Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After: A Tribute to Marriage From a Fifty-Year Veteran promotes marriage as the most rewarding and beneficial decision a couple can make for themselves. More a “Why-to” book than a “How-to” book, the author uses personal experiences from his fifty-plus year marriage to illustrate both the prerequisites to a good marriage, as well as its rewards.


Coincidentally, I was in a church-sponsored marriage preparation class for those entering a second marriage when I ran across Hayes’ book “Happily Ever After.” It was like a breath of fresh air. Our church group is currently using “How to Save Your Second Marriage Before it Starts” as a study guide, and, undoubtedly, it is a valuable tool to promote vital, but often unspoken discussions around those issues faced by couples marrying a second time (such as blending lots of “stuff” from children to furniture and finances, old baggage from past marriages, long-held beliefs, or even care for aging parents). Although there is great humor that runs alongside the fear of doing all this a second time around, “Happily Ever After” is a gentle reminder that the reason we’re willing to do it all again is to experience what Del and Colleen have experienced and Hayes so eloquently relates…for that special companionship, the joy, and for God’s blessing and support through the next chapters of our lives. An inspiring book.

Jeannette H.

Full disclosure: I’m the author’s son. I’m also approaching my third anniversary, so my dad’s thoughts on fifty years of marriage are of particular interest to me, blood or not.

What I’ve found most valuable about Happily Ever After isn’t so much what my dad has to say about marriage, but how he says it. Browse the marriage section in the local book store and you’ll no doubt find it lined with negativity: how to save a failing marriage, how to keep the romance alive, how to communicate with your spouse. It’s hard not to come away with the sense that marriage isn’t for the faint of heart, and might just not be worth the trouble. If it takes so many experts to help people get through, why even try?

My dad, on the other hand, takes the positive approach. Sure, marriage is hard, but most soul-satisfying journeys are. He contends that marriage has taken much too bad a rap from people who simply misunderstand the nature of the institution. He might not be a credentialed expert, but he has been married for fifty years, so he’s certainly an expert in that regard.

Dad personalizes the book with his own marriage story as a case study, sharing the secrets–and not-so-secrets–of enjoying a successful marriage. In doing so, and examining the causes and effects of current attitudes about marriage, he reveals marriage as the best path for true happiness and discovering one’s full potential as a person.

Filled with humor and humility, Dad’s book is at once a candid memoir about an enduring marriage, and a love letter to the “sacred institution.” Take it from me, not as his son, but as someone who’s had the incredible fortune to see and benefit from it: This is the way marriage should be, and can. See for yourself

Clint H.