You’ve come to the wrong blog if you’re here expecting to hear that a triumphant blare of trumpets will accompany your every perfect marriage moment.

If your idea of marriage success comes from the romance-novel standard where each perfect line of a perfect couple's perfect dialogue will live forever in your memories after each perfect day... in our opinion you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed.

Romance novels are popular precisely because they promise a fantasy: an incredible connection, lust, trust, compatibility and amazing sex-- -- with no baggage, little stress and few disagreements worth writing about.

Flip past the Fabio wannabe painted with long flowing hair and no shirt on the book cover, turn the pages and bear witness to the ‘proof’ that romantic love is easy: while the protagonists may struggle with external plot demons, there's a certain easy-breezy look and feel to the inevitable falling-for-each-other experienced by the two fated lovers-to-be. 

It's the author's imagined version of romantic love-- and sorry to say, but IRL it doesn’t exist.

You’ve got romance novels to create the fantasy of the perfect pairing of partnership perfection on the way to marriage success.

Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia do our best to be optimistic yet realistic-- and we know firsthand that in the real world, marriage means sometimes still loving someone even though they can make you absolutely insane.

As a company that sells a large percentage of its products to couples, we lose money every time we talk about marriage being anything other than easy.

A blog reader clicks away, never to make a purchase.  A newlywed “honeymoon period” engagement ring customer decides to keep what we sold him but ignore what we’ve told him--  clicking the link to remove himself from our email list, never to purchase again.

If we only wanted to make a bunch of money, we’d simply and shamelessly ignore reality and tell everyone how easy it is to live happily ever after in marriage.

La-dee-dah, blah blah blah, hi hi hi, buy buy buy and happily ever after.

That isn’t our philosophy at, though.

For couples heading toward a wedding-- like many of our first-time high-quality CZ engagement ring customers-- we want folks to know what they’re getting into once wedding planning for a day becomes married-and-living-together days for a lifetime. 

REAL TALK: Marriage can be hard (even while it’s amazing).

But one thing that makes a difference is knowing these things about marriage success that a romance novel usually won’t tell you.

  • 1. The non-passionate kisses mean as much as the passionate ones (maybe more).

  • Have you stopped kissing your lover when you wake up?

    After the first decade or so together, we pretty much had. Here and there, but not a common way to start the day. And we don’t think there’s anything wrong with that (nor do we think there’s anything wrong with peeps who want to brush lips before brushing their teeth).

    FUN EXPERIMENT: Ask around at your next couples’ get together. Some say they do it, some say they don’t.  It’s a personal choice most individuals in a couple have made-- even if they never actively talked about that choice together as a couple. If you ask publicly in front of other couples, you might get three or four in a row who say they kiss upon waking up. But once someone says they don’t do it, you can take this to the bank: the number of others who agree that kissing first thing in the morning every day isn’t all that appealing, that data set will shoot up like a hockey-stick-increasing slope on a math teacher’s graph.

    It’s like we as humans have this life we live versus this life we think we’re supposed to live.

    The couples in romance novels pretty much always seem to kiss first thing in the morning-- bedhead and bad morning breath be damned. Then they make love, still kissing passionately. In some best-selling novels, the main characters spend so much time in bed sucking face and exploring each other’s pulsating bodies that an intelligent reader could be forgiven for wondering just how big their trust fund might be that on a normal day nothing else needs to get done beyond please each other and be pleased?

    In real life, sure you might wake up and kiss passionately. Morning sex may be on the menu some days, too. A whole day in bed, sounds a treat. But in a non-fictional romantic relationship-- even one we’d say is an unqualified marriage success-- he and she probably  have more on the to-do list on a given day than doing each other! And the non-passionate kisses are likely way more frequent than the passionate ones. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s to be expected and anything more intense long-term would probably be exhausting.

    A quick kiss that promises more to come soon-- but not yet. A thank-you peck that says “I’m grateful for you”. An eyes-open smoocher that makes it obvious you’ve missed each other-- even if you don’t have time, opportunity or desire to go beyond light kissing right now. These kinds of kisses all have their place in the married couple’s kiss arsenal-- and for some couples, sure, the passionate morning kiss too. But all couple’s kisses can’t be passionate kisses filled with the electricity a romance novel author will strive to make the reader feel when hearing that moment described (and frankly, a smart person wouldn’t want it to be that way).

  • 2. Chemistry can happen immediately, but real connection takes time.

  • In the standard romance novel formula, early in the book you’ll pretty much always find the ‘meet-cute’ scene. Romance fiction readers have probably read a version of this genre necessity dozens of times (non-readers who enjoy watching movies will instead have seen variations on this themed on-screen scene in as many rom-com flicks). 

    Hero rescues heroine, a chance encounter at the park, literally bumping into one another in the grocery store-- there’s a million and one ways for our two characters to meet. 

    When they do, there’s only one rule: we the reader ought to feel that electricity, a powerful spark of energy in the air that lets us know something has happened-- while leaving us guessing exactly what that exact thing might have been. Is it an instant magnetic desire for one another? An instant repulsive loathing of each other? A verbal disagreement that almost overshadows a physical attraction? You’ll have to read and find out!

    By the end of the book, it’s common for a newly meet-cuted couple to profess themselves to be “in love”. From zero to love in as little as 300 pages and a fictional 3 days to 3 months of knowing one another is a common story line. Is it possible outside a story? Sure. But rather than knowing super-quickly that you were gonna love, like and trust someone for a long time, it’s way more realistic-- and common-- in the real world for the  chemistry of attraction and desire to happen quickly. OTOH, that connection where you feel like you’ve known them forever? It’ll build slowly over time and many experiences together.  

    Romance novels reinforce the expectation that a perfect couple’s connection will be instant-- and because of that unrealistic standard, real couples who have a good thing going split up over small stuff, never getting to learn what great looks like together. It’s sad, really…and all while some simple 6-month relationship goals might have put their partnership on the path to improved connection-- and maybe increased intimacy, better sex, and more money in the joint bank account, too.

  • 3. Marriage is the best survival solution.

    A romance novelist that wants to be successful isn’t going to write about the average day, week, or month of their characters. An average man or woman living his or her average day is probably boring, right?

  • Instead, they offer readers a chance to pick up the pace and live vicariously in the shoes of a couple who seems like they have it more together than the average guy or gal-- and is currently in the midst of solving one or more, big hairy challenges together. 

    Hey, it’s entertaining-- but kind of silly too.  These authors set a false expectation that what drives romantic love will be this perfect road trip from here with the problems to a better place there (without problems). 

    We read about him and her and get to know them as they get to know each other-- plunging breathlessly from one obstacle overcome to the next, not a single dead-end cul-de-sac in sight, with a climax around every corner and nothing but marriage success ahead. 

    In real life, sure, maybe she’ll save his life. Maybe he’ll avenge her bad moment. Maybe they’ll escape from the big bad wolf and afterwards  enjoy some well-deserved and super-sexy ‘Little red riding hood’ cosplay. But in real life, we guarantee you that the right marriage to the right life partner is the solver of many more problems than simply running around together with a man or woman you just met-- getting to know them on the side as together you try to save the world, solve the murder, expose corruption, resist evil, and battle the unjust.

    Here’s real human life instead of fantasy fiction: many of our obstacles in life become smaller the moment we choose the right life partner and commit to them for better or worse.

  • 4. Every real-life relationship chapter won’t have a climax.

  • It isn’t hard to search around on the internet and find a romance novel outline. You could spend an afternoon and learn most of what there is to know about the industry’s common “formula” for what to put in a romance novel that’s readable and entertaining. 

    The pacing.
    The dialogue.
      The ups and downs, twists and turns.
      The conflicts and conclusions.
        The struggles and triumphs.
        The unexpected surprises.
          The high points, ahh the high points. 

    Spoiler alert: the high points in a real life relationship just aren’t as frequent as the chapter-by-chapter climax peak in many chapters of a best-selling romance novel. 

    Instead of life-altering, mind-bending happenings, the average person’s daily high points are smaller (and that’s perfectly okay). It’s her smile through happy tears the day after having an emotional breakdown-- remembering when her love laid down on the floor with her and held her and told her ‘everything is going to be okay’. It’s his endearingly annoying laugh-snort when you his better half said something hilarious. It’s saying you’re sorry when you said something hurtful-- and your significant other appreciates the personal sacrifice you made (finally) admitting yes, for once you were indeed actually wrong about something. 

    A realistic real life relationship’s marriage success goal might be a great year full of both amazing and shitty moments-- not the unrealistically perfect progression of perfection romance novels can lead us to expect. If you go into marriage expecting a climax every chapter, in our opinion it’s an easy way to end up hurt, bankrupt and bitterly divorced. “THE END” to that story will come way earlier than it might have if you simply realized that patience matters, life isn’t a movie and the best part of your story together was yet to come.

  • 5. Marriage isn’t always pretty.

  • Marriage is NOT what people who’ve yet to take the plunge often think it is. 

    It's not (just) cuddling in bed together every night until both of you peacefully fall asleep in each others’ arms. It’s not (just) waking up early every morning to make him/her their favorite breakfast, either, the two of you eating together, smiling like loons between bites while wholly focused on one another and star-gazing raptly into each other’s eyes. 

    A clean home daily and a homemade dinner on the table when you walk in from work? Sorry to disappoint, but unless you’ve pre-negotiated that marriage contract clause before the wedding, the habits you’re much more likely to see in your chosen spouse include someone who steals all the blankets, forgets to refill the ice tray and sometimes runs the air conditioning machine at full blast with a window open in the next room.

    It isn’t all rainbows and roses. Marriage can be hard. Parts of marriage are ugly-- slammed doors and harsh words, repetitive arguments, taking care of the sick partner, and the silent treatment. You see the absolute worst in someone: when they’re sick, mad, sad, being stubborn, and when they’re so unlovable they make you scream. 

    Married  life means sometimes wondering if you've made the right decision-- and deciding to give it another go the next day. Of course, most romance novels aren’t gonna say any of that with their just-met protagonists who fall in love-- but we rarely see them live an average month afterward. 

    TBH, who’d really want to be married if they knew going in just how hard and ugly it can be…without also knowing about the correspondingly awesome and beautiful potential benefits? However big that number is, it’s probably 100x the number of people who’d want to read about an average day in an average couple’s average life. We can’t blame romance novel authors for writing what they write-- and leaving out what they omit. We’re just saying don’t set that as your benchmark for “good” in a relationship or marriage.

  • 6. Marriage is way better than just love (or just lust).

  • Yeah, we’ve discussed some of the ways in which marriage can be ugly-- most notably when you see your partner at their worst as a human being. Yet despite all that, when you choose the right life partner, being close to him or her is one thing you’ll look forward to most.

    That’s because you also get to see him or her when they’re laughing so hard that tears run down their face, unable to speak, just keening and making weird gurgle noises. You’re at their side on the day they get that long-hoped-for news at work and want to celebrate.You’re there to praise their selflessness when they sacrifice their own desires to make a gift or donation so big it hurts a little. You see their look of satisfaction after a fun sexual session. You’re their night owl partner in crime at 3am when the neighborhood is asleep except you two, and you’re late-night-snacking in your own little world (otherwise known as the middle of the kitchen floor).

    You’re the one who knows all his or her best stories (many of which you were there to experience first-hand with them). And you get to come home to the same person everyday that you know loves and cares about you.

    Devil’s advocates will say that you can get many if not most-- or even all--  of these things without a marriage certificate or a lifetime commitment. They’d be right (especially for men, cohabitation alone will provide most of the benefits of marriage). If you’ve ever read “The Case for Marriage”-- admittedly a dry and academic book, even if we agree 100% with it’s conclusion that cohabitation and regular sex before marriage is often a bad deal for women-- it’s no wonder that the love and lust you’ll read about in most romance novels stops way before that new meet-cuted couple could hope for long-term marriage success (or tells the “happily ever after” story only briefly in a pithy epilogue after the main book’s story is over). 

    What’s sexy in fiction is simply sexier to read about, ya dig? And that’s a shame, because when you get the good and the bad, we think the real-life, real-world combo of what’s amazing and what’s kinda shitty all mixed together is the durable material that creates a solid foundation where a man and wife, man and husband, or lady and wife really know they can count on each other. Flings-- no matter how romantic, sexy or exciting-- don’t get that generous gift of security, stability and certainty.


  • 7. Marriage is stability, security and certainty in an uncertain world.

  • Ever notice how a large percentage of 21st-century romance novels feature protagonists who are previously divorced, in the process of being divorced, separated or married-and-having-a-secret-love-affair? Genre fans will know exactly what we mean-- especially those that have been reading the stories for decades.

    It’s just authors giving readers what they think they want: a safe escape, a fling, some risk-free titillation, and/or quite frankly a feel-good justification for wanting to give up and walk away from a marriage that isn’t working out perfectly for him or her.

    When it comes to a long-term relationship that progresses to marriage, you will either decide you are going to be there for this person for the rest of his or her life… or not. 

    Marriage success and happiness together all starts with your own WHY.

    Like we expounded upon in “Building a marriage is like building a house (10-step blueprint)”, the beauty of a stable marriage is that it's a foundation you can build on. Someone loves you so much that they’ll forgive you when you say something mean. You’ve got the confidence of knowing there’s another person on your team no matter what. You know why you chose each other and you have strong reasons why you’ll stick together ‘til death do you part’. 

    And while it’s not popular or politically correct to say so in a world where so many weddings are followed a short time later by a divorce, we don’t apologize for saying that a marriage should be a lifetime contract. It’s supposed to be the same kind of forever that’s promised with a beautiful 14 karat gold cubic zirconia eternity ring. An unbreakable promise where two people agree to provide each other stability, security and certainty for better or worse.

    Life is so filled with uncertainties. Whether your marriage is going to last shouldn't be one of them. That’s why we compiled this list of what it means to say “I do”’: Every Happily Married Person Can Answer This Question.

    “But we’re gonna be different!”

    We’ll end this blog post how we often end articles like this-- where we’re brutally honest about the good, bad and ugly of marriage and when we’re 100% sure there’s a subset of readers who think we’re crazy as shit-house rats. 

    Look, you’re probably not crazy (and neither are we).

    When love is fresh and/or marriage is new, it’s easy for a couple to believe their little two-person exception to the rule has everything figured out for marriage success and unblemished happiness together -- to be sure that nothing will cause them to argue, cause her to to raise her voice, or cause him to become irrationally angry (certainly nothing as dumb as dirty laundry left on the floor). 

    We don’t mean to be condescending. 

    Many couples have this easy, hand-in-hand period of blithely skipping along through life together-- before being asked to carry a heavy load of each other’s emotional baggage, or having to swerve around many stumble-causing obstacles and potholes in the partnership path. It’s our sincere heart-felt wish for you that this blissful rose-tinted-glasses phase lasts forever for you (even though our heads know it won’t…and can’t).

    Statistically speaking, we tell our customers and subscriber readers this harsh truth: your new marriage is in trouble from the first day. The numbers aren’t on a newlywed’s side, with 53% of marriages ending in divorce (41% of first marriages). Add another 10 percent to that to account for the marriages that have failed but the couples remain together for the kids or for religious reasons, and you’re seeing the reality that most marriages don’t work.

    So what IS ‘marriage success’?!

    Love is risky, living with the imperfect person you love can and likely will include frequent fights (some about absolutely nothing), and marriage can be hard. 

    But a great marriage that’s a success is also having a love that people spend their whole life looking for: this most amazing and comforting thing you'll ever experience.

    We’re not trying to bash romance novels. We read some of them-- sometimes even reading aloud to one another. All we’re saying is this: trying to pretend disagreements don’t happen in marriage, that tension isn’t expected, acceptable, and perfectly natural-- well, it’s like trying to walk through the mud with a wheelbarrow full of bricks when there’s a perfectly good paved path you could choose to walk on.

    This is especially important for those readers thinking ahead to their first — and hopefully only— wedding. Going into marriage, we think it makes sense to be realistic in ways that reading romance novels won’t ever tell you.

    By all means, if you’re heading towards a wedding, or a newlywed with starry-eyed, honeymoon glasses on your face, please don’t mind us. Go ahead and expect marriage success in the way of a long-lasting, mutually-supportive partnership… but, please for your sake and ours-- repeat customers and gifts make up a third of our high-quality cubic zirconia jewelry business-- please be sure you expect some bumps in the road, too! 

    It’s not too hard, is it? To put aside the perfect relationship expectations of a romance novel and expect a bit of trouble. Do that with us and we believe you’ll see success when you and your partner build up the strength together overcoming those inevitable marriage and life difficulties as a team-- gaining confidence in each other and your relationship, where others only see evidence of failure in every problem that comes up.

    -- Mr. and Mrs. Cubic Zirconia