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You’ve been to the chapel, you’ve got married. What next? Now is the time you embark on your married life together. For some, it doesn’t look all that different from the life you had before you said your vows. The only difference for those people is that you no longer have the stress of organising and preparing a wedding for your entire family and friends. For others, it’s all about starting a family and moving into a new chapter of your life that includes the loving chaos of children.

While the wedding brochures, bride magazines and wedding planning posters all show you the smiling bride and groom, hand in hand as they go off on their honeymoon, this is not a true picture of marriage itself. Marriage is hard. Sometimes it’s boring and exhausting and it can make you cry with the stagnation of it. Sometimes, marriage feels like one huge waiting game; waiting for the next adventure you’re going to have, the next child to be born, the next family holiday. Of course, among all this negativity is the good. It’s the laughing together, the knowing you have someone by your side to lean on in times of sadness and grief. Marriage is the bond and strength you find together as a couple that anchors you together, both of you against the world.

Like anything in life, it can go wrong. Things go wrong all the time. House deals fall through, children get sick and sometimes there is a need for divorce solicitors to step in. Sometimes, the reality of divorce is enough to jolt a marriage back to life and in other times, it’s the divorce that is the making of the two who turn out to be in sunshine again when they’re apart instead of shaded together. Life after a wedding can be beautiful. It’s not always easy, but the shine never wears off for some couples out there and it’s those couples that are the lucky ones.

We live in a world where we throw out the broken things rather than spend the time fixing them back together. For some, divorce is the answer and the couple that were having problems become best friends again once they’re not tied together with vows anymore. The thing about marriage, is that it takes work. You don’t just say ‘I do’ and that’s the hard bit done. You need the years stretching ahead of you to be together, discovering a whole new side of life and growing up and older together. You don’t have to lose the fun, or the romance. While that kind of goes on pause when children become a part of the picture, there’s a whole stretch of time together for reinvention and rediscovery.

Always remember you were young lovers before you became a married couple with children. That memory – that spark – will keep your marriage fires burning long into the life you’ve planned together. Look forward to the happily ever after and live it like you’re still on honeymoon, and you won’t go wrong.