Silhouette of couple in conflict

Marriage Isn't Easy

by Josiah Coburn


Can we be honest? Marriage isn’t easy.

 “But those who marry will have troubles in this life…” 1 Corinthians 7:28

We feel like it should be though, don’t we? 

Most of us entered into marriage with some kind of expectation – hope overwhelmed the reality of that verse. Surely, it can’t be that difficult, we think.

I overestimated my patience, my humility, my selflessness, my knowledge, and the application of it. I underestimated my need for grace, my need for my wife’s patience, and the need for the Holy Spirit’s constant intervention on my behalf.

Let’s be real – marriage is hard. Waking up next to your best friend on some days, and on others, next to the person you know isn’t your enemy – you just aren’t sure if they know that.

There is no relationship where brokenness hurts so much, nor is there any relationship that is more likely to be broken, at least from time to time. There is also no relationship as beautiful as marriage when it’s being lived well. 

I have a t-shirt that says “Dad… the toughest job you’ll ever love,” and in many ways it’s correct—it’s ridiculously difficult and absolutely rewarding, but I would say that marriage definitely falls higher on that list.


Alissa and I have been married 12 years now. Both of us had been married once before, and both of us were left with significant traumas. A marriage doesn’t end without some sort of grief you have to work through; whether death or divorce, there are pains and difficulties that need to be worked through. When we married, we thought this marriage would be easy because we knew Christ had to be the center of our marriage, and we knew we were both committed to keeping Him there, but of course, we experience trouble.

Just recently, we thought we were in a fantastic place. We were both very confident in that, but also realize relationship maintenance is important, so we decided to attend a marriage retreat to invest in our own marriage. The goal was to become even closer – and it was an absolutely wonderful weekend.

We got home on Monday night, and by Tuesday morning we were in conflict—and not the kind of conflict that gets resolved quickly. It was the type of conflict that made hope really difficult to see. Before we knew it, we’d moved from wedded bliss to full-scale warfare. 


Marriage isn’t easy for anyone, but there are a few things to remember that may help.

  • You will struggle sometimes, because if you don’t, you won’t really be able to help people or sympathize with the things they’re going through. 2 Corinthians 1:4 (HCSB) says “He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
  • You’re not alone. In helping people with their relationship struggles, I’ve found there’s really nothing ONLY YOU are experiencing, and you aren’t meant to go through it alone. Find people who aren’t just in your corner, but will help you fight for your marriage. Asking for prayer and seeking wise counsel was vital for us to restore peace in our hearts and home.
  • Pray. I know this sounds simple, but we didn’t stop to pray together in the midst of the “battle.” We saw the conflict and addressed it immediately, but didn’t pray. That was pretty close to running into a burning building and pouring gasoline on it instead of calling on the fire department. One of the largest improvements in our marriage came when we built a habit of consistently praying together, but we forgot to do it when it mattered most. When you enter into conflict, go to God – give Him your fears, your insecurities, and your pride. 


It took a few days for us to get things ironed out, and the process wasn’t pretty. It took a lot of praying—individually, with others, and with each other—in order to find resolve and to work through our personal junk. And honestly, we’re still working on strengthening the weaknesses it revealed in our relationship, but we are confident God is using this to make us look more like Jesus—and that, after all, is the goal.

Moving towards each other constantly and lovingly, in grace and truth, isn’t always easy – but if it were easy, we wouldn’t need Jesus.