Playing in the NFL is tough. Going through grueling two-a-day practices in the 100 degree Arizona heat. Fighting with all your strength to PRACTICE well enough to make the team. Working even harder to earn a starting spot. Hoping you don’t get cut after those three intense weeks. And that’s just August.

Follow that up by putting on heavy pads and a helmet and running full speed into 300 pound men who all feel like they’re made of steel. Injuries abound, pressure mounts, and friendships dwindle. And you haven’t even played a game yet.

When you finally get to the games that count—the fun part—even then you are endlessly scrutinized by analysts and criticized by fans, amplified all the more by social media.

Don’t get me wrong. The pay is great and the fame definitely has its perks, but playing in the NFL is not an easy job. And up to three weeks ago, I would have said it was the hardest job in the world.

What happened three weeks ago, you ask? I got married.

Let me say that I have the utmost respect for every husband out there. In fact, before I got married, I took a poll and asked every man I knew who had been married for more than a few years to tell me what had been the toughest part about marriage. I heard answers like, “You finally realize how selfish you are,” “You’re not only making decisions for yourself, now you have to take someone else into consideration,” and even answers like, “She is a reflection of you, like a flower. If you water her, prune her, and shed light on her, she’ll blossom. If you don’t, she won’t. And you take responsibility for that.”

These were some heavy statements, that I THOUGHT I was ready to tackle. Boy was I wrong. Marriage is single-handedly one of the hardest things in the world. It takes sacrifice, it takes leadership, and quite frankly, it takes guts.

I have a biblical view of marriage, in which I’m called to love my wife the way Christ loved his people, the church. How did Christ love the church? He DIED for it. Jesus asked God to forgive them as they were killing him. That’s some deep stuff. That’s what marriage is about. But there’s more.

See, I also asked my friends to tell me about the upsides of marriage. I heard things like, “You get to do life with your best friend,” “You get to serve your wife and see her grow,” and one guy even said, “You get to have sex as much as you want—without feeling bad about it!”

Since our wedding day, I’ve learned that marriage is very hard, but it is also well worth it. As a matter of fact, I think the challenges are what make it worthwhile. The blood, sweat, and tears you put in to make it work. To stick it out even when things look bleak. To never give up on your wife, and to lead her well. To die for her. THAT, my friends, is the hardest job in the world.

At least until we have kids, that is…

#LFG