Marriage Is Not Always Love

by Holly Reid
Originally Published: 
A man and a woman sitting on a couch and realizing that marriage is not always love
fizkes / Getty

Dear Husband,

If I’ve learned anything so far about marriage, it’s that it’s not always love.

I think you’d agree that sometimes marriage is neither patient nor kind. Sometimes marriage is wondering what the hell you were thinking when you tied yourself to this one person for the rest of your life. It’s clashing egos and being annoyed by the same quirks that used to be so endearing. That singing voice is no longer adorably off-key; it’s give-my-ears-liberty-or-give-me-death terrible.

Every once in a while, marriage is giving each other the middle finger when backs are turned (or not), swearing in increasingly creative combinations in your head. It is taking everything personally, like the tiniest perceived slight is a booming declaration of war. These are the times marriage is irritating. Disappointing. Unfair.

But other times, marriage is something completely different. Other times, marriage is feeling like I’m drowning, then looking up and seeing you there and feeling the air rush back into my lungs. It’s meeting your eyes from across a crowded room and being able to tell you in a glance that I am done human-ing for the day, let’s please go home right this minute.

It is watching our children accomplish something new for the first time and knowing the swell of pride I feel is exactly mirrored in your chest. It is loving them more than life, despite the fact they are nonsensical, unreasonable little humans. But we could each talk about the most inane details of their activities, and still revel in it because they are ours. And sometimes, it’s parenting in shifts just so the other person can catch their breath because JFC, this is exhausting.

It’s sharing the weight of sadness that the dog we got together so many years ago is old and white, and we’re both anticipating the same heartbreak to come.

It is the deep contentment and comfort in the quiet moments, when we sit on the couch, look at each other knowingly, and unbutton our jeans. Not for sexy time. Because we indulged and now our overstuffed guts demand it (okay, this is admittedly more me than you, but I digress). It is glorying in the lack of self-consciousness. These are the times marriage is amazing. Bliss. Perfect.

Marriage is feeling both the anger and the joy, climbing the peaks and sinking into the valleys. It’s hearing the twin death knells of resentment and contempt but purposely, determinedly fighting them away together.

Marriage and love may not always be the same. They may converge and divide and tangle and fray like the threads on a favorite, worn blanket. But I’ll share this blanket with you as long as we both choose to, which I honestly hope is forever. Just please don’t sing. You really are terrible.

Love anyway,

Your Wife

This article was originally published on