real life

OPINION: "Marriage is f**king hard work." - Em

Em and her husband Scott.







Are you ready for my 5:15pm 3 coffees down high on cold and flu medication truth bomb extravaganza?

Marriage is fucking hard work.

It is hinted at, written about, studied and mumbled but I don’t think enough married people are saying to other married people: “My relationship can be a clusterfuck of disappointment, frustration and finger pointing.”

Which reminds me. Hey, you guys: Sometimes my marriage is a clusterfuck of disappointment, frustration and finger pointing.

(I really love the word clusterfuck. It is powerful, heavy and desperate all at once.)

I’m writing about this today because last week a married lady I know and love whispered this to me over a wine or 6. She said it like it was a defeat, as though she was disappointing the Relationship Gods by daring to utter those words out loud. Deep sighs and great swills of wine followed her admission, my response?


There are thousands upon thousands of relationship experts giving us unsolicited advice on how to spice up our marriages, listen to our partners and generally have a dream union. No one mentions what to do when you’re in an epic stand-off with your other half over whose turn it is to clean up the dog’s spew.

“I feel that if more of us admitted that to each other, they’d be less pressure to be in a perfect relationship to begin with.”

Not mine!

Not mine!

You both declare – so the aforementioned spew sits for days, congealing on the bathroom floor into a circle of stiffened yellow stomach lining.

That is the shit that tests marriages more than anything. At least it is in my house, the battle over whose turn is it to do the crappy menial every day tasks. Add some young kids, and your life becomes about existing not living, you just “get through” days rather than experience them.

This week I’ve been pretty sick, bed-ridden sick. So my contribution to the machine stopped for a couple of days and, my God, the wheels fell off. I resented that, I resented that the dickheads* in my family couldn’t pick up the slack for 2 days. The washing is now at an offensive level, there is no food and the house looks as though we are squatting in it.

I cracked it at Scott. I didn’t understand why he didn’t do more.

He said: “I was tired, I did enough, everything is ok.”

I suppose it was, not my OK but his OK which he is totally OK with, OK?!

Our arguments usually take this theme, me being disappointed with his lack of effort and him feeling ripped off and thinking that I choose to see the glass half empty when it comes to him. He says I am too hard on him and that my standards are unrealistic – and he’s totally right.

You see when I ask him to do something what I mean to say is “Please do that thing EXACTLY the way I would do it.” I like to scrub the toilet bowl until it cries for mercy; his version of that is flushing it and lighting a match. Don’t even get me started on the toilet roll war. Call me crazy but I don’t call placing the new roll ON TOP of the holder doing it right!


Serenity now. Serenity now.

Em Rusciano with her daughters.

I share this with you because I want you to know that my marriage can be hard work. I feel that if more of us admitted that to each other, they’d be less pressure to be in a perfect relationship to begin with. We’d stop holding each other to unrealistic standards. Maybe you aren’t going on romantic date nights like so many therapists recommend but maybe you got through the day without flipping the love of your life your middle finger while silently mouthing “go fuck yourself sideways” and you’re both laying silently on the couch together holding hands.


My relationship can also be the bedrock upon which I build my emotional foundations. I lost someone very dear to me a month ago and if it wasn’t for my husband’s support I’m pretty sure I would have folded into two and given up. I love him, he loves me, we love our kids and sometimes that breaks my balls and sometimes it makes my heart burst with joy.

It’s not always bad, but it can be and that’s all I really wanted to say.


(*I love these people but they can sometimes be massive dickheads.)