“It’s All Downhill After Marriage”

I wonder what you’ve been led to believe about life after marriage.

The message I heard before becoming a bride is that it’s all downhill after you exchange wedding vows.

Oh, no one ever said those words to me exactly. What they did say was, “Enjoy this [dating] season, Paula. Your boyfriend will never treat you better than he does now.” Doesn’t that sound a whole lot like “It’s all downhill after marriage” to you?

While Trevor and I were dating, I often shared this belief/fear with him, and he always told me he didn’t believe it; things would only get better. Oh, how I wanted to believe him, but I was skeptical. Could he really be right?

Well, nine months into marriage, I can joyfully say he was.

Wait for a humble, servant-hearted man who is on board with God’s beautiful design for marriage.

I love and enjoy my husband so much more than I did while I was dating him, and he loves me so much better than he did when he was dating me. Don’t get me wrong; wedded bliss doesn’t magically increase without the occasional tear-streaked faces, pained hearts, difficult conversations, and hard work. We had our fair share of these this past week. But we also had a wonderful date, punctuated by sweet, heartfelt conversation.

We blew our entire dating budget for the month at a Brazilian steakhouse, and then went shopping (yes, I managed to get him to shop with me!). But the delicious meal we consumed and the clothes we returned home with weren’t what made our date so wonderful.

It was the discussion my husband initiated. “I was listening to a rap song called ‘Date Night’ today,” he began, “and the lyrics said, ‘How am I doing good? How should I repent?’ What do you think?”

And so we sat at our table holding hands, building each other up, and then sharing how we can be even more helpful to each other. It was the kind of meaningful conversation nearly every wife longs for.

Why do I tell you this? To make you feel bad because you’re still single and I’m not? No way! I tell you this because you need to know that it is not all downhill after marriage.

Well, to be perfectly clear, that depends entirely on whom you marry. Since marriage, my burden has only increased that you choose and marry well. It matters, big time.

Wait for a humble, servant-hearted man who is on board with God’s beautiful design for marriage found in Ephesians 5:22–33. He won’t be a perfect man. But he–and your relationship–will only grow sweeter with time.

This is what I long for you. This is God’s desire for marriage: a tangible display of Christ-centered, Christ-like love that shows how awesome His
sacrificial love is for His Bride.

I wonder, what have you been believing about life after marriage?

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York.

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  • daughter of the King

    I had definitely been believing that it will probably be awful, thanks to unhappily married or divorced people. Thanks for presenting a different perspective!

    • I’m so sorry, daughter of the King. I had my years expecting that as well.

      Would you pray that God would put happily-married couples in your life so you could catch a front-row seat to the beauty of marriage as He intended it?

  • Fulbrightgirl

    Great to hear your passion for marriage, the lifelong journey that is not downhill after the wedding but an ongoing discovery.

  • Erin Weitzel

    I am so glad that you are happy in your new marriage! Congratulations! However, I think I should point out that you are still a newlywed – 8 months is very early on. 🙂 I have only been married 10 years, and I know that couples who have been married decades and decades longer than I have could point out how much more I have to learn, but I just want to say that the dating relationship and the marriage relationship are very different. My husband does not treat me the same as he did when we were dating, and I do not treat him the same. Sometimes he treats me better, and sometimes he treats me worse (as do I to him!). We are both different people than we were 11.5 years ago when we met. It is impossible to keep up the heat that exists in a new relationship all the time; it ebbs and flows and comes back at times when you’re not expecting it. Marriage is different, and that’s okay. Sometimes it is downhill (and what’s bad about downhill? That’s the best part of a roller coaster!), sometimes it’s a terrible uphill battle, sometimes it’s an effortless coast, sometimes it’s a stroll…it’s like all of life, because it is life – walking through life with your partner and (hopefully!) best friend.

    • Congrats on ten years of marriage, Erin. That’s awesome!

      Just to clarify, this post is specifically addressing the assumed “fact” (i.e. lie) that your husband will never treat you as well after marriage as he did before marriage.

      Obviously Trevor and I still have a lifetime to live together, but it doesn’t take more than a couple days for two sinners to set a negative trajectory for their marriage.

      What I am wanting to help girls see through this post is that with God’s help, with intentional communication, humility, and forgiveness, two people can set a tone of respect and love from day one of their marriage–and their trajectory can only get better and better.

      I hope that helps you understand where I’m coming from,

      paula

  • beesh

    Aw that’s awesome! I’ve only been married for 10 1/2 months (you know it hasn’t been long when you can say “and 1/2 months” lol). And I was nervous too, because of some of the things people told me about marriage. But I can happily say Ive been pleasantly surprised. Though we’ve had our moments of bickering and what not, one thing I am so grateful for is that my husband loves God and is tenderhearted towards him, so even if he does mess up, I know that God can deal with his heart and change him. It’s been an amazing few months and though not perfect, I can say that we love each other now more than before we got married, and I’m looking forward to the years ahead, God willing 🙂

  • Carol

    After working with a Hospice bereavement program with widows and widowers who were married for 30, 40 and 50+ years I am convinced it does NOT need to be downhill after marriage. These people loved their spouses and had the stories to prove it. And, after 40 years of being supported and loved by my best friend I can testify that it is NOT downhill after marriage. Is it always perfect and rosy, no, but totally worthwhile to find God’s best for each other.

    • What a beautiful testimony, Carol. Thanks for sharing!

      • Carol Harding

        Thanks, Paula–this is Q!

        • Q!!! I didn’t know you worked with a Hospice program. Are you still at Moody too? Love you. 🙂

          • Q Harding

            Hi Paula! Have been volunteering with Hospice bereavement support groups since 2009. It has been a big blessing in my life since I retired from Moody in 2008. I still teach online for Moody. Joe retired from Moody in 2012 and we live in central OH north of Columbus. If you ever come this way, please let me know. Love following you on Fb. Congratulations on your superb work and testimony. Love to you, Q

          • Loved hearing an update on your lives, Q. Thank you for continuing to be fruitful! I would love to drop by if we’re ever traveling through central Ohio. 🙂

            Blessings,

            paula

  • Kiara

    My nurturing, considerate gentleman of a husband has been a joy to grow with over the last 14 years. It can only get better as time wears on! We have had plenty to deal with though—-major surgery, losing our parents, illnesses, and dealing with hostile people in our extended family. However, through both good and hard times, we have always been each other’s confidante and best friend. We praise God for His love, mercy, and goodness towards us, and hope we can bless other marrieds by encouraging them to glorify God in their husband/wife relationships.

    • Beautiful, Kiara. I’m sorry for all you’ve been through the last fourteen years, but so grateful you’ve weathered it all “together.”

  • hannahb

    This really was an encouraging article for me as it seems to be that marriage could be right around the corner for me. Sometimes I get trapped into a mentality that things might be boring because you know that person so well. Despite those feelings, I know truth and that one of God’s greatest gifts is marriage and He never designs blessings to be boring. I’m excited for that new chapter, whenever the Lord wills it to come. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Grace-Michaela Ingles

    I just came back from camp and caught up on everything, and this was a real encouragement 🙂 I love that you’re encouraging girls on this subject since it’s a big thing out there. This was nice to read 🙂

  • maya anne

    Lovelovelove this post! My Family has a really negative view of marriage so it sometimes seems like the only guys out there are bad. Its refreshing to know that there are still times when it works out 🙂 🙂

    • Absolutely, Maya Anne! Two believers in Christ who are full of His Spirit have every chance in the world for a beautiful marriage. 🙂

      • maya anne

        My mom is a strong believer and my dad claims to be but he. Doesn’t really seem like it. That’s why the marriage is messy. But I can see where if both individuals care about God and the other then it would turn out to be something described as “beautiful” 🙂 Thank you for giving me hope!

  • Esther

    Thank you for posting. I have been married for two days shy of six months. I totally agree!! It gets better after you marry. Even the tears and brokenhearted feelings turn out better because we try to help the other…and sometimes without the tears and broken feelings for a moment, you can’t really see the problem. Idk if that makes sense or not…anyhow!! I was so blessed by your confession that you had a few doubts. I did too!!!! And all the gals and women around me kept saying they never had doubts, weren’t ever worried before they got married. I felt that maybe there was something wrong… It just blessed me that you had doubts too. I am sorry you had to struggle with them though. I know that isn’t fun!

    • So glad to hear that it’s getting better for you too, Esther! Thank You, Lord. Please help us all continue to grow in our love for you and for our spouses.