Marriage Doesn’t Work

“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

These seven little words can be the start of a world of passion and possibility, or for some, it could signal the beginning of fear and frustration. I have seen countless hopefuls with starry eyes and dreams of eternal splendor vow that their marriage would be the former. “I mean, look how beautiful and successful our courtship has been,” they proclaim. “Marriage will be a breeze!”

Nevertheless, as soon as the ceremony ends, the cracks in the foundation of their relationship start to widen. The hairline fractures were already present during the courtship but were hidden by emotion and youthful fantasy. Eventually, the reality hits that you are expected to be faithful and committed to this person till death. You realize your spouse will not always be youthful and stunning, and that marriage requires you to dig deep for maturity that you’ve never accessed before. For some, this is too much to handle. Let’s face it: Sometimes a person is simply emotionally unprepared for such a big and permanent step as being married for life. 

Chris and Paige from season 12 of Married at First Sight are a shining example of this fact. Paige has the determination and resolve to be wed for life and accept her husband with his flaws while extending grace to make the relationship work. Chris believed he had the same resolve—before the wedding day. But when the fantasy of his imagined marriage did not match the reality of matrimony, he began to quickly unravel. 

Even in traditional marriages, it is not uncommon for a person to deceive themselves into thinking they’re ready for the intensity of the union. But let’s be real: Even with counseling and the best preparation, you will still be surprised by how you will react under marital stress. 

How do you know if your partner is (or was) ready for marriage? Simply put, you cannot know with absolute surety. You can only measure one’s readiness by their behavior in a given situation. For example:

  • Are they kind and respectful to the women and men close to them?  
  • Are they respectful to people with service careers (servers, attendants, etc.)? 
  • Is money their main motivation and what they talk about primarily? 
  • Have they have worked for something through difficulty, from start to completion, without quitting?
  • What are the moral principles and values they live their life by?

In the end, marriage doesn’t work. People work! Marriage is only the institution that people have legally joined. People must do the work to make marriage what they desire it to be.

Adored by many on “Married at First Sight,” Pastor Calvin Roberson is an ordained minister and pastoral counselor. Roberson and his wife, Wendy, operate the successful marriage coaching organization Married and Naked, and he is also the lead pastor at Progression church in Atlanta.