If you're married, you are likely aware that despite the fact you have the state-sanctioned security of a life partner while also scoring a totally romantic tax benefits, maintaining a decent union (or any lifelong union, for that matter) is an American Ninja-esque obstacle course of emotional intimacy.

"They" say the first year of marriage is the hardest; 15 months and in I can confirm as much. Unless you were already sharing a lease, bills and bank accounts before you tied the knot, it can be really tumultous. Moreover, we had to adjust to sharing a grander vision of our future, making sacrifices for one another, and ensuring that we didn't just fall into roommate mode.

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I'm certain I'm not alone here, if only because one other person has come forward to admit that this marriage shit is rather challenging: Angelina Jolie. Despite having all the money in the world, a beautiful brood of children, an army of nannies and a husband who has secured his place in the "sexiest man alive" canon, she's divulged that marriage is tough. Well, duh. Being fancy and famous does not exempt you from the shit-stained gauntlet of love.

"Maintaining a marriage and raising kids is hard work," Jolie tells The Australian Womens Weekly; I would like to think that given the long-term partnership she and Pitt shared prior to actually getting hitched, this is not a revelation. But it's that phrase, "maintaining a marriage," that jumped out to me. It's not an unusual phrase — I'm sure many of us have casually said those exact words — but they reflect perhaps a culturally subconscious view of marriage, that it's this independent commodity that requires attention and care, like a car or something.

On the one hand, it's healthy think of marriage as this sort of...thing that exists outside of ourselves, not something that defines who we are as individuals. But if you take the sentimental view of marriage — the one that views the situation as a loving, lifelong partnership — is "maintenance" the right word? Discuss.

Image via Getty.