Saturday, June 21, 2014
On Happily Ever After (Words to my Niece for her Wedding)
What girl doesn’t love a good romance? Every girl longs for her own story to end in “Happily Ever After”. Cinderella has Prince Charming. Belle is able to find true love with the Beast. It’s natural going into your wedding day, to feel a bit like Jasmine and Aladdin looking forward to the “whole new world” you and your new husband are going to discover together. Love is in the air. Planning a wedding allows you to feel like a princess and get swallowed into the romance of it all.
I just wanted to take a moment to say a few words about this “happily ever after”.
At a young age, we watch movies that leave us pining for our own love story. We read novels yearning for the day that our dreams really do come true. Our lives are spent building up our very own fairytale.
Honestly, no matter how young we are when we meet “the one”; no matter how long we date prior to tying the knot; no matter how truly wonderful we or anyone else finds our prince to truly be, our biggest struggle is probably that of fantasy v. reality.
Here are three things I need to remind myself about that I hope will help you too:
No matter how much you think he can or want him to, your husband is NOT a mind reader. He never will be. Remind yourself of this often.
You are not part of a fantasy of vampires and werewolves. Edward Cullen does not truly exist. If we’re honest, even with his mind reading abilities, Edward still couldn’t figure out what Bella was thinking. Men cannot read our minds and that is probably a good thing.
No matter how many times I hope your uncle will buy me the perfect Christmas gift or arrange the romantic rendezvous of my dreams, he will almost always fail. He is not inside my head. I have to communicate with him to give him any sort of hope. Even then, he wasn’t given a written script to avoid failure.
One time my husband asked me what my favorite flower was. I’m a bit lazy and don’t even want to spend the time caring for the precut flowers (that have no chance of living) to keep them beautiful for a day. I sarcastically answered Rod that my favorite flowers were the wild ones. The next time I received flowers from him, I no longer was gifted with beautiful roses. Instead I received an arrangement of flowers that seemed odd to me. This happened a few times leaving me a bit irritated when I realized that as far as he was concerned, I was happy. I finally informed him that what I meant was that I enjoyed seeing the flowers grow outside where they were supposed to be. Then I informed him that if he’s going to make the effort to bring me flowers, I’d prefer he bring me roses. He wants to make me happy but he doesn’t stand a chance if I just wish he knew me better. A marriage needs open and honest communication (even about a little thing like flower preference that may appear selfish). Your husband is not a mind reader. Give him a chance to make you happy by communicating openly and honestly with him. After all, becoming one doesn’t’ just miraculously happen when you say “I do”. It takes some work. Remind yourself that your husband cannot read your mind.
Very recently, I threw a bit of a pity party for myself. I just grew tired of not being allowed to live in a fantasy world. Reality wasn’t sitting well with me. My girlfriend knew this and texted me to see how I was doing. I texted her back that I was doing a bit better. Among other things, I just needed to remember who the real enemy is.
In The Hunger Games series, Katniss Everdeen, the heroine in the movie, was informed by her mentor as she entered the games to remember this very thing. It would have appeared that in a game where only one survives, every person she came against was the enemy. However, it was important that she remember who the real enemy was: The Capitol.
In the reality of our lives, we need to remember that our husband, our family, in-laws, employer, neighbors and even our friends are not the enemy. There is a real enemy. He wants nothing more than for our marriages to fall apart. The Bible tells us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Marriage was instituted by God to reflect a picture of Christ and the Church. Satan doesn’t want an accurate reflection of this revealed. There will be times that you must remind yourself that your husband is not the enemy. Remember who the real enemy is!
Finally, and maybe most importantly (at least in my own life), is to remember that my husband is not my Savior. Cinderella is rescued from her evil stepmother by Prince Charming. Snow White is rescued from death by her prince. Jasmine is rescued by Aladdin from an arranged marriage. The list goes on and on. With all these fairy tales, it’s no wonder that we want a man to come rescue us from our own reality.
Sometimes it is a difficult childhood we look to be rescued from. Sometimes it is financial ruin. Sometimes we simply want to be rescued from our loneliness. Either way, looking for a human being as our Savior will only lead to disappointment.
God can use the relationship with your husband to bring some healing to the wounded places in your soul. However, every human being will disappoint and your husband cannot solve your every problem. To expect him to do so will set your marriage up for failure.
There is only one Savior and that is where your eyes must continually look if you want a successful marriage. In the moments where my next-to-perfect husband lets me down… because he does… a lot… we’re two selfish beings coming together… how can he not… I have to fix my eyes on Jesus. Over and over and over again.
Matthew 6:33 tells us to Seek the Kingdom of God ABOVE ALL ELSE, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. In everything, Seek God. Devote yourself to reading the Bible, studying His Truth and meditating on the Word of God. This is the key to a successful marriage. This is what allows you to cultivate open and honest communication. This will remind you who the real enemy is. It is in keeping our eyes on our true Savior, Jesus Christ, that we can face the disappointment of our spouse and still have a thriving marriage.
To end, I wanted to share with you some words that your Papa shared with everyone at my wedding reception when you were just two weeks old. Here is what my dad said about Rod and I: “I know his love will grow for her and her love for him because of first Christ’s love for them and then their love for Christ. This is the only ingredient needed to hold a marriage together… just to love and obey the Lord.” Take that wisdom from your Papa and apply it to your own marriage, Cassandra. I know it’s what he’d say to you if he were here. I love you!