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“Marriage is Hard?” Self-Control/Pt 2

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

As a pastor and life coach, I hear this all the time, and I’m becoming increasingly more intolerable of the expression. Here’s my reason. After 31 years of marriage, I am certain that the quality of a marriage relationship hinges on the behavior of the two individuals in the marriage. The more we learn to behave well in marriage (Self-Control), the easier it is to navigate the marriage relationship. I submit to you that marriage is NOT hard, but behaving well and being unselfish in marriage IS. Though there is a level of truth to the statement (marriage is hard), the greater truth is often hidden beneath the surface and is seldom stated or confessed. I’m starting to believe that marriage is absorbing the blame (getting a bad rap) for people’s selfish behavior.

The Convenient Truth:

Marriage is hard.

The Deeper/Actual Truth:

Controlling Me is hard, and that's what creates difficulties in marriage, as well as in most relationships.

Here are other common expressions we hear people say:

Being married is hard.

Being single is hard.

Growing up with siblings is hard

Being an only child is hard.

Working for a boss is hard

Owning a business is hard.

Being a teenager is hard

Being an adult is hard.

Parenting is hard.

Losing weight is hard.

Eating healthy is hard.

Drinking enough water is hard.

Growing older is hard.

Caring for aging parents is hard.

Losing your parents is hard.

What’s the common denominator is all the statements above? Yes…it’s the flawed people making the statements. We are the common denominator, and that means the problem lies within us. How we see, what we believe and how we behave. But, since we don’t like being the problem, we shift the blame so that we can feel better.


You spill your 32 oz sweet tea on the floor as two other individuals in the household witness the incident.

Your response (Convenient Truth):

It slipped right out of my hand. They need to make stronger lids, so these things won’t spill!

The Deeper/Actual Truth:

I dropped my sweet tea and spilled it all over the floor. That’s my fault.

Did you see that? IT slipped vs. I dropped. One blames IT and the other takes responsibility and confesses what is true.


You are accustomed to an early-to-bed and early-to-rise routine, but he likes to stay up late and stay down late. All your efforts to get him converted to your schedule (your better way!) have failed miserably!

Your Response (Convenient Truth)

Staying up that late can’t be healthy for you, and you waste the best part of our day in bed. I can’t believe you’re being so selfish, refusing to adjust to what’s better for our marriage.

Deeper/Actual Truth

I am very accustomed to my routine and I’m not willing to change it. I expect you to change because I feel that my way is better. I know it's selfish of me, but that’s where I am.

Here’s what we do.

We blame other people and other things instead of accepting responsibility ourselves. Remember, all you can control is you, and confessing your shortcomings is a better long-term plan than avoiding them.

It is a fact that the most difficult thing to control on the planet is SELF!

5 Ways to Get a Better Grip on Self.

1. Consider Getting Over Yourself

Really, except the fact that you are a

flawed human being, prone to error.

That's real life, and the sooner you

embrace it, the better things will be for

you and those around you.

2. Consider Learning to Go Around

When grocery shopping, if there is a

spill on the aisle you're on, you typically

go around or chose another isle and

circle back later for what you need. Stop

waiting for and instant clean-up on

every issue in your relationship. Circle

back later, as many times as necessary.

3. Consider Making Requests

Develop the new routine of making

requests. It can be a game changer.

4. Know That How You Chose to Behave

Can Change The Game

The best way to influence change in

others is to model it yourself, as often

as you can.

5. Consider Learning to Negotiate

Learning to negotiate is a beautiful

thing, a work of art when done correctly.

Add Negotiator to your tool box


Marriage is neutral, and the only thing difficult about it is the two people in the marriage. In other words, the hard part in marriage is us, not marriage.

If something resonated with you in this article, let me know and take a moment to subscribe to more weekly Insights!

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