It was the middle of the first night of Joe and Betsy’s honeymoon. Betsy awoke from her peaceful, newly married slumber and for a moment, gazed upon the sweet face of her new husband as a sliver of moonlight caressed his jawline. He was handsome; there was no doubt about that. But it was his strength, passion for life and relationship with the Lord that made Betsy love him. It had been a beautiful day, complete with solemn vows, beautiful flower arrangements, and friends and family to congratulate them. She had loved every minute of it and had replayed it in her mind as they drove three hours to the bungalow that was to be their haven for the next week. A small smile played at her lips as she thought about how Joe had meticulously planned every detail of the honeymoon they were now enjoying. He had booked a little waterfront cottage with a shabby chic interior, bright windows and private access to the beach. Upon their arrival, Betsy was welcomed with a bouquet of peach, lavender and white lilies – her favorite – and a bottle of sparkling cider to celebrate. Lost in her reverie,Betsy gently eased herself out of bed and padded to the bathroom. She decided against turning the light on for fear that it would wake her exhausted husband.

As Joe snored peacefully, he was suddenly awoken by Betsy’s screams followed by a loud BANG. Adrenaline pumping and fear clawing at his mind, Joe jumped out of bed and sprinted for the bathroom. “Betsy!” he cried. Grabbing a vase near the doorway to use as a weapon, Joe flung the door open to confront his attacker. Blinded by the light, he ducked just in time to narrowly miss the hair dryer that careened toward him. His attacker assailed him with wide, angry eyes and frizzy blonde hair sticking out on all sides. Wailing, Betsy flung her fists in Joe’s direction. “I can’t believe you, Joe! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?! Obviously you WEREN’T thinking! You are so insensitive! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THIS TO ME!” Joe froze, bewildered, and blinked to adjust his vision. Water covered the floor and a wet, disheveled Betsy shot daggers at him with her eyes. “What happened?” Joe exclaimed when he found his voice. “What do you think happened, Joe?! You left the toilet seat up and when I sat down to use the bathroom, I FELL IN!”

Les Parrott's Making Happy
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Many are the tales of the first few years of marriage. Whether it’s of the good times or the bad times, every seasoned couple can come up with a few stories of their own. There are two camps that couples tend to fall into: the “marriage is difficult” camp, or the “marriage is bliss” camp. Now, the general consensus that most people who fall into the “marriage is bliss” camp are young, unmarried or engaged couples who have yet to experience it. However, there are couples who have been married for decades who still manage to equate marriage to this world’s paradise. Upon encountering such people, my question has been this: What is it that makes you say marriage is truly all that it’s cracked up to be? Or that it is even better than you dreamed it would be? We all know relationships take hard work and commitment. But what is it that makes a couple not only get through difficult times, but thrive in them? I’ll give you a hint: difficulty lends to bliss. Over the next few segments of this series,I hope to expound on just what it means for difficulty to lend itself to bliss, because the truth is, in marriage you will encounter difficulties, but you will also encounter more joy and happiness than you could have ever hoped for or imagined.