Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Confession #8 - Happily Ever After...Not so much

I'm a Disney fanatic.  I love the Princesses.  So beautiful, gentle, and kind.  Like most girls when I was young my fantasy was that I would grow up to meet my Prince Charming and of course we'd live happily ever after.  What woman doesn't want that?  Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, they were my hero's.  They had done it, they found their Prince.  Disney had me convinced that I would find mine too.  And I'm happy to say that I did meet my Prince Charming.  He was everything I wanted in a mate.  He was kind, loving, considerate.  He cared about my needs and worked hard to fulfill my wants.  He was romantic and of course charming.  And when we married the future was all ours to live happily ever after.  I still have a good marriage to a man I love, but happily ever after?  Not so much.

Disney let's get real and make a film about what life is like after marrying the Prince.  Can you picture it?  Snow White's stuck at home mopping the floors complaining to the Prince that the Dwarfs are constantly tracking mud through the castle when he does nothing to help.  She looks in the magic mirror and sobs, "Mirror, mirror on the wall just what happened to the fairest of them all?"  The mirror, boldly answers, "You had two kids and work tirelessly to keep up the castle, run a pie bakery, and a veterinarian practice caring for the forest animals.  And don't hate me when I say this, but you've let yourself go girl."  Cinderella, well she's put on quite a few pounds over the years and the glass slipper just don't fit as well.  Charming's traded in this dance shoes for bowling shoes and is out many nights with the guys.  Fairy godmother retired and isn't taking her calls.  Ariel lost her beautiful voice screaming at the kids all the time and now she sings like a screeching parrot while Eric's off fishing everyday.  And forget about the Beast, he never really changed a bit!  Let's face it there's only one happily ever after and marriage isn't it.

Our happily ever after ended shortly after our wedding there were family issues which put a hefty strain on our marriage.  Then some years later when money got tight and bills piled up; when we adopted a two year old never having been parents before; when our expectations were not being lived up to; when our needs weren't being met.  Our future seemed bleak and our marriage was in crisis!   But we made it.  We stuck it out.  How?  All I can tell you my friend is it was God.  If He hadn't proven His faithfulness in my life over and over again, I would still be relying on my husband to do it all.  A friend recently asked me how do you keep fighting for your marriage when you just don't feel in love anymore?
I'm not a professional counselor nor do I consider myself an expert by any means, but what I've learned is in marriage there are ebbs and flows of happiness.  You love your spouse but very few people who've been married for a while can honestly say they are "in love".  Being in love is a wonderful, exciting feeling.  But it's not realistic. 

One of my favorite movies is "Yours Mine and Ours"(not the remake but the original with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball).  There's a line from that film that rings true, "Life isn't a love in, it's the dishes and the orthodontist and the shoe repairman and... ground round instead of roast beef.  And I'll tell you something else: it isn't going to a bed with a man that proves you're in love with him; it's getting up in the morning and facing the drab, miserable, wonderful everyday world with him that counts."

True love is facing the good, the bad, and the absolute disgusting without walking away.  It's complimenting him when you'd rather hit him over the head.  It's rubbing his back when you'd rather take a long hot shower.  It's forcing yourself to stay calm when all you want to do is scream at him because he's left the milk out of the fridge overnight; again!  It's supporting some of his parenting decisions you don't agree with.  And it's letting him have his "cave" time when you want to hash it out right then and there.  Basically it's sacrificing our "entitled" emotions and reactions for love actions.

I had to learn it the hard way.  It isn't easy and I struggle day by day fighting the urge to throw a shoe at him when he reprimands me like he does our six year old.  Instead I choose to forget what emotions I'm entitled to have, forget feeling like a victim, and I decide to love him instead.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I run over and throw my arms around him, I'm saying that I wait to talk to him about how it made me feel at a more appropriate time. 

So until the real happily ever after comes, our Lord Jesus' return and until Satan is thrown into the lake of fire, let's remember to forget living happily ever after start living in love not being "in love".

"Lord please continue to help me love my husband when he isn't so lovely.  Let me continually sacrifice my entitlements and be an example of your love.  And please teach my dear sisters to do the same."  AMEN!
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