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PattersonsThe following is a guest post from friend & writer Gale Patterson.

Like many of you I have followed along intently on Aidan's discussions of marriage this month.  Marriage can be very private territory, and I think we often wonder about what happens inside the marriages of others.  As many have expressed here - both in guest posts and in comments - marriage is not always easy.  Some marriages manage to clear the hurdles of hardship, and others do not.  And as we watch the marriages around us speed ahead or collapse on the track we are often left only to imagine what positioned them for victory or defeat.

I am all for candor.  And I think the frank recognition that marriage is hard, is work, and is not for the faint of heart are vital to an honest discussion of the institution.  So I appreciate the transparency that everyone has provided here this month.  But in the midst all those confessions I fear that another key component of marriage has been obfuscated: Marriage can be a lot of fun!

My husband and I recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary.  Obviously in ten years we have endured many of the grisly realities of marriage.  But I'm here to say that the sweeping majority of the time, we really enjoy each other and our life together.  We know what will make the other person smile contentedly, or breathe a sigh of relief, or laugh hysterically.  And we enjoy doing those things for each other.  We have inside jokes that date back 15 years.  We enjoy doing many of the same things, and doing those things together enhances the enjoyment of them for both of us.

Similarly, we know how to navigate each other's sensitivities.  Pet peeves.  Old wounds. Idiosyncrasies.  We each know what counts as "below the belt" with the other, and we take care not to exploit that knowledge.  Fifteen years of togetherness and ten years of marriage create incredible intimacy, and through that intimacy we have built incredible trust in each other.  We have offered ourselves up into the care of the other - something no one does lightly.

Our marriage is not always halcyon.  We disagree and argue sometimes.  We don't always pick our battles wisely.  And there are certainly days that are frustrating, or annoying, or just plain boring.  But as I've said to my husband hundreds of times, there's no one I'd rather face hardship with.  There's no one I'd rather laugh with, or eat with, or travel with. I count myself lucky that I get to spend my days with someone who values me, and loves me, and cares for me as no one else on earth does.  And I count myself lucky that I am able to do the same for him.
 
I guess I write this post for the unmarried people out there.  Yes, marriage can be hard. But I hope that readers of all the thoughtful and transparent posts this month don't walk away from them thinking that marriage is all grinning and bearing and trudging along.  It really is a lot of fun.  I love being married.  And more than that, I love my husband - which I suppose is why being married to him is such a joy.

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Thanks, Gale!

here year3

Posts on the Here Year & Marriage:

The Here Year

The Here Year Month #3: Marriage

The Here Year, June: Marriage (A Design So Vast)

On Marriage & Age

"We Are a Work-in-Progress" (A guest post)

"She's got my back, and I've got hers" (A guest post)

What My Therapist Said About Marriage

4.003 Days of Laughter (& Counting) (A guest post)

The Marriage & Sex Question

The Best Thing I've Done For My Marriage?

"All of a sudden, everything was different" (A guest post)

Why Do Married People Cheat?

11 Insights from Jane Green

Without a Net (A guest post)

The Marriage-Children Paradox

33 Ways to Make Our Marriages Happier (Part 1 of 3)

The Habits of the Happily Married (A Design So Vast)

33 Ways to Make Our Marriages Happier (Part 2 of 3)

"Do You Think We'll Make It Another Year?" (A guest post)

33 Ways to Make Our Marriages Happier (Part 3 of 3)

Big Night Out (A guest post)

On Social Media & Marriage

That's All (A guest post)

19 Interesting Articles on Love & Marriage

That’s All