5 Longtime Married Couples Reveal The Hardest Part About Marriage

Commitment is a life-long challenge.

Couple working together, snuggling on the floor cottonbro studio | Pexels

Many people are afraid to make commitments to love and marriage. We live in a disposable world where one-night stands are easy, so we avoid devoting ourselves to love. Yet, many people fall in love and commit 'til death do they part — and mean it. Most feel honor-bound by the commitments they make. But why can some commit to loving another for a lifetime while others have so much trouble?

The successfully married couples we interviewed talked about five challenges that make commitment challenging.


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Five longtime married couples we interviewed talked about five challenges that make commitment challenging:

1. Commitment requires reciprocal love.

It is not enough to be deeply loved, as you must also reciprocate profound love before a lifetime of commitment can be made. Having the strength to love without the courage to do it is much like the cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz — only when he committed to being courageous could he use his strength effectively. A successful marriage is a lot like that.

happy couple on a walk


Photo: Maruco Via Shutterstock

2. A lifetime commitment can only be made to a best friend.

Friedrich Nietzsche once posited the notion that unhappy marriages are not caused by a lack of love but by a lack of friendship. Nothing truer has ever been spoken about successful marriage. You see, the person you commit to must, first and foremost, must be your best friend. You cannot make a lifetime commitment to someone you only love. These types of commitments are made to those we consider our best friends! When we ask successfully married couples who their best friend is, they almost always say their spouse.

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3. The commitment to marriage is an unalterable decision.

Committing to another human being for a lifetime also requires your resolve to make an "unalterable decision," as Alfred Adler says. Adler goes on to say, "[...]real examples of love and real marriages [...] do not allow ]...] men or women (to) contemplate an escape. In none of the serious and important tasks of life do we arrange such a getaway?" Someone who wants a successful marriage cannot promise a lifetime of commitment to someone they purport to love while plotting an escape, at the same time. A true commitment is unalterable!




4. A lifetime commitment has to be made while there is still some uncertainty.

If you wait to commit until you have no doubts, it will never happen. One of our favorite quotes is by Rollo May. When we were in graduate school studying the field of counseling, we got a lot of exposure to him, and we love most of what he has written, especially this: "The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but despite doubt." Simply stated, if you think there will ever be a moment in a budding relationship when you will say, "I have no doubts about them, so I am willing to make the lifetime commitment," well, forget it! It is not going to happen. If you wait for that moment to come, you will never commit to love anyone for a lifetime.

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5. A commitment to another human being has to be consistent.

It is not an on-again, off-again proposition. Commitment to someone you love and consider your best friend can't be here today and gone tomorrow. In the best marriages, there is consistency in commitment. Love and friendship can run hot and cold, from time to time, but the commitment to the one you love must be an everyday thing. Commitment is forever; it is not "up in the air."


Falling in love with another human being is easy, but committing to love them forever is difficult for some. We like to use the term "up in the air" (like the movie) for many reasons, primarily because it aptly describes the struggles so many folks go through in a lifelong partnership. Up in the Air certainly reminds us of the difficulty of buckling down with one person. But why do some find it so hard to commit to love?

Happily married couples from all seven continents have shared stories with us about their love for each other. They describe how they formed a commitment to their relationship, as well as how they decided how much they loved each other and would spend their lives together.

While some couples initially had trouble with the commitment issue, they found a way to get past it and enter into a fulfilling lifelong relationship with the one they love.


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Dr. Charles and Dr. Elizabeth Schmitz are renowned love and marriage experts and multiple award-winning authors. Their best-selling book, Building A Love That Lasts, provides readers with insightful and practical tips from thousands of happily married couples.

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