Belle lived happily ever after.
Cinderella lived happily ever after.
Sleeping beauty, Snow White, and Repunzel did too.
So would I.
Like them I would set out to find my prince... a bit of drama, and a couple frogs later... I would finally be swept off my feet by "the one" and we would get married. I would look flawless, feel flawless, and everything would fall into place perfectly. Then we would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. Because like the princesses in the stories, as soon as I was wed, life would be bliss and happiness from that time forward.
Then I got married.
And I realized that happily ever after isn't always happy.
When the wedding bells die down and the honeymoon is over, life will happen. You'll have to get up for work. You might find yourself hungry cuz you or your spouse will forget to pack lunch. You'll spend mornings leaning over the toliet, sick as a dog because of the young life you carry. You'll say something, or be told something that just comes out so wrong... and hurts. You'll disagree on what room is the office or where to put the TV. You'll hurt each other because you are human and imperfect.
But that's not all, some of you will lose a child or a spouse. Others will be lied too by people they trust. Many will find out their wife has cancer, or their husband was just in a horrible car accident. You might be betrayed. Your child might get involved in drugs. You may lose your job. You may lose your home.
You may lose all your hope.
And when these things happen the last thing you will describe your life as being is "happily ever after."
I know because I've spend countless nights crying in ultimate pain, asking God why, after I had done everything right, my life felt so wrong.
Life has thrown me trials so bitter and painful that I thought my heart would literally break into a million pieces.
Then I realized I had skewed the true meaning of happily ever after.
You'll never be happy if you expect everything to fall into place perfectly.
You'll never be happy if you expect to be treated like gold 24/7.
You'll never be happy if you think God will never send you a trial.
So expect things to fall apart.
Expect to sometimes be hurt by the people you love.
And expect trials that push you to your very limits.
But also expect to be happy. Because living happily ever after means that despite what life throws at you, despite the hurt you cause each other, despite living in an imperfect world, you have made a choice to smile, because you know that happiness can be found in the darkest corners, and that in the end God truly will make everything right.
Happily ever after is not an event, it's a choice.
So choose to be happy.