime TV but having a couple of days off after Christmas, I found myself watching the Queen Latifah’s talk show one day. On this particular show, her guest was the actor Will Smith and the topic of his marriage came up. Will was talking about the rumor that circulated about him about a year ago saying his wife Jada had filed for a divorce. One thing he said in this conversation has stuck with me for a few days – he said that “marriage is a constant battle”… at the time I thought “why would he use the word battle to describe a marriage…?”
I started to think about how my husband and I have had some challenging battles to fight during the years of our marriage. We have had to deal with serious illnesses, family issues, employment (or unemployment) concerns and financial challenges at one time or another over the course of our twenty-year marriage. As I have been thinking about Will Smith’s comment, I have to say that I agree… whether we want to admit it or not, marriage is a battle… it takes the willingness to battle it out and fight to the very end in order to have a successful marriage:
- When we first decide to get married, it is like signing up to enlist in the armed forces. We are excited… it feels like a new adventure and most of us think it will be a piece of cake… really… what can be so hard about it? We believe in ourselves and our abilities. I doubt we think that things are going to change too much.
- Early marriage is a training ground. We learn what is expected of us and our partners learn what we expect of them. We learn who is the drill sergeant in our home (and at what times he/she is going to show up). We learn that it sometimes may be better to keep quiet and just follow along versus starting a civil war over something that could later be seen as inconsequential in the whole scheme of things.
- Sometime in marriage, the stress of the battle can bring out internal conflict. I am of the belief that if someone says they have never fought or gotten angry with their spouse, they are either lying or simply don’t have the energy/passion to disagree or get mad (neither of which sounds like a powerful framework for marriage). A winning marriage is learning how to resolve internal conflict through negotiation and not leaving each other with severe battle wounds.
- Sometimes a partner in the marriage goes AWOL (divorce or death), making us feel like we are left to fight the battle on our own. Fortunately, most of us have an army of people who are ready, willing and able to step in and help us move through the darkness and return to a fulfilling life without permanent injury.
- In marriage, we battle it out side by side against a multitude of enemy(s): illness (mental or physical), financial issues, addictions, aging and/or death. We are partners who slay the dragon(s) together… doubling our individual strengths versus trying to fight the enemy alone.
Yes, sometimes we need to battle it out through our marriage(s)… we battle together to keep it healthy… we battle together to keep it strong…
What are your thoughts on the use of the term “marriage is a battle..”? Do you agree or disagree? Why or why not?