Is “Happily ever after…” even a thing?
That’s the question that’s given me insomnia over the last three years. Sometimes I lose sleep for a week, tossing and turning going over the stats and stories of divorce over and over again in my mind. Is it possible for anyone to actually stay married? And, if they manage to stay together, can they also be happy and not just suffering through life together? Who even came up with this phrase “Happily ever after…”? Had they experienced it themselves?
Then I discovered that most couples who divorce do so within the first three years after the wedding. Newlyweds become divorcees. Isn’t it called the honeymoon phase for a reason? Why aren’t the newlyweds blissfully carrying on?
So many questions and underneath all of them I have wondered if my own marriage is somehow doomed. This is how #staymarried was born, really. Night after sleepless night, I’d roll over on my tear-soaked pillow and search for my husband’s face in the dark, pleading for reassurance that we were somehow different. And, after all of the sleeplessness, I began to read and then to post the truth and research of what keeps a couple married on Twitter and Facebook, and then here at #staymarried.
You see, it turns out we do believe it’s possible. We believe it for ourselves and for you. But, we also believe that Happily Ever After doesn’t come naturally to any of us. It takes work. And too often, couples that have been married three years or less are simply unaware of what that work actually entails. They want to stay married, they simply are not equipped. They spend so much time falling in love, and then planning a wedding, that they get married not realizing that those feelings that draw them together at the beginning will not actually sustain them over time.
Those first few years are critical. And what keeps a couple together is not really all that mysterious. If couples could get a grasp on these six areas, or at least begin to have healthy discussions about them, they could build for themselves a solid foundation for the rest of their lives.
Every couple should spend the time to not only fully disclose their current finances and habits, but also to learn how to get out of debt, how to navigate differing views on spending, establish roles and responsibilities, and how to invest in their marriage.
2. Intimacy and Sex
Discussing how often you’d like to have sex is just not enough. Couples should spend time discovering how to communicate with each other about sex, how to eliminate distractions, and to learn the major differences between intimacy and sex and how to get the most out of both.
3. Self Discovery
It is impossible to expect someone else to understand you if you haven’t yet spent the time to understand yourself, why you respond the way you do, what truly motivates you, and what makes you feel vulnerable and afraid.
4. Family of Origin
The family you grew up in will always have a major influence on your life. Couples need to learn as much as they can about each other’s families and their dynamics, discuss boundaries to protect their own marriage, and learn to create new traditions of their own.
5. Healthy Conflict
Fighting and arguing do not necessarily predict divorce, but the way a couple handles conflict absolutely does. Couples who want their marriage to last should learn how to have healthy conflict, methods and tools for fighting fair, and how to apologize and forgive one another over and over again.
Besides conflict, couples need to learn early on how to be heard and understood in the simple daily interactions of life. Learning to communicate well is like fight-prevention insurance that all couples should invest in.
If a couple invests in these six conversations, in learning as much as they can about themselves, about each other, and about what it takes to navigate these things well, they will be able to get past that three year mark and far beyond.
Knowing about these six major areas has fueled much of the content that we provide for you here at #staymarried. It’s also the reason we started a podcast. We have always wanted to do as much as we can to get you the support you need to have the marriage you want. We are constantly dreaming and thinking and asking ourselves what more we can do. Well, thankfully, we aren’t the only ones. Our friends Meygan and Casey Caston from Marriage 365 have developed a genius program to address these very issues!
Because the beginning of a couple’s relationship is so crucial, Meygan and Casey have put focused energy into developing a brand new program called Happily Ever After that is specifically designed to guide couples who are seriously dating, engaged, or newly married through these six crucial topics. If you’re not familiar with their work, go check out the other things they do with Marriage 365. We’re sure you’ll fall in love with them the way we have because of their genuine and positive nature, and the way they make these ultra wise concepts accessible to the rest of us.
What I love about Happily Ever After is that they have done the work to make this interactive, accessible from any device, fun, and ridiculously affordable! Like us, they believe wholeheartedly in investing in other couples and they also believe that when we invest in our own marriages, we are better for it. So, for less money than I spent on just the candles for my own wedding, you get the entire program and access to all videos and resources for an entire year!
Can you tell I’m excited about it? Great resources aren’t easy to come by, so when I find one, I want to make sure you all know about it! Here’s a video from Meygan and Casey so you can see what I mean about them. Then, go check out Happily Ever After for yourself.
Let us know in the comments below if there’s a crucial conversation you think I’ve missed in my list. What other vital area of marriage could couples who are just starting out really benefit from? What more can Tony and I and Casey and Meygan from Marriage 365 do to support you in your marriage? We really do want to know. Until then, invest wisely, and #staymarried.
The #staymarried blog was created to offer hope, stories, and resources for couples who want to stay married.
This is not a sponsored post. However, we are actively partnering with Marriage 365 to spread the word about Happily Ever After and, as such, we may receive compensation for couples who sign up for this great resource by using the affiliate links in this post. Still, as always, all opinions and words are our own and we only review and recommend resources we truly believe in.
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Thank you ever so much for reading, sharing, and being a part of this #staymarried community!