The Honest Truth About Why People Say 'Marriage Is Hard'

A relationship expert breaks down the core reasons so many people say marriage is hard.

Marriage is hard but worth it pondsaksitphotos | Canva

Let’s get real about marriage. If you’ve binged enough rom-coms, you might be under the impression that finding "The One" leads to an effortless happily ever after. Early relationship bliss seems to confirm this myth — everything’s perfect when you are both floating in the honeymoon phase, untouched by life’s messier chapters.

Yet, finding your soulmate is not about scoring a perfect 100% match — think more along the lines of a solid 70%. Some days, your beloved might knock it out of the park at 100%, and on others, you might wonder if you have accidentally married a lamp. Because, honestly, there is more engagement from the living room furniture.


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Why do people say 'marriage is hard'? 

There is an old saying that you're truly married the day you look over at your snoozing spouse and think, “Oh no, what have I done?” If you have been there, you are not alone. Doubting such a big life decision is perfectly normal. 

Here is the kicker: what makes marriage particularly challenging is not just about the big existential questions; it is also about our brains. They are not wired for our happiness; they are wired for survival. What has kept you alive all this time is known territory, including those break-ups and make-ups. 


When things get steady, our survival instincts nudge us toward the excitement of the new — thus, the familiar itch for change.

@plussizeandbossy i swear i can track his moments by the trail he leaves behind 🤦🏽‍♀️#marriageishard #marriagebelike #marriagehumor #husbands ♬ original sound - Liver

However, believing a perfect match will make everything feel complete forever is a fantasy. People change — through experiences, epiphanies, or significant life events. Today’s perfect match could be tomorrow’s amicable stranger. This is where the real work (and a bit of luck) comes in. It is about finding someone with whom you can evolve together, challenge each other, and grow in compatible ways.

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We are programmed for restlessness

Our biology is all about procreation. Initially, our hormones shout, “Yes! A mate!” ignoring whether you actually want kids. Once the novelty wears off, and you settle into comfort, boredom can creep in. The trick? Inject excitement back into the relationship. Do new things together — explore, adventure, and step out of your comfort zone together. It doesn’t have to be as extreme as bungee jumping every weekend, but shaking things up occasionally can help reignite that early spark.

Happy elder couple honest truth marriage is worth it Dmytro Zinkevych via Shutterstock

Aging changes relationships

Adapting to the changes that come with aging can be challenging for a relationship. Navigating marriage as you age together is like fine-tuning a vintage car — it requires patience, care, and humor for those unexpected breakdowns. As years go by, the comfortable routines can become a tad too comfortable, and those little quirks both of you found endearing can now render a sigh.


Yet, as you swap your high heels and sneakers for something more orthopedic-friendly, and your dinner dates creep earlier to catch the early bird special, you find laughter in the shared absurdity of getting older. It is in these moments, laughing over misplaced glasses or debating the best ear for a hearing aid, that you realize while marriage is hard, growing old together is its beautiful, messy, and wonderfully rewarding challenge.

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If you have been single for a long stretch before tying the knot, remember, adapting to shared life can feel like a shoe that needs breaking in. You are a fully formed person now and have to reshape parts of yourself to fit someone else into your life. Growing pains, in this case, are inevitable.

Balancing the roles of spouse, parent, caregiver, and often career professional can be overwhelming. Finding a balance that satisfies both partners and other family members is often easier said than done.


Marriage is hard because we expect it to be easy

Marriage demands constant awareness that your actions impact another person deeply. It complicates life but in a way that leads to growth and fulfillment. 

Like anything truly worthwhile in life, marriage is hard work. But when you put in the effort, it can blossom into a relationship to make life richer, more exciting, and happier a large percentage of the time. So keep your tools handy — love, humor, and perhaps a good couple’s therapist on speed dial.


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Erika Jordan is an internationally acclaimed love and relationship expert, NLP practitioner, author, media personality, and a leader in the field of digital romance and online dating.