Dear 100 Hour Board,
I just turned 30 and am single. I feel like many of my friends who are married aren’t unhappy, per se, but a lot of them talk about how hard marriage is and don’t seem any happier as a result of marriage. I can’t decide if I just have unrealistic expectations by this point, but it makes me wonder if it’s actually worth it, and if there are actually enough benefits to outweigh the work. Most of the time, I’m happy as a clam being single.
I know that many of the alumni are married and range from newlyweds to much longer than that, so what are your thoughts? Is marriage worth it?
-All the single ladies
Marriage is work, simply because you have to be more or less constantly aware of someone having a different perspective and priorities than you.
But at the same time, you have someone to depend on and someone you can enjoy being with. I love being married. I love having another person that I get to be completely open with.
For me I figure, every time I add or deepen a meaningful relationship, life gets harder but I get better. If you haven't already seen the other recent question about marriage, Board Question #92320, you'd probably be interested in that too.
Dear All ~
In my experience, marriage is 100% worth it. It has been extremely fulfilling and Yellow is truly the perfect complement to me. I am awed often when I think about how incredibly lucky I am.
I have also been realizing after almost 11 years of marriage that our marriage is very unique. We did not have a hard first year. I don't have things to gripe about Yellow at girls' nights. Yellow's goal truly is to make me happy. The more I talk to other people, the more I realize I am in a uniquely incredible marriage.
If you can find someone as awesome as Yellow, who will put you first, and be your perfect complement, then I would very, very highly recommend marriage.
~ Dragon Lady
For me, it is worth it. I'm a very introverted person who doesn't need many friends, but I was not really happy being single. Having someone to share my life with makes life meaningful to me in a way that being single never could. If you can be truly happy and fulfilled being single, then go live an awesome life. If you happen to meet someone along the way, then bonus awesome.
The part I really want to address, though, is this idea that marriage is hard work. I've been married almost 13 years now and never has it felt like hard work. I'm convinced that if marriage feels like hard work, one or both of you is some combination of selfish/immature/irrational/lazy, and it's not the marriage that's hard work, it's changing yourself (or helping your spouse) to be a better person. Marriage is just the lens that magnifies your faults. If you're willing to be humble, admit you're wrong, forgive, discuss things rationally, compromise, do things you don't want to do, and be nice to the person you ostensibly love, then marriage is just hanging out and solving the puzzle of life with your best friend forever. If you can get to that point, it's very much worth it.
This going to sound so corny, but I was just watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and it summed up my feelings on this subject: "Romantic love is not an ending. It's just a part of your story."
Your friends are right, marriage is hard. After reading Dragon Lady's and Optimus Prime's answers, I want to clarify that "hard work" in this context to me doesn't mean "work I hate" or "fighting with each other." My actual job is also hard, but I enjoy it and keep doing it. But relationships are a constant effort. It can be hard to compromise, to be humble, to put another person's needs above your own. On the other hand, in a good marriage and any good relationship that person is also trying to compromise with you and support you, etc. So, plus-one to Tally M.'s points as well!
It's important to me to point out that being single is also hard. It seems to be that life just always has something difficult to throw at us! It's rare indeed when there isn't some aspect of my life that needs work. Relationships of every flavor are hard. Absolutely I think relationships are worth it despite their difficulty and complexity -- romantic, platonic, familial, all worth it. They all give us different, valuable things. I'd say, don't write off romantic love, but also don't worry about "being married" just to say you've done it.
Dear All The Single Ladies,
Whining about your marriage (in most cases, not talking about abuse or addiction or affairs) is like whining about your car: it’s not great conversation but it has its issues that kind of come out in conversation to no one‘s benefit.
That being said, being married to the WRONG person can make life very very difficult.
-married and happy
Dear Put Your Hands Up,
I saw some psychology research once that graphed happiness against amount of time being married, and while there was a definite happiness spike around the time of engagement/marriage, it eventually drifted back down and settled at more or less the same level as it was when the person was single. To me, that suggests that if you are miserable as a single person and expect marriage to solve all of your problems, you will be gravely disappointed and unfulfilled. On the other hand, if you find happiness as a single person, you will hold out for someone who is uniquely suited to you, and when the excitement of marriage inevitably wears off, you will still be able to find sources of happiness as both an individual and as part of a couple.