Yes, Happy Marriages Do Exist (And Are TOTALLY Possible)

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happy marriage myth or real

And all it takes it ONE word.

“Unicorn,” is defined as, “a creature of the imagination; a person that exists only in legends or myths or fiction.”

With Starbuck’s new addition to its menu, I wondered what made them choose that name for their new drink. Is it magical and rare? A unique blend of pink and blue? Although I’m a fan of my decaf Americanos, I don’t have a desire to taste the Unicorn Frappuccino, but it did make me think about other Unicorns.

As a therapist, mediator and attorney, I see many unhappy individuals and couples longing for the “happily ever after” they had planned.

The ones in the most pain are not sure if they want to stay or go.

To many of my clients, the possibility of experiencing a truly happy marriage seems as remote and impossible as a sighting of that imaginary creature.

But a happy marriage is not a mythical or magical experience. It’s the end result of many acts of two people who truly CARE about each other.

You can appreciate that despite your best efforts, from time-to-time you’re going to trigger each other. Or hurt each other. Or scare, sadden, or disappoint the other.

The difference between reality and mythology is that the happy marriage doesn’t miraculously appear. In the real world, you can create a happy marriage by learning a few compassionate communication skills — including empathy and forgiveness — and applying them liberally and often to your partner.

What I have learned over the years is that the difference between a happy and an unhappy marriage is that in the happy one, each partner CARES.

Let me explain what that means.

C Compassion


Compassion is not codependency. It’s a healthy perspective on your own needs as well as your partner’s.

It’s knowing the 5 steps to receive what you truly want and need and practicing the miracle of empathy.



Acceptance is the ability to love someone for who they are —  of all the idiosyncrasies that make your partner unique and not who you need them to be.

It is also accepting the humanity and divinity of both of you, knowing we are spiritual beings having a human experience. And marriage can trigger all our human parts.



Respect is the ability to see the good traits of your partner and honor those. No one is perfect, rather we are all our own unique individual selves.

As Sam Keen said, " We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” 


Empathy means you listen, understand, and truly care what your partner feels, and they learn to do the same for you.

You drop the walls around your heart and the filters through which you have judged each other and truly relate from your heart.



True self-love is the ability to take exquisite care of yourself, no matter the circumstances.

You give yourself the attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance you need. Then you share all that love with your partner.

Bottom line: Unicorns don’t exist, but happy marriages do you can have one — if you try.

If you're unclear where your relationship is breaking down in the CARES model, I can help. Take my free Unhappy Marriage Quiz and find out how to heal and transform your relationship. (And if you do your best, and CARE as much as possible and it's still not meeting your needs, you can have a Compassionate SELF-Led Divorce®, which isn't a Unicorn either.) Linda Kroll is a therapist, mediator, attorney, Chopra Certified Master Teacher, and author of the bestselling Compassionate Mediation® for Relationships at a Crossroad: How to Add Passion to Your Marriage or Compassion to Your Divorce. 

This article was originally published at Linda Kroll. Reprinted with permission from the author.