Friday, August 03, 2012

On marriage being work. Because it is.

In an effort to postpone reading 1984 for the rest of my life, I have taken up reading a string of easy, light, entertaining books.  My most recent guilty pleasure was "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" by Mindy Kaling.  AKA Kelly from The Office.  Kaling is one of the main writers of The Office (She wrote the original Dundies episode and the episode where Michael burns his foot on a George Foreman girl.  The girl is smart.  And hilarious.)






Her book is mostly a memoir, kind of like Tina Fey's Bossy Pants but I actually liked this book better.  She jumps around a lot and she talks candidly about struggles with weight, awkward attempts to fit in, and her cursed shyness. I felt like I actually got to know her as a person.  I guess you could say she writes the way my favorite bloggers write- funny, but still honest and genuine.

One of my favorite chapters of the book was entitled "Married People Need to Step it Up."  She talks about how married people always complain about how "hard" married life is, but that married people should be "pals" and should just enjoy hanging out together.  In her own words...

"I don't want to hear about the endless struggles to keep sex alive, or the work it takes to plan a date night.  I want to hear that you guys watch every episode of The Bachelorette together in secret shame, or that one got hooked on Breaking Bad and if either watches it without the other, they're dead meat.  I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun.  I want to hear about it because I know it's possible, and because I want it for myself.


Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like.  Writing this book is work, but it's fun work, and I picked it and I enjoy doing it with you, Reader.  It's my job and it's a job I like. 


Married people, it's up to you.  It's entirely on your shoulders to keep this sinking institution afloat.  It's a stately old ship, and a lot of people, like me, want to get on board.  Please be psyched, and convey that psychedness to us.  And always remember: so many, many people are envious of what you have.  You're the star at the end of the Shakespearean play, wearing the wreath of flowers in your hair. "

Well, I'll be.  I guess old Bon is now a big fan of Mindy Kaling!  The woman said it right, people!

I especially liked her words about marriage being work.  Two weeks before I was to leave on my LDS mission I was sitting in a British Literature class.  I don't know why he was off on this tangent, but the professor said this, "I think marriage is like a mission.  If any of us had any idea how difficult it is, we'd never agree to do it in the first place."  Days away from entering the missionary training center, I rolled my eyes at his negative attitude.  My mission wasn't going to be hard.  And neither would my marriage.  I was going to rock both of them, thank you very much.

It's safe to say that my mission did more than rock me- it threw me against the rocks and dragged me through the streets.  Er... figuratively speaking that is.   I was shocked at how hard it was.  Since being married I have also been surprised at how difficult marriage can be.  In moments of frustration I have thought back to that professor and admitted guiltily, "the dude was right."

Because he was right.  But so is Kaling.  Marriage is work, but  it should be our favorite kind of work.  Work can have such a negative connotation to it so anytime someone says "Marriage is work" you assume they hate their marriage.  But I prefer to think of work as something much more positive- something that makes you grow, something that makes you reach your potential, something that teaches you valuable lessons and skills, something that molds you into the person you have always been capable of becoming but can't become by just relaxing and shooting the breeze.  I will agree that being married is work.  But it's work that I really like doing.  That I get fulfillment out of.  I like it better than doing the dishes.  I like it better than telling seventeen year olds how to write thesis statements.  I even like it better than blogging.

So yes, marriage is my favorite kind of work.

This is how I work.


38 comments:

  1. What a beautiful outlook on marriage! As a newlywed, it kind of puts things into a new perspective for me. Marriage IS hard, but it's also one of the most rewarding things I've ever experienced. Great post!

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  3. I loved this post and hope to remember this in my own marriage one day

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  4. Thank you! This is a awesome post! I think that not just with marriage, but any relationship is work. A friendship takes committment too & I feel that people give us so easy now. I think that if more people understood this post then we'll benefit all the way around. I love your posts! Thank you for sharing this!!

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  5. I want to read her book now! I love what she says about marriage, I've always been bugged with people complaining about how hard marriage is too. She is right on! I also feel this way with peoples attitude toward kids. Yes of course being a mom is work, but its the most amazing and special kind of work there is!

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  6. Marriage IS work... and work can be fun!

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  7. I love the George Foreman Grill episode!
    Yes, marriage is hard but when my hubby and I can sit down in the evening after the girls are in bed and watch lost and talk and stay up way later than we should because it's the only time we have alone...that makes it worth it:)

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  8. Great post! Can't wait to follow you! Newest follower!

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  9. Um yeah, I'm totally reading that book!! I loved those quotes!! They are the truth!!

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  10. "I want to see you guys high-five each other like teammates on a recreational softball team you both do for fun"

    That right there hit me so hard I can't even explain. Every marriage is hard. Life is hard in general. Adding another person (and then other little people) into "your life" is always going to make things even more difficult.

    I also think that a lot of time we (well, at least I know I do) make it a lot harder than it has to be. I find my self more often than not getting mad or upset about things that really aren't going to be worth it in 50 years.

    If I could learn to high five my husband more rather than get upset I bet a lot of our stressful times would disappear!

    This post is great and it really has me thinking when I really needed it!

    I may have to pick that book up ;)

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  11. What a great post! I'm going to have to read her book!

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  12. How wonderful! As a newly engaged couple, I hope my fiancé and I can always keep these words (yours and Mindy's) in mind!

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  13. Thanks for sharing this!! I am going to remember these words and show people that it's work but that we loved working! :)

    Have a great weekend!

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  14. I love this! I want to read her book now. My husband and I totally high-five each other for ridiculous reasons and get hooked on tv shows and wont let the other watch a single episode without the other!

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  15. i think marriage is hard. but please do tell me what in life isn't hard? i think the attitude with which we approach marriage probably says a lot about how we approach life in general you know. people who love life and live it fully {which FYI is hard work!} and do it wo always complaining probably aren't the ones you're gonna hear griping about how hard marriage is.

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  16. I've had her book on my "I NEED TO READ" list (which as you know from my 24 in 24
    post is not getting any smaller ;-) Now I know I need to read it. Cute pic too!!

    xo,
    Amanda @ Pretty Little Things

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  17. Love her outlook on marriage! So good & true. I've been wanting to read that book for so long -- adding it to the top now!

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  18. Love this! Just bought her book for my Kindle, and can't wait to start reading it. I've been "reading" The Help now since before Christmas... yikes! xoxo,Courtney

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  19. I absolutely loved this book when I read it a little while back, but I also agree about marriage being hard (but the best kind of) work. I also think that sometimes too much focus is put on having the "perfect" wedding, and there is little thought on what the marriage will look like.
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Katie
    abritandheryank.blogspot.com

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  20. I LOVED this book. I blogged about it back in May - I found what she wrote about marriage as being the most spot on thing I've ever read on the subject. The part about watching cheesy TV shows and talking about gardening? That's totally my marriage, in a nutshell. Glad you finally read it!

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  21. The part about the tv shows...that's me and my husband!! Marriage IS work. Sometimes it is hard, but most of the time it is fun.

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  22. You and I must be twins. I mentioned the same excerpt from her book and blogged about how much I love her!
    You can see it here if you'd like :)
    http://www.humblepievintage.com/2012/01/lady-of-week.html

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  23. You're LDS? Me too! I do love the Office! I'll definitely check out this book since I love Mindy!

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  24. I think I am going to have to pick up this book. It sounds good. I was not a big fan of bossy pants either.

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  25. I love how this goes along with my post about the little things. Thank you for the encouragement and for following my blog. I am now following back :).

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  26. What an awesome new perspective. We have been trying to instill in our kids that marriage isn't all roses and sunshine, is is hard work sometimes. But I think it's time to focus on the roses and sunshine a little more. Thanks for sharing this!

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  27. Ive been meaning to read this! I loved this post marriage is work but I love how you said its your favorite kind! I am your newest follower. I cannot wait to read more of your posts and hope that maybe you can return the favor and follow The Preppy Student. I always comment for every comment left on my page and hope to start a friendly relationship with your wonderful blog! Have a happy Saturday:)

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  28. "...marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like." Exactly. Even though I know marriage won't always be easy I'm willing to put the effort in because I love it!
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm following you now :-)
    ~Jessica
    http://jeansandateacup.blogspot.com/

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  29. I love this post; very well said! I'm gonna have to read that book, too!

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  30. Thanks for posting this Bonnie, I really liked it! I read it with my hubby, and he agrees :)

    lifemedschoolwife.blogspot.com

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  31. yup marriage is work indeed, it is only a noun until there is action behind it and then it comes a verb, as in i am married. you can't except a marriage to be good if you don't work on it and it is 24/7 you have to work on it. our church is doing a series titled real marriage and yesterday it spoke about your spouse being your best friend and after marriage you still have to remain friends it was a great reminder

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  32. I love this post! Such a great way to put it, Marriage is your favorite kind of work. It's so important to try and put effort into your marriage. Your post has inspired me! Thanks for stopping by, newest follower!

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  33. That excerpt is brilliant. I've never thought of it as "picking work that you like." It's also interesting to see that she writes in exactly the same style as she talks! On The Office, I mean. Kudos to you for finding your favorite kind of work. :)

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  34. First of all, you've convinced me to read this book because I LOVE her and The Office. Next, I absolutely love that you said marriage should be your favorite kind of work. SO true!!

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  35. I love this! I believe that it wouldn't be more true. I can't wait to see for myself next April!

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  36. I loved this post so much I just put a link to it in my newest blog post. Yeah, for free because we're family. You're welcome. ;)

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