5 Keys to Living Happily Ever After

Little Girl's Dreams of Finding Her Prince

As little girls I think every one of us watched the movie Cinderella with wonder and excitement.  We dreamed of being Cinderella, with the beautiful gown, and perfect hair.  We dreamed of being able to dance with a Prince. A fairy tale life, which ended with living “happily ever after”.

Many of us went into our marriages with our own “Prince Charming” or at least he seemed to be a prince while we were dating. Our Prince was irresistibly romantic, thoughtful, a perfect gentleman and of course attentive to all our needs.

I remember the days we could make a date out of washing the car together.

It wasn’t until our honeymoon, that I discovered that my Prince Charming was not always so charming. He snored, wasn’t as patient as he could have been, and he left his underwear on the floor one foot away from the laundry basket. 

Where had my Prince gone?

What Happened to the Princess?

Let’s face it, I’m a scary sight in the morning without my hair and make-up done. Now Dave could see the real me, stretch marks, mood swings, bouts of depression, and pounds I wished were invisible.

The reality is, marriage is an adjustment, and will continue to be, as long as we live.

We added to our initial marriage adjustments, 3 children in the first 5 years of our marriage. This change added a completely new dimension to our relationship. My Prince was now a father as well, and I had many expectations of what a good father should be.

And then there was post-partum. When my second child Sarah was born, my oldest child David was just about 2. Just a few days after she was born I remember nursing Sarah and asking David to go and brush his teeth. Instead, he stood at the bathroom sink, and squirted toothpaste everywhere.

Where was my Prince? I needed rescuing!

Dave was at the church playing basketball that evening. I was physically and  emotionally exhausted, and frustrated with the fact that Dave had left me alone with the kids so he could have a night out with the guys. My hormones were in full swing and I started crying uncontrollably. David had never seen me cry, and he was so upset by it, that he started to cry and yell. I tried explaining to David that because I had recently had a baby, there were these things called hormones inside me, and they were making me feel sad. I told him that I loved him, and that I was sorry for being so upset.  

I  was able to reach Dave at the church, and luckily for both of us, he left his basketball game to come home and try and calm me down. The next day David asked me, “Mom how are your horn things?” He meant hormones of course but I just smiled.

Children Change a Marriage

A lot of changes happen when children enter a marriage.

  1. Our bodies change
  2. Our hormones change
  3. Our roles change
  4. Our financial situation changes
  5. Our sex drive changes

When I saw the bed at night, all I could think about was sleep. I didn’t want to be hugged, or touched.  Sex? Who had the energy for that?

I have often wondered "Is this all there is to marriage?"

Where are you at in your Cinderella story? How does your story compare to mine?

Dave and I are now in our 28th year of the “happily ever after”, and we’ve definitely made some progress in many areas of our relationship.

Our marriage has grown better with each passing year. It’s still not perfect, because we aren’t perfect, but it is getting better all the time.

I am glad we have hung in there together and weathered the storms.

Five Keys to "Happily Ever After"

Work hard at staying in love.

  • On hard days, dwell on the happy times you’ve had together.
  • Remind yourself why you fell in love with your spouse. 
  • Do fun things together. Make the time.
  • As your interests change, develop  new interests together in each season of life.

Lower your expectations.

Marriages unite 2 unique individuals with huge differences. It’s impossible to get along perfectly, 100% of the time.

We can choose to see our mate, as the wonderful man we couldn’t wait to marry, or we can put expectations on him that he can’t possibly achieve, and then belittle him when he fails. 

Extend grace to your husband.

Extending grace means I accept you, and I choose to love you, even though I know you’re not perfect. I see your flaws, but I choose to overlook those, and to love you for who you are, not who I wish you’d be.

Strive for intimacy.

We need to allow ourselves to be real with our husbands. We need to take off our masks, and admit our struggles. We must allow him the chance to get to know the real us.

Being fully known, and loved, is a priceless gift.

Remember Your Commitment.

If possible, take a look at your vows. What did you promise one another? How did you promise to love?Then each day and each year, continue to put those vows into action.

“Happily Ever After” will not be an easy, or perfect ride, because it involves two imperfect people. But God is for us, and God is for marriage. With God’s help and grace, our happily ever after may not be happy every day, but we can find joy in each day if we love others well.

Our kids are all grown up now, so check out – 6 Things my Empty Nest is Teaching Me.

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