Marital Bliss

Marital Bliss

by Paige Braley

Marital bliss is defined as happiness in marriage. Happiness in marriage has a lot to do with fulfilled or unfulfilled expectations. Expectations can be healthy, giving us boundaries, and goal-setting abilities. But at the same time, unrealistic expectations can set us up for devastation, and feeling like failures for not achieving the thing that never existed in the first place.

Our love story is one that is ordinary, yet unique and wonderful in so many ways. Starting off as friends, the relationship between Jeremy and me progressed into more. We set off to travel the world together, then fell even deeper in love, became engaged a year later, and were married a year after that.

Next comes the part that’s a bit more unconventional, our first year of marriage.

The Perfect Marriage

We heard it over and over again: “The first year of marriage will be the hardest.” Only for us, it wasn’t. Nothing really changed. We were still out at sea, living the same routine of a life. Nothing really felt different, at all. I don’t know what I was expecting, but life just kind of “went on.”

What did marriage at sea look like for us? You might expect me to compare and contrast the lifestyle and marriage at sea to what a suburban marriage looks like, but I don’t want to go “circumstantial” here. Rather, I’d like to dig deeper into the depths of what our marriage looked like, which can be summed up in one word: dreaming. During our first few years, we dreamed of the future. We knew that living at sea wasn’t forever, so we were able to idealize what the future would hold for us. We dreamed of sharing everything, for the rest of our lives together. The home, the community, the family, the adventures, the life.

In doing so, we were also able to stay remarkably present. We cherished and savored each moment of the here and now, knowing it would someday be gone.


We then boldly stepped into what would come to be our true first year of marriage. And full disclosure, we’re only about four months in. And my, how expectations never really match reality.

What do I mean? I mean that there’s much more to juggle than ever imagined. And again, I don’t mean circumstantially. I mean the stuff that people didn’t warn us about. People came at us from all angles with questions like, “What’s it going to be like to do your own laundry? Are you sure you’ll want to cook your own food? How will you manage everyday things like traffic and paying the bills?” Don’t get me wrong, those things took a minute to adjust to, for sure. But it’s the deeper ideals that are really the current battle.

I wonder why people didn’t mention that communication is actually a challenge, that time alone as just the two of us would be difficult to carve out, that sometimes the desire to dream and the desire for one another is beat out by the many distractions of a busy world. Nobody mentioned that decision-making can feel crippling and overwhelming and take on more forms of regret and fear than we ever knew existed, that intimacy and closeness drop lower and lower on the to-do list each day, and that romance takes intentionality and effort. Welcome to our real, first year of marriage.

But let me tell you what else people didn’t mention when “warning us” of the doom that we were sure to walk through once we stepped out of paradise and back onto dry land. . . .

  • Within four months, we’ve sown tighter to one another than we ever had when everything was going according to plan and the routine.
  • With each trial and struggle, the connection has gone a layer deeper.
  • Being surrounded by close friends with godly, intentional marriages pours into our struggles daily and helps guide us in the right direction.
  • Taking a leap of faith together has brought a storm of spiritual warfare, but also a tighter bond and partnership with Christ in our marriage.
  • When junk hits the fan with one of you, you’ll see love take on a whole different form.
  • There will be seasons when one of you is thriving and the other is down, and it’s by design that God gave you the other to help you carry your burdens.
  • Decision Day means that we choose each other over and over again, unconditionally so.

What We Know Now

We are currently living, like most, right in the middle. Going from building a life entirely out of our own sufficiency to surrendering it all to God feels a bit overwhelming at times. We had our plates, and we were spinning them all just fine. It was challenging, sure, we were tired, sure—but we were doing it. And this new chapter feels a bit like choosing to drop them all, trusting that Jesus will meet us and help pick them back up. Only, he’s only going to pick up the ones that matter, and he’s also probably going to give us a few other plates to manage with him that before we couldn’t even see.

I believe the most incredible thing we’ve learned is that no matter how much you think you’ve created a thriving life and marriage, if it’s founded in circumstances, it’s sure to crumble. But when it’s founded in the single greatest command, love, and fueled by guidance and dependence on God, it will withstand anything.

These words from God are so true:

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8, NIV).

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NIV).

“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (Colossians 3:14, NIV).


Paige Braley is a singer/songwriter and author, who is fully embracing a season of transition while spending her time creating for God.

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