Once upon a time there was a man and a woman. They met, became friends, dated and fell in love. They decided that they could not imagine living without spending every day together. They became engaged and were married … and they lived happily ever after.
Those three dots between getting married and living happily ever after are where John and I have spent the last 26 years. Growing up, I believed that happily ever after would mean having no more worries, never disagreeing, never struggling. Many times I thought John and I had arrived at "happily ever after," but something has always come along to bring us back to real life.
In our marriage, we live in the reality of those dots. Growing and struggling and working and playing — that is the real life of marriage. It is not some blissful dream. When John and I married, we promised to love each other in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad. Still, I have to admit that, on the day we were married, I was hoping for happily ever after. I imagined that we would reach it one day.
I have come to discover that the joy of marriage is not that, somehow, we will magically arrive at "happily ever after." The joy of marriage is in those dots of daily life. Those dots signify going to sleep nestled together and waking up together. They represent babies being born and runny noses and giving the dog a bath and spending long hours in the car. They are as boring as watching "The Little Mermaid" for the 500th time and as exciting as watching John be ordained. For me, happily ever after no longer means that there will never be another disappointment. Instead, I now believe that happily ever after means recognizing the blessing in every moment of our married life together.