Can you be truly happily married in the twenty-first century? I'm talking “till death do us part” long-term, forever happiness.
I decided to start a new column on Mondays – Marriage Madness – to explore the good, the bad, and the downright hysterical things that make up a good marriage. I write about Happily Ever Afters in my books, and I've been wanting to write about the real life Happily Ever After that I've been living. 🙂
In answer to my question, I say – Yes, you can be happily married! And I don't say that lightly just because I'm a romance writer. I may write fantasy (the people I write about are imaginary, after all), but there is real Truth in my stories, too.
Yesterday, John and I celebrated our twenty-third wedding anniversary! We've been married longer than we were single! That's incredible. I mean, when we met and I decided I was going to get this guy to fall in love with me and marry me, I thought that to be 45 was to be middle-aged. (At 19, 45 was over twice my age!) I figured people didn't really have sex anymore at 45. I figured there would be no more date nights, no more surprises.
Surprise! I was so wrong! (Thank God!)
I believe that, like with so many things in life, being happily married is a choice. You have to choose every day that you're happy with your decision to spend your life with this person. (Yes, sometimes it's a difficult choice! For both of you! LOL!)
You also have to choose to nurture your romance like a plant. Remember that there is a certain amount of water and sunshine the plant needs – and not all plants need the same things. (Last week, when I got help repotting a tiny bamboo plant, I found out bamboo plants don't need soil. Who knew?!)
For John and me, we need fun and laughter. We also need to be on the same path spiritually, both believing that God has an amazing plan for our lives and that we need to focus on that hope when times get tough. (Experience has proven us right on this point!)
I'm no marriage counselor, but I believe you can probably have a Happily Ever After marriage, too. 🙂
When was the last time you did something fun together? (John and I spent the whole weekend celebrating our anniversary – movies, ice cream, nice dinners, great wine, and that other thing I didn't think “old” people did when I was 19!)
When was the last time you were honest with each other? (Um, try something positive first like, I love your gourmet hamburgers, they're better than any restaurant. Let's save the I-hate-that-you-leave-the-toilet-seat-up for another time. Positive first, then constructive suggestions later. 😉 )
If you want to catch up with my stories on marriage, I wrote a post a few weeks ago about How I Became a Romance Writer with pictures of my wedding dress. I also wrote a guest post at a friend's blog called How Hotel Sex Turned Me Into a Romantic Comedy Writer. If you haven't read that one, you'll never believe the prank John pulled on our honeymoon!
What do you think? I heard a pastor say last month that marriage has moved into the top five things people are afraid of. Do you think that's true? Do you think people can still have a Happily Ever After?