Fairy tales end with “… and they lived happily ever after.”
Real life has broken toes, mutterings, things you wish you never said, being blindsided, receiving acts of outrageous love, growing in different directions and at different paces, and well … life.
Approximately two thirds of Americans get married. Most of us promise: our beloved, our collective families, and our friends, we will stick together for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.
This blog seed was planted by two writers whom I admire. Both wrote about the cost of maintaining a mature and loving relationship with the other imperfect person in the marriage.
Jordan Peterson, author of 12 Rules for Life, a college professor, and clinical psychologist says there is no matter too small to fight about. If something bugs either one of you, it is appropriate to deal with it. The risk is if you tolerate something that has crossed your boundaries, there will be bitterness and you’ll both pay.
When I was less than a third of my current age, I was so afraid of conflict that I was less loving and less effective because of that fear. My bride of 43 years and I have learned the hard way that without boundaries there will be bitterness. Commitment in the face of conflict builds and shows character.
In A year of Days with the Book of Common Prayer, Bishop Edmund Lee Browning tells of a note from a dear friend. She wrote that she and her husband were learning that “to talk about our differences sure takes a lot of determination … Unless we want to get divorced, which we don’t, we might as well learn to talk civilly to one another.”
Browning was touched by the pain and the courage that he read between the lines. He felt her deep, fierce protectiveness of her marriage and admired her willingness to endure pain for its sake. He held up love that would not let go. He extolled tough, wiry love that believers are called to live out. Only love that doesn’t shrink from its cost is lasting love. Browning believes that the marriage relationship is one of the main ways we learn what joy is.
In fantasies and fairy tales, things come easy. In real life few good things come easy. Much of what comes easy is dangerous, fattening, or causes lots of pain.
Recently I read a powerful question: “What has your winning cost you?” What you can buy with money frequently has less value than things you cannot buy. Those priceless things include love, happiness, health, and true friendship. Are we risking priceless for trivia or trinkets?
In case you’re in love, what are you doing to ensure that your household lives happily ever after?
You know I always close by asking for feedback. You know why? I’m always eager to hear from you. Be blessed and be a blessing. I’m going to go kiss the bride of my youth.
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”