Have you noticed that some people who write about marriage seem to have no idea what they are talking about? My theory about it is that a lot of people think they know what makes a strong marriage or they’ve studied it or they’ve even been married themselves but that not a lot of people actually do marriage. It’s hard work. It’s deliberate effort. And it’s the long haul. It’s not effortless and magical and happily-ever-after just because we want it to be. We actually have to participate and invest in our marriage in order for it to someday become effortless and magical and happily-ever-after (meaning that it’s all possible if we apply ourselves, it’s just not a given simply because it’s a nice idea). And something else I’ve noticed is that the people who have had all the magic up front (you know, the people who equate “love” purely with “romance” and forget that real love also has a whole bunch of unglamorous other stuff mixed in like sacrifice, selflessness, service, generosity, forgiveness, compassion, humility, encouragement, companionship, and kindness) tend to try the least once the going gets tough. It’s like they can’t handle the disillusionment—the point of truth when we realize that this isn’t going to be easy. So just remember that marriage (the kind of marriage we always wanted) is hard work and that the best course of action is to keep at it because like vegetables in a garden, growing something worth having takes time and effort and great care.