If you are married and you are reading this, you probably know what I’m talking about:

The wedding day came and went.

So did the honeymoon. And then you are back to “real life” to do what, according to romantic novels, movies and fairytales is known as “living happily ever after.

And it is no surprise that you notice in the blink of an eye that this is way easier said than done.

A Happy Marriage Does Not Just Happen…

While there are countless reasons to justify why almost half of newlywed couples eventually get divorced, one of the main “culprits” is the false set of expectations that the couple may have built around the concept of marriage.

Just because you had the ultimate dream wedding and the most exotic (and expensive!) honeymoon trip, where you and your spouse were the “main characters” of the fairytale, does not guarantee that the rest of your marriage will be “picture perfect.”

So you get back to life and you realize all of a sudden that your mailbox is full of bills that need to get paid (someone has to pay for that huge party and trip, right?) You and your spouse wake up in the morning and realize that breakfast doesn’t “miraculously” appear perfectly set up and served at the table. And unless you make your own bed, you’ll find it just as messy as you both left it in the morning when you left for (yup, you guessed it…) WORK!!!

It is right then and there that you have a major wake up call:

Your life after the wedding is exactly the same as it used to be before you tied the knot.

Maybe now you and your spouse are finally living under the same roof (no more going home to sleep alone after a long, fun day spent with your honey – yay!) Or maybe you and your spouse used to live together before getting married, in which case, well, the only difference is that now you’re both wearing shiny wedding bands on your hands.

Everything else in your lives is just the same… POP! (that’s the sound of your “fantasy bubble” bursting.)

Reality check…

The most important thing every newlywed couple has to understand and come to terms with is that the two of them are the only ones responsible for creating their own “happily ever after.”

And just like you cannot expect to get paid your salary for doing absolutely nothing, you can’t expect to be happy in your marriage if you and your spouse don’t work at it.

Being happily married and living “happily ever after” is a constant work in progress. It doesn’t just happen.

Stuff happens.

The world keeps turning. Things will fall out of place. Problems will arise. You will at some point face a less-than-pleasant situation. You will wake up with a cold. You will have a bad hair day. Bottom-line: you cannot expect that just because now you are married, things will magically fix themselves.

It may sound ridiculous, but many couples decide to get married only because they think that their lives will “get better” once they do. All the problems in their lives seem to shrink under the illusion created by the wedding planning and the honeymoon, and they hit them like a ton of bricks the minute they get back and realize that is not going to happen.

The couple then blames each other for the problems in their respective lives… And you can pretty much guess where the story ends.

But I don’t want you to think that once the wedding and honeymoon are over your life is set to be doomed.

You CAN Live Happily Ever After!

While it is true that a happy marriage won’t happen “just because,” if you and your spouse constantly make the effort to really get to know, understand and support each other, it is pretty certain that you both will be well on your way towards the road of marriage bliss.

Once you and your spouse see yourselves as a strong team, as reliable partners, as unconditional friends, then life becomes much easier… And a lot more fun!

It is then, and only then, when you realize that even if life gets messy and complicated once in a while, at least now you are not alone to face it. After all, “making lemonade out of life’s lemons” can be a lot more fun when you do it with your spouse than all by yourself.

And that is truly what a happy marriage is all about.


Did you and your spouse have an ideal about your “happily ever after?”

If you did, tell us below what it was and how it differs or is similar to your current married life.


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Photo credit: ihave3kids

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2 Responses to A Happy Marriage Does Not “Just Happen…”

  • Melissa Johnson says:

    Our main “fantasy” was that the “in sickness” portion of our vows wouldn’t really come into play until we were in our 50’s (more like 60’s, to be honest). Yeah, well, it came into play in our early 30’s, just 7 years into the marriage. My husband developed chronic daily migraines that so seriously debilitated him that he has had to have an occipital nerve stimulator implanted, and had to quit his full time job in 04, which cut our income in half. (Although even before he quit, it was a struggle for him to get through a 40 hour week). He was eventually diagnosed with fibromyalgia as the culprit. It’s not terminal, but it’s a serious, extremely painful condition that really, has wreaked havoc on our lives. If we had not committed before the marriage to be “in it for life” – and made God the center of our marriage – we would not have made it through this. (And we’re still in the midst of it). We will celebrate 20 yrs this year, and it’s been sobering to realize that chronic illness has been a major player 13 out of the 20 years. But – we said this was for life…and that doesn’t change just because the going gets rough (and possibly stays rough for an extended time). It’s just made us work on things as they arise, and not let them fester. We’d still do it all over again…even with all the hard times. God is good, all the time – all the time, God is good!

    • ILBHM says:

      Hi Melissa,

      Thank you very much for your comment! We completely understand your situation since, in less than 7 years of marriage, we have had to deal with our share of health challenges as well. We commend and respect you for your strong commitment to your marriage vows – you are a true example to follow! We wish you and your husband only good things to come and thank you very much for sharing such an inspirational story.

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