Happily (N)Ever After: What’s the REAL Story?

Psalm 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.“

“Once upon a time, in a land far far away lived a beautiful princess (who cooked, cleaned, did laundry, knew everything about childcare, did the accounting for the palace, juggled, hunted, played basketball, sewed, was a size 3 but never worked out and could eat like a man, was a gourmet chef, all while never breaking a nail or having a hair out of place) awaiting her tall, dark, and handsome, gallant prince (naturally rippled with muscles without working out, worked 9 to 5–never an evening or weekend, went home for lunches to call the princess to see how she was “feeling,” hunted and fished to provide for his castle, but only during his 15 minute breaks so not to take away from his chat time with the princess), adorned in gleaming armor-buffed and polished-riding his stately white stallion.

The princess dreamed of the moment her hero would rescue her from the tower (so she could talk nonstop to Sir Perfect who: listens but doesn’t want to give advice. The princess is incredibly intelligent and organized and he’s been waiting his entire life to be micromanaged. He cooks, cleans, tells her she’s beautiful at least eight times a day, does all the heavy lifting, is willing to diet when she wants to and only eat what she wants and never sweets in front of her).

That is how the story goes, isn’t it? Sigh, if only… .

Eric and I just got back from attending the 25th anniversary celebration of his brother Jon and lovely wife Sindy. When I asked if they had any advice after 25 years the first thing out of Sindy’s mouth was, “It hasn’t always been easy.” The funny thing is, that’s the same thing both of my sisters who are now in their 35thish year of marriage say. How does that happen?

“Snips and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails; Sugar and spice and everything nice,” aka, nursery rhymes and fairytales.

The truth is, relationships are hard, marriage or otherwise. The topic of marriage has come up several times this week in every day conversation. I shared with Sindy my feelings that the real adventure in life doesn’t even begin until after the commitment of marriage. That’s when we can finally let our guard down. Another relationship killer is that many people forget to pursue their/our mates for the rest of our lives. It doesn’t end when we live in the same house. If the pursuing stops the relationship has a new title: roommate.

Can I share my heart? I don’t mean to sound cold, but when we choose to make the commitment of marriage, our family becomes more important than our “feelings.”

Feelings come and go, like Scrooge said in the story, A Christmas Carol: “You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” Food, the way something is said, the weather, all of those affect the way we feel. I have to choose my actions and reactions very carefully if I’m basing them on how I “feel”.

Mark Lowery was talking about faith, and I think it describes marriage very well. He said when you get up in the middle of the night and stub your toe on the end of the bed, you don’t feel very saved. You have faith, however, that you are. My opinion, only, is that the same rings true of the love we have for our spouse. There are ups and downs, good and bad days. We have to know, that we know, that we know that our spouse loves us. We might not always feel the love, but we have to have faith that it’s there.

If it’s not there, who stopped pursuing whom? (Sidenote: how many people do you know get separated or divorced and then get a gym membership? Suddenly they’re willing and ready to pursue someone else…for how long?)

This last week in Bible study reminded us that after we got saved the Holy Spirit now lives in us. Our old self dies and we start looking more and more like our heavenly father every day. How can we not? He lives in us. We don’t think the same anymore. We don’t have the same goals. Our old selves, about making us feel good, dies. Our new selves are Christ with skin on. We are just carriers, like the world views Covid-19, LOL.

Since He gives us a new mind, I am learning(too slowly for my taste) that I have given my nasty rights to sin to Him— but in a great way!

I no longer have the right to be angry when someone wrongs me. I have the right to think of them as Jesus does and feel sorry for them because they don’t know better and need help.

Psalm 3:3 “But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.

What does this verse have to do with the “And they lived Happily (N)Ever After.”? Every body makes mistakes and screws up in a relationship. We get tired, hungry, are cold or hot, anxious, uncomfortable, whatever and mistreat the people we love the most. If we harbor unforgiveness, tucking it away, the next time it happens is another layer of unforgiveness on top of the previous. After a while we/I am carrying a heavy weight on our backs and it’s hard to even look the other person in the eye.

This verse reminded me that our glory(with the ability to forgive and release the action and person) is living in us. With the layers gone He lifts our heads and we can stand tall and look the other in the eye, without weights or bitterness. He is our shield so the next time they come at us with their nasties, may I/we hold our head high and look at them through the eyes of the Holy Spirit living in us: with compassion, separating their action from the individual. Loving the person not their performance.

That is just what He’s saying to me. Until next time: Blessings.

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