Is Marriage Meant to Be Hard Work?

“Marriage is work”! Does that statement strike a chord with you? Do you feel as if you breezed through dating and courtship only to hit a bump in the road in marriage? If you do, you are not alone. Many couples opine that there’s a stark difference between marriage and dating. In marriage, they realize that they need to exert mental and physical effort to keep the wheels of their marriage turning. What came so easily and naturally during dating seems to have morphed into work. Hard work. What exactly changed? Did God design marriage as hard work?

My best friend in high school and I had vowed to be best friends forever. We both could not envision life without each other. We vowed to keep in touch and climb mountains if necessary just to keep our friendship ablaze. Needless to say, we lost touch when we joined different colleges and only reconnected through Facebook eons later. Left unattended, our friendship wilted faster than we could say “best friend.” There’s not a single relationship on the face of the earth that can thrive without the input of the parties involved. Constant communication, physical meetings, and support during tough times are some of the demands of friendships.

Couples feel as if they glided through courtship and dating because the relationship was mainly fueled by romantic love. This made relating with your partner feel effortless. But let’s be honest: romantic love grinds to a halt at some point. Your heart eventually stops racing, and you cease getting breathless when your macho man or damsel walks into the room. As such, your spouse won’t automatically feel loved and appreciated until they see your loving gestures. Your relationship is no longer driven by romantic love but by intentional love, aka work.

So yes, as a husband, you will need to listen to your wife’s winding tales, show her affection, and date her regularly. As a wife, you will need to prioritize sexual intimacy, respect his decisions, and compliment him. You will need to do things that don’t come naturally to you just to enthuse your partner. You will need to put in some work because marriage is indeed work.

A couple disagreeing, You hurt me! Now what?

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2. It’s Part of Your Christian Walk

We do not merely glide through our walk with Christ. Although salvation is a free gift of God, we must do our part to maintain our fellowship with God. Paul urged the Phillipian church to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12). Peter also asked the church to be diligent to make their call and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). Although Christ finished His redemptive work at the cross, we have to stay connected to Him through prayer, reading His word and fellowship with other believers. He asks us to draw near to Him so He can draw near us. In other words, He asks us to put in the work.

Part of this work for married couples will include tending your relationship with your spouse. Your life as a married person is not compartmentalized. Everything you do, whether you eat or drink, should bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and with all your mind, and the second is to love your neighbor as yourself. Your spouse is your “nearest” neighbor, and God commands that you love them as yourself. To accomplish that, you will definitely need to put in a lot of work.

3. God Has Set a High Standard for Marriage

God has a template for how couples should conduct their marriages. He uses the relationship between Christ and the church as the template. Wives are to submit to their husbands as unto the Lord, and husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:22-28). Quite frankly, living out this template in marriage is no mean feat. As a wife, you may wonder why you need to submit to a flawed human being. As a husband, you may not feel like your wife deserves the kind of sacrificial love Paul talks about. Living in step with this template requires you to deny yourself and die to your flesh. And that’s work. Hard work.

4. Every Gift Has Responsibilities

Couple on couch family conflict discussion arguing

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Paul wished that all men were like himself – single. He, however, acknowledged that each person had his gift. He had the gift of singlehood, while others had the gift of marriage. He advised those who could not exercise self-control to go ahead and marry(1 Corinthians 7:7-9). 

“But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord -how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world-how he may please his wife.” (1 Corinthians 7:32-33).


In the passage above, Paul doesn’t mince his words. He wishes everyone was without care like him. Here, he is referring to the responsibility that comes with being either a wife or husband. Paul, being unmarried, cared only about pleasing the Lord. But for his married counterparts? They did not have the luxury of being “carefree.” They had to think about how to please their spouses.

Paul’s message here is that choosing to get married is consciously taking on more responsibilities into your life. And to whom much is given, from him much will be required (Luke 12:48). If you are married, roll up your sleeves and do the work that comes with the blessing you enjoy.

Older married couple happy on couch

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5. God Wants to Build Your Marriage

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1).

As we have rightfully observed, marriage takes work from both spouses. However, all your labor in marriage will be in vain without God. You and your spouse cannot have a thriving marriage without God at the center. Millions of people across the globe have tried to build great marriages on their own, but their efforts have gone belly-up. We are to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. We are to acknowledge Him in all our ways, and He promises to make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Your marriage can only be made straight when you acknowledge God in all your dealings. Without Him, all your labor in marriage will be in vain.

King Solomon observed that only by God’s wisdom can a house be built and understanding be established (Proverbs 24:3). God wants couples to build their marriages only through the wisdom He provides through His Word. He wants couples to be like the wise man who built his house on the rock. When the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on the house; it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock (Mathew 7:24-25).


So yes, marriage takes work, but when we follow the wisdom in God’s Word, we build formidable marriages that glorify God.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/bernardbodo

Crosswalk Writer Keren KanyagoKeren Kanyago is a freelance writer and blogger at Parenting Spring. As a wife and mom, she uses her blog to weigh in on pertinent issues around parenting, marriage, and the Christian Faith. She holds a degree in mass communication with a specialty in print media. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram and/or shoot her an email at

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