I do not believe in marital bliss 24/7 despite the pictures on social media to the contrary.
As a marriage expert is my disbelief rooted in a cynicism about marital happiness?
Not at all. I believe in marital happiness, I just don’t believe such happiness happens 24/7.
What I do believe is that those who are the happiest in their marriages agree with me. The key to marital happiness is accepting a degree of marital unhappiness.
The Bible teaches, “If you marry you have not sinned but you will have trouble” (1 Corinthians 7:28). I call it the 80/20 rule in marriage, a figure of speech that captures an important reality. Twenty-percent of the time (so to speak), we have trouble. Happy couples accept this reality.
When I spoke to 5 NFL head coaches and their spouses about marriage, we all confessed that in the home we have marital troubles.
But no one takes pictures for Facebook that says, “Here is when I screamed at my husband, ‘You may be a great coach but your skills as a husband stink.’” Or, “This is when I walked out of the house in anger at my wife and drove to the stadium for practice. Note how I slammed the door.”
Such trouble does not evidence a bad marriage but a normal marriage.
ON CAMERA VS OFF-CAMERA
Don’t get me wrong. I am not justifying sin under the umbrella of trouble. More to the point, I am highlighting the reality of trials from lost coaching jobs, lost three year olds, and lost hope from terminal cancer.
The off-camera stuff.
Yes, a picture on Instagram can be a truly blissful marital moment. However, it is not the whole truth. The courts learned centuries ago that we must not only tell the truth but the whole truth. Partial truth misleads.
Social media misleads us. We see what is true but it is not the whole truth.
On camera is a husband and wife holding hands in a free fall skydiving adventure. But off camera is a free for all in route to the airport when discovering they lost a credit card!
On Camera: The family eating ice cream and laughing standing next to Dumbo at Disney-World.
Off Camera: Angry wife calling her husband Dumbo for not watching the three year old who ran across the parking lot!
On Camera: Romantic picnic with blanket, basket, roses, and cheers at a park overlooking the city.
Off Camera: Angry husband upset that his wife drove the car around all day without putting gas in the tank and he wonders if they can make it home!
There is no such thing as marital bliss 24/7.
LIVING HAPPILY EVER AFTER
Though God placed within us the belief that we will Live Happily Ever After, the fruition of this awaits us in the Heavenly Paradise Jesus promised.
However, here is the good news: the sooner we accept this 20%, the more we enjoy the 80%.
The truly great marriages got there by staying positive during the negative troubles. They did not let the 20% troubles poison the 80% that God intended as a happy, marital friendship.
- Do you need to adjust unrealistic expectations of marital bliss 24/7?
- How are your expectations undermining your happiness?
Remember…truly happy couples do not expect marital bliss 24/7.