“I’ve heard it sucks.”
“Everyone tells me it’s so hard.”
“Is it even worth it?”
“I’m sure it’s not near as fun as being single.”

These are just a few of the comments we received from unmarried friends and acquaintances over the past year. I struggle to find a response that will do marriage justice and yet address the obvious concerns at hand…but, no, it doesn’t suck, it really isn’t that hard, and there is no doubt it is worth it.

A year into this journey of life partnership, I won’t deny the obvious that marriage does take work. Often times we don’t fantasize about the sharing a bathroom, dealing with someone’s daily quirks, having to be pleasant after a long day of work, or the extraordinary selflessness that comes along with marriage. So no, Steven and I aren’t perfect and we have had our moments of rude comments, hurtful judgments and slammed doors, yet the beauty continually outweighs the challenges that come.

Never in my life have I been so richly known by someone, so perfectly accepted, so beautifully cherished. Of course this isn’t every moment of every day because our humanity continues to challenge our deepest desires. Still, marriage has proved to be the most rewarding experience and we are only a step in.

My heart breaks as I hear people’s negative knee-jerk reactions to marriage. We cry out for the state of marriage in America, and yet somehow there is a growing culture of people terrified of the union we try so desparately to support.

As married couples we have a responsibility to our culture to remind people of the joy of marriage. I’m not suggesting we ignore the difficulties, but be supporters, cheerleaders, helpers, mentors, coaches, or even just advocates. This doesn’t require you to formally counsel a young couple, it could even come in the form of talking positively about your spouse at work or to your family.

Of course in life it is the easiest to put down the person who is closest to us, but what if we turned that around and lifted them up– encouraging them and endorsing them for the world to see– brag on their greatness instead of condemning their weakness. Even if you believe your marriage isn’t the best, find the good in each day and savor it; be the one to step out in kindness, I’m sure the other will follow.

I know I only have a year of experience and it is easy to call my perspective naive and simplistic, but isn’t there beauty in that? Why does marriage have to be talked about with a tone of doom and gloom? If we desire the marriages around us to succeed and want the next generation to rise up eager to enter God-honoring marriages that will impact the world, then I believe it is our responsibility to set the stage.

I’m going to declare today Say Something Positive About Marriage Day. Please take a minute to share a positive statement about marriage!