What “Happily Ever After” Really Means

I don’t believe in fairytales, but I believe in marriage

By Samantha Chin | 4 February, 2017

I absolutely adore animated movies – I grew up watching Disney movie after Disney movie, singing to catchy tunes and laughing along with cute characters. Almost every plot involved a beautiful princess who found a brave prince willing to slay dragons and evil witches all in the name of love, and by the end of the movie, lived happily ever after. Even dogs and lions found their one true love!

Little did I know, these movies were leading me to believe in a picture of love and marriage that was unrealistic. Though I haven’t gained a prince charming, I have, thankfully, gained a little more wisdom in this area of love.

Love is Patient

When I was 16, I dreamed of meeting someone special by 22, getting married to him at 25, and having children by 28. This year I turn 29, and the wedding bells haven't rung for me. Where was the fairytale ending I had been hoping for?

Unlike the movies where one can easily predict that the "happily ever after" will come at the end, it is never so predictable in real life. It takes some people much longer to find their marriage partner, if they do get married at all. Am I to give up hope? No, I believe not, and neither should all my single friends out there who are still waiting.

I don't understand God's timing, and I sure wish He would quicken His pace, but I have since come to understand that He knows best, and it is up to me to trust Him. Knowing I need this constant reminder, I have Proverbs 16:9 pasted on my bedroom wall, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Tough as it is, I believe He is using this time of singleness to prune me so that I will be more prepared to enter into a covenant relationship with someone He has in store for me when (and if) the time comes. Most of all, the love story my Divine Matchmaker writes will be so much more glorious than I can ever plan or imagine.

Love is Unconditional

Other than the perfect timing, I also had a grand idea of the man I would eventually marry. He would be God-fearing, humorous, caring, loves dogs, able to lead, able to listen attentively yet also talk, and not forgetting serving in full-time ministry, or at least considering it. Without realising it, I was actually looking for someone who has it all together, just like the brave and handsome male lead in the countless movies I have watched.

That was until my best friend honestly remarked that if the Lord were to bring someone who doesn't fulfill these ideals of mine, I would actually reject him. My first response was to protest that these are good desires (I wanted to serve God alongside my spouse, isn't that godly thinking!) but deep down, I knew she was right.

The reality is marriage brings together two sinners who are still works in progress. This means that the man I marry will have weaknesses I may not like and quirks that irritate me. It means having to work on my own shortcomings when I’d rather they remain buried. Marriage is about two imperfect people helping each other become more like Christ, more and more beautiful each day. And maybe that is also what makes marriage so wonderful – having someone know you inside out, warts and all, and still loving you the same.

Love is a Decision

Cinderella was always dreaming about meeting her prince, so was Rapunzel, and Snow White and… you get the idea. It was almost as if their life was incomplete till they found him. When they did, it was bliss, a whole new world unlocked. Unfortunately, I thought just like they did. I was constantly searching for someone who would finally make me feel special and complete.

Another friend once posed a question: If one day you find the person you have been dreaming of all your life, and yet you don't feel as fulfilled as you expected to be, what happens then? It was a necessary reminder that I must first and foremost find my ultimate fulfillment in Christ, for only He can truly satisfy. I am slowly beginning to say with the Psalmist in Psalms 73:25, “Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.”

I also need to remember that love is not just about receiving – it is also about giving. It is giving even when I do not feel like it, when I’d rather be doing something else, and when I just can’t stand the sight of him. Love is a verb, not merely a feeling. I will experience romance and laughter, but I will also experience sacrifice, humility and refinement.

I still love animated movies, my friends can attest to that; but I now watch them knowing that love isn’t all about happy endings. That doesn’t make me desire marriage any less, and though I have much more to learn, having a realistic understanding of it reduces the likelihood I run in the other direction when facing difficulties with my spouse. Marriage as God intended is nothing like what is usually portrayed in movies - it is so much better.


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