They Do Exist.

What No One Told Me: Marriage Works – By Alisha

Editor’s Note: This month, we are taking submissions from women (and men) on What No One Told Me About Marriage. Want to share your story? Email it to Lauren at goodwomenproject[at] along with a photo of you and your spouse if you have one! Today’s post was written by a sweet friend, Alisha Skeel. She is a designer & photographer, and you can check out her site here.  I can attest to her and Brian’s awesome marriage and friendship. Thanks, Alisha! – Lauren

Being a typical girl, I had been looking forward to marriage since I can remember. I was one heck of a tomboy growing up, but I always had crushes on boys, even if they didn’t often crush back. One of my earlier crushes ended up being the man who would one day become my husband. Brian was standing all alone on the last day of his 8th grade year (my 6th grade year), with a Zao shirt on, wearing all black and a spiked collar. He was intimidating, but for some reason I felt compelled to talk to him. God does amazing things sometimes in bringing people together.

Brian and I were friends off and on for 5 years. He was always that one guy who was just quite out of my reach. He was an absurdly talented musician, hilarious, and unbearably sweet. It wasn’t until we parted for a few years, and then decided to hang out after quite a while, that things finally clicked. We fell in love fast, but were kicked back into reality with the divorce of my parents a few months into dating. Brian was there for me in a the way only someone who truly loves you can be. Though this was only the beginning, it always put a doubt in the back of my head about how marriage would really turn out. My trust in this fact had been wavered. And all I could picture was: “This will end badly”.

We dated for 4 years, and got married. Leading up to the wedding I was nervous about the whole idea. Brian and I had been through an unbearable amount together before we got married, but all I kept hearing from the world was everyone yelling, “IT ONLY GETS WORSE!” Though we had come so far, and were whole-heartedly confident about our decision, I was so incredibly scared about what I had been hearing (“marriage ruins everything”). I honestly wondered, “is everything going to change for the worse? Are we going to stop everything and start getting frustrated, spiteful, and even begin to fall out of love?”

It was the easiest decision I’ve ever made, but it went against everything I had seen and heard in my life. My heart was so happy, but my head just kept waiting for something to go wrong.

For me, marriage took the stress out of my relationship. We can always be completely honest, even when it hurts.

Even if one of us is having a bad day (and it may honestly be awful to be around that person at the time), you learn ways to repair even the little cracks that form. And it can work even when you have married someone you have absolutely nothing in common with. I was reminded of this even the other day when Brian and I went to see a movie. I came out of it absolutely inspired, while he was less than impressed. We talked about what we both observed, appreciated the others input, and enjoyed every minute of the conversation. It isn’t what you are talking about that is important….it is that you are genuinely interested in what the other person has to say.

We all have our insecurities, we all have our obsessive tendencies. We have shady pasts, things we are ashamed of, and things we yearn for more than anything. The fact is, love can be enough. But it has to be absolute, selfless, passionate love. It isn’t easy. It has to be full of forgiveness, understanding, challenges, and honesty.

Brian and I fight, but we never scream or yell. We cry, we talk things through, and we repair and replenish our relationship every day. I’ve always heard that “communication is key”, but no one ever teaches you how to communicate. And sometimes, no one can. You just have to care enough to get through the trial and error, and learn everything there is to learn about that person across the room who you love and adore so much. You have to love yourself, know yourself, and do the exact same for the other person involved. Spending that quality time together can be hard, but as long as you both just take time to be interested in each other’s life, that is what is important.

The fact is, I’ve spent my life hearing all of the worst aspects of marriage. What I have learned from my own is that there is such a thing as marrying someone who cares enough to be patient with you, understand you, and love you enough to always put you and God first.

As long as you do the same (even though it isn’t always easy) things will only get better. Even through the fights, you’ll only feel closer (eventually), and fall more in love. The fights make you stronger, and gain a better perspective and understanding. Things won’t be perfect, because we aren’t perfect.

But never settle. Expect the best, but be humbled and patient enough to know that no one is perfect and someone’s best isn’t possible every second of every day. My hubby and I don’t have it all figured out, but what we have works. We can’t explain it to anyone (we have no idea what makes us work!), but we do our best for each other. And honestly, in the end, I feel like that is what keeps us on the same page day after day.

The main thing no one ever told me about marriage is that if you both go into it whole-heartedly, strive for selflessness, and attempt to understand why that person thinks and feels the way that they do, it will become more incredible and inspiring than you could ever imagine.

The one thing no one ever took the time to tell me is that marriage can work. It can change people for the better.

I now whole-heartedly believe this, and want nothing more than to share that hope with everyone I meet.

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14 Responses

  1. mamaisafourletterword

    wonderful post – and yes, it can work. marriage is about two people working really hard to make this invisible thing between them so large and so important and good that it takes up the space all around them. when both people are focused on each other and this thing (marriage), the marriage can only get better.

    May 17, 2011 at 4:57 pm

  2. dang. what a great post.

    May 17, 2011 at 5:08 pm

  3. "I’ve always heard that “communication is key”, but no one ever teaches you how to communicate." SO true. We keep learning to communicate with each other effectively. It's hard but we are getting better!
    Great to read such positive perspectives. Thanks for sharing the hope that marriage CAN work. I also believe that marriage can change people for the better. I'm learning that.

    May 17, 2011 at 7:06 pm

  4. Teresa

    Nicely and honestly put, Alish!

    May 17, 2011 at 7:36 pm

  5. Shella

    Thank you so much for this. I also grew up seeing and hearing every single reason why marriage doesn't work, why people leave each other, etc. But that is such an encouraging reminder, that marriage *can* work, that it *can* be a safe place, that it *is* possible to work things out.

    June 10, 2011 at 12:24 am

  6. Sally-Jo

    thank you for this post. my fiance and i have both unfortunately learnt not to expect too much from life. we're so happy with each other but constantly feel that something will go wrong (we know this is the wrong attitude but you can't help how you feel sometimes). it gives me hope to read this positive story

    May 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

  7. Wow… Thank you SO much for this post. Way to change the way I see marriage in one fell swoop! :) Truly, inspiring.

    May 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

  8. I am two weeks away from my wedding and crying as I read this post because I cannot express my gratitude enough for your honest and encouraging words. I feel as though a friend just gave me a big hug and thumbs up paired with a goofy grin. Too many people love to remind others about how marriage is soooo hard (isn't all of life?) and how terribly awful it is-most of the time according to many accounts- enough to leave me wondering "why get married if it's the end of your sweet life?". Thanks for your encouragement that makes me feel as though the gushy feelings I have won't die the moment I say "I do". Blessings to your and your swell husband

    September 7, 2012 at 2:30 am

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