IMG_20140128_180311For years, I primarily heard marriage described as ‘hard.’

So many parts of me rebel at that idea. Marriage is deeply joyful, fulfilling, and yes, even happy. It is full of sacrifice and dying to self, but I never wanted my first words about marriage to be that it is first and foremost hard.

Using the word “hard” to describe this new adventure that is marriage meant in my mind that our marriage is off to a rocky start, or that it is a roller coaster of emotions and unreasonableness.

But I am realizing that marriage is, in fact, hard. And hard is not bad.

Every season in life is hard. Middle school is hard. College is hard. Adult life is hard. Hard does not mean that we despair. It does not mean that we are a mess and if we could just get our life together, it would no longer need to be hard.

Marriage is just another season that presents challenges and changes and asks great things of us. Every season in life has the same ultimate end for the Christian: sainthood. Sainthood is won primarily through hardship and suffering.

I am so happy to be married. But it is hard. The sting of loneliness in a new city, the struggles in this new season that we are entering of waiting to move again, and the daily opportunities to navigate this making of one life from two lives prove to be quite hard at times.

So I am slowly learning that “hard” is not a bad word.

Hardship does not mean we are not happy or that we love each other less.

Hardship means that the refiner’s fire is in this season, just as it has been in every season before and will be in every one after. The fire is here in the hardship and in the joys, consuming our dross, refining our gold, and crafting us into saints.

It is hard. And that is okay.

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