Work vs. Effort

February 14, 2014

in the generous life

♥ ♥ ♥ WooHoo! Today is Valentine’s Day ♥ ♥ ♥
Romance your man!

Fawn of Happy Wives Club wrote an excellent post called 3 Easy Ways You Can Strengthen Marriages Around You Every Day (do take the time to read the whole post).

Her second point jumped out at me because I just hate it when people say “marriage is hard work.” (Seriously it really aggravates me.) They make it sound like you’ll be slaving away in a rock quarry for the rest of your life.

Intuitively I knew it was a bad way to express it but I struggled to explain the why. Fawn does this beautifully when she writes:

2. Help them change their thought that marriage is “hard work”.  Most of us are underpaid and underappreciated for the work we do.  When you call marriage “work,” you subconsciously tell yourself you are giving more than you are receiving.  But when you use words like “effort” or “investment,” there is an expectation there will be a reward.  The more effort you put in the more reward you will get out.  The more investment you put it, the larger the dividend that pays out.  By helping your friend change her phrase,“marriage is hard work,” to “marriage takes effort,” you have just changed how she sees her marriage. 

Marriage is an amazing adventure with the love of your life. It’s worth a little “effort” and “investment.”

Kudos to you, Fawn.

If you want to read more by Fawn, check out her new book Happy Wives Club: One Woman’s Worldwide Search for the Secrets of a Great Marriage.


Journey to Surrender: A New Spin on Scorekeeping Focus on the good stuff.


Fierce Marriage: 4 Ways to Prove to Your Spouse You Love Them (Part 2) Stand with each other in your dreams.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr Richard Norris February 14, 2014 at 1:47 am

A great point. My wife and I have never believed that our marriage is hard work. It’s of immense value and worth every effort we invest in it.

As you say, how you describe marriage can change how you view it. Words have life and power. What you focus on you bring on. If you think it’s work, it will be. When coaching clients I get them to replace the word “work” in their vocabulary to the word “fun”. When things are fun, time flies, problems are passing and solutions come quicker all with a lighter spirit. Imagine what would happen if we all described marriage is fun. If that’s what you think it is that’s what it will be.


It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m off to have some more fun in my marriage. You?


Lori - The Generous Wife February 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

I’m off to share coffee and a pastry with my man at our local coffee shop. It’s our new favorite “date.”


Amy February 14, 2014 at 7:53 am

I too have always hated when people say that marriage is such hard work. I often think that type of thinking leads to so much discontent in marriage because it puts everything in more of a negative light.
Happy Valentine’s Day!


Lori - The Generous Wife February 14, 2014 at 2:17 pm

How we say something can deeply shape how we see our marriages. Happy Valentine’s Day back at ya.


Fawn @ Happy Wives Club February 14, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Thanks for sharing that, Lori! I hadn’t even thought much about it when I was writing it but now that I see it by itself, I think I’ll begin sharing that more often. <3


Lori - The Generous Wife February 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I’m ecstatic. The mystery of how to fix the “marriage is hard work” dilemma has been solved for me. :)


Melanie February 14, 2016 at 5:45 am

Interesting. While I have never thought of our marriage as being hard work, my husband and I do tell people that simply because we are often told that our marriage is easy or we are just right for each other and we ruffle at the idea we are happy on accident when we know we make intentional choices that have caused our happy marriage. Still I have always hated when I would hear my husband tell someone how much work marriage is because it has never felt hard. Yet strangely never occurs to us to change the language. Effort, investment, intentional. Will be our responses going forward.


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