Happy Marriages Are Taboo And A Dirty Little Secret
June 11, 2018 Living Single

Happy In Their Marriage
Sometime last year, I wrote a post asking married people to tell me what they love about being married. I wanted to hear stories of couples that are happy in their marriage. It’s important that single people hear about and see a side of marriage that’s not popular; the happy side.

Marriage Is Hard
I don’t know about you but all I hear day in and day out is marriage is hard. It’s drudgery, gloom and a whole lot of doom and that is why it was refreshing to hear  Ali Wentworth share how happy she is in her marriage to George Stephanopholus.

Losing Her
I’m a fan of Ali. She’s a comedian and actress and her husband is an anchor on Good Morning America. They met and were engaged within two months then married a few months later. After their first date, George said, “I knew within 24 hours, I would not ever dare risk losing her.”

Forever And A Day
Ladies if I’ve told you once I’ve told you twice and now I’m telling you a third time just in case you didn’t get it; when a man knows, he knows and he will let you know. You do not need to date him forever and a day.

Dirty Little Secret
In an article titled, When Did A Happy Marriage Become So Taboo? Ali shares what she calls her dirty little secret: “I’ve been happily married to George for 17 years.” She continues with:

Sitcoms depict married life as a bickering couple; he’s usually heavy and not very attractive, and she’s usually too smart and beautiful for him. There’s a lot of eye-rolling. The couple grudgingly put up with each other and a laugh track.

Switch to a cable drama: one of them has murdered the other. The best-selling books and records are always slanted toward relationships gone bad. And how would daytime talk shows survive if we couldn’t trawl for signs of infidelity or enforce paternity tests? It’s embedded in our culture.

The few couples I know with good marriages keep it on the down-low. We meet after dusk at nondescript, out-of-the-way joints. Sometimes Brooklyn, sometimes one of our homes. We close the shades. We make sure nobody sees us holding hands, giggling,or, God forbid, embracing. So until things in our country change, I will have to become masterful at changing the subject and, in some cases, flat out lying about the state of my union.

Happiness They Experience
Spot on! It’s very rare to see happily married couples much less hear a couple speak about the happiness they experience in marriage.

Marital Misery
A study was mentioned in an article titled, Please Don’t Hide Your Happy Marriage that revealed, “It’s harder to go public with marital happiness than with marital misery.” The study conducted by University of Minnesota professor Bill Doherty, who directs the Minnesota Couples on the Brink Project says, “The former seems boastful and insensitive to people who are not married or not so happy. The latter, well, that’s being open and vulnerable.” He continues with:

The danger of hiding our happy marriages is that the unhealthy relationships in our culture can begin to drown out the good examples of marriage that are all around us. When the media bombards us with one unhealthy example after another of love gone wrong, and when the majority of people we know complain about their spouses, it can feel like “happy ever after” no longer exists. This can be especially debilitating to the marriage dreams of young people who are fearful of long-term commitment or who don’t have healthy marriage examples in their own families.

No Interest In Marriage
What he said in that entire paragraph is the reason many singles have no interest in marriage. If marriage looks like a picture of perpetual unhappiness, why would anyone sign up for it?

Are You Happy?
I often hear couples brag and boast saying something along the lines of; “We’ve been married 30 years” but when I look at them, all I want to ask is, but are you happy? Is the goal to stay married no matter what or is the goal to stay married till death do us part and be happy while doing it? Can you do both?

Leaves Or Dies
Seems like couples start out happy then the happiness wears thin and they become the sitcom couple who bickers and puts up with each other until one leaves or dies.

We Do Fight
Ali emphasizes, “Talking about being happily married does not mean we have to brag or make it seem like our marriage is flawless or even easy. I said I love my husband, not that our marriage is perfect,” noting that they do fight from time to time. What married couple doesn’t?

Something to think about…

What say you? Are happy marriages taboo? How do you talk about marriage? How do people talk about marriage to you? Do you hide your happy marriage? Is it a dirty little secret? 

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"21" Comments
  1. Yvonne, great article. I’m happy in my marriage, and I’d never thought about the pressure to minimize around other because some aren’t. But I think that’s true.

  2. Fascinating perspective! It has become so main stream to complain about our marriage and our men, but we aren’t doing it in a constructive way that enables us to seek the help we need. Those who are happy in their marriages have an obligation to share what’s helped and what’s given them hope as they overcame their messes, so that more marriages can become the masterpieces God designed them to be! Blessings!
    Liz recently posted…Word Nerd Wednesday – Feast of TabernaclesMy Profile

    • @Liz,

      You’re so right; it has become mainstream to speak badly about men.

      Sharing what’s helped to create the happiness plus what’s given hope as they overcame messes would definitely be great to hear.

      We live in a world of pretending so not sure if that will ever happen. Everyone wants to act like their lives are so perfect (check Instagram) when we all know it’s not. Transparency is so freeing.
      Yvonne Chase recently posted…Bad Mouthing An Ex Can Make It Difficult To Start AnewMy Profile

  3. I am definitly in a happy marriage, and I think they are more accepted in the church. However, now that you mention it, banter about marriage pitfalls are still quite frequent… That’s always bothered me. We should want to build each other up, not tear each other down…
    Heather Hart recently posted…Back to the Beginning with JesusMy Profile

  4. This is an interesting perspective that I’m so glad you’re writing about! I haven’t really put enough thought into this. I am in a very happy marriage, and I do feel pressure sometimes to keep quiet about it because it can make other people feel bad if their marriage isn’t good. Perhaps I need to rethink that…. Thanks!
    Lisa notes recently posted…When You Are Confused, Is God?My Profile

  5. @Lisa,

    I’m begging you to rethink it. No one wants to be around a bragger who comes off as if everything is perfect in their world. If you avoid that way of being, it is perfectly fine to talk about the happiness in your marriage.

    Sharing it gives others hope especially those who are in a not so happy place in their marriage. Also, sharing how you got to that happy place is even better.

    I believe most marriages start out happy then life happens. Some recover and get the happiness back while others don’t. Hearing that perspective would be very helpful to those who want to be married, those who are newlyweds and also those who might be thinking of throwing in the towel.
    Yvonne Chase recently posted…Bill Cosby, Andrea Constand And A Couple Of Rules For LivingMy Profile

  6. I think it’s sad that happy marriages tend to be the exception rather than the rule! I wonder if the trouble is we often expect our spouse to be our everything and make us happy always and that is just too much pressure to put on one person. We need to be gracious and forgiving with our spouses and always seeking their welfare above our own – that is what true love is anyway.
    Hannah from

    • @Hannah,

      You’re on to something. As I listen to others talk about relationships and I look back in my own past relationships, there is an unrealistic expectation of our person to be our everything and to always make us happy.

      Thankfully, my brother got me away from that expectation a long time ago in one of our talks about marriage. He said, marriage can add happiness to your life, however, it is not responsible for your happiness nor will it make you happy.

  7. This is so good! I have thought about this sometimes, usually mid-conversation, and the way I refer to my marriage relationship is usually depending on what company I am in at the time–are they happy too, or are they struggling? I have a great marriage, but it has not always been this healthy.

    I love to champion great marriages, and I love to encourage the couples who are having a hard time.

    One of the greatest gifts we can give our married friends is the gift of perspective. When a friend calls me and wants to complain about her husband, I’m not going to affirm how much of a no-good-lazy-insensitive-cave-man he is. I’ll hear what she is saying, (sometimes we just need a safe place to vent) but I will always encourage her to look at things from a generous point of view, and ask her where she can give their relationship some grace. We sometimes need reminders of their gifts and strengths and how we can make a good team.

    There’s so much opportunity for us to honor our spouses, and so much noise out there telling us to look down on them.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing, this is a serious topic and I love how brave you (and Ali) are to talk about it!
    Cindy C recently posted…Discipline with Gentleness – How Relying on God’s Kindness Can Transform Our ChildrenMy Profile

  8. I suppose there’s no comedy or drama in a happy marriage, so we don’t hear about them, but marital harmony certainly makes for a better life!
    Michele Morin recently posted…Where Wrath and Love Run WildMy Profile

  9. Great article! Marriage is a lot of hard work, and it can be disheartening to see marriages fall apart around you. My husband and I celebrated 20 years of marriage in December and are having a vow renewal next weekend. It takes patience and respect, plus trying not to take your partner for granted!

  10. There are some great points here! I’ve noticed that on social media too, where couples are much quicker to complain about their spouse than to share their good times and happiness. Let’s change the culture and show the world that happy marriages really do exist!

  11. Wow! You are so right. Singles really don’t feel like they have something to look forward to. Even completely happy marriage almost come off as insincere at times because of the huge emphasis on unhappy marriages. People feel like they are hiding something. May God continue to use truly good marriages to those who need the inspiration. #destinationinspiration

  12. @Brittany,

    I know a lot of single people who don’t want to marry because of what they hear and see about marriage. The picture is just not good nor is the language used to describe marriage and that is why I was so happy to have Ali’s take on it. We need to hear more about the happiness of marriage.
    Yvonne Chase recently posted…Happy Marriages Are Taboo And A Dirty Little SecretMy Profile

  13. Yvonne, great topic! Rev and I have been married for 46 years and yes, we’re happy! We’ve served in ministry, run a stewardship/consulting business, and raised a family all as team efforts. There is no one with whom I’d rather spend a day. I’m very blessed!
    Deb Wolf recently posted…25 of the Best Ways to Love Yourself the Way God WantsMy Profile

  14. Thanks Yvonne. A friend who was in a sharing group, getting to know each other. Each sharing where they were at in life, many with broken relationships. My friend, despite having had two adult children killed in separate car accidents, shared how grateful he was for his wife and family.
    He was later reprimanded for sharing his happy life when others around him were not happy.

    Yes, the culture needs to change.
    The Blogger’s Pit Stop will feature this post at the next Pit Stop to help encourage change. Good for you, this is two features in two weeks 🙂

  15. @Kathleen,

    That’s a shame he was reprimanded for sharing his happiness. I’m sure he thought it would inspire others. We definitely need to change the culture and I’m doing my part in my little corner of the blogosphere.

    Thanks so much for back to back features. I appreciate you.
    Yvonne Chase recently posted…Unmarried Men Are Wimping Out By Being Commitment-PhobesMy Profile

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