My friends and I talk about how marriage isn't promised so often and how it's almost become a joke. But it's not, it's true.

Here's the thing, we were all raised to believe that marriage is the climax of the story. It's what we're working towards in all of our lives. It's our greatest and most desired accomplishment.

Don't believe me? Think of almost any fairytale you grew up watching. "Cinderella," "The Little Mermaid," "Snow White." The list goes on. What do they all have in common? They all END with the princess and the prince falling in love and getting married. Then the credits roll.

I have yet to see a fairytale that STARTS with love and marriage and then continues on to all of the other amazing and exciting adventures still to come in life.

OR that doesn't include a princess and a prince falling in love at all.

What I'm getting at is this: marriage isn't the end all be all. It's NOT the biggest thing we will ever achieve in life. It's also not always the happily ever after the movies make it out to be.

Here's what I'm not saying. I'm not saying marriage is bad because it's not. It's an amazing gift from God and the best picture we have on this side of heaven of what Jesus's love for us looks like. And I'm not saying that you're not getting married or that you shouldn't get married. Marriage is an amazing and sacrificial act, and I hope one day I get married and that you do too.

What I am saying is that life keeps happening after the wedding and after the credits roll, and it also starts happening WAY before.

Our greatest adventures and biggest achievements in life are the times we decide to buckle up and follow the Lord where He leads us. The times we're afraid to do what He tells us to do, but we do it anyway. The times we are lacking everything the world tells us to desire but feel completely satisfied because, by heavenly standards, we have all we could ever need.

Jesus promises us a lot in the Bible, and every one of those promises comes true. He promises us eternal life in heaven if we choose to believe in Him and that He sent His Son to die to save us. He promises us joy when we're in His presence, even when suffering surrounds us. He promises us hope. He promises us purpose.

I hate to break it to you, nowhere in the Bible does He promise marriage. Yes, the Lord wants to give us the desires of our hearts and, yes, He created us to be in community with others. We crave connection, and that is by design.

Far more importantly, He created us to be in relationship with HIM. That is the relationship we should covet. That is the relationship we should work towards. That is how the fairytales should end because that is the only place we can TRULY be fulfilled, and it is the only love that will never let us down.

So maybe the fairytales should start with the royal wedding and end with us in heaven because that is truly the happily ever after we're all dreaming about.