Is marriage really a Fairytale?

We’ve all done it. We watch the Notebook, or any Nicholas Spark movie….and suddenly we turn to our spouse thinking “does he even love me?”

Or maybe you have a better grip on reality and for you it’s looking at someone else’s Facebook post, their family just built a beautiful new house or went on a weekend getaway. Their husband brought them flowers just because, they went on a date night, or whatever it is.

So you start to pick apart your marriage, have we lost the flame? Why don’t we do stuff like that? Does my husband really love me?

I do it all the time, I read a romance novel or watch a romantic movie and I yearn for that whirlwind, you’re a bird, I’m a bird romance. I wonder why my husband doesn’t bring me flowers every week or why we don’t feel compelled to ballroom dance in our house and post gushy Facebook posts all the time.

The Bible tells us that love is patient, kind, it doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, it endures all things.

I think we make marriage into something it just isn’t, marriage is not supposed to be all consuming, it isn’t supposed to fulfill our ever desire for passion and hope. We are trying to make marriage into our Savior. We try to hold our spouses to a Christ-like idol, who should fulfill our every desire and live their lives to prove their love to us.

When we compare our marriages to the movies and to others highlight reels, we expect our spouses to be Christ. We expect them to make every right choice, to love us unconditionally, to move mountains to please us, to perform acts of kindness, selflessness, and grandeur for us. We put all of this onto our spouses. And when they fail, we wonder if they even love us at all.

I get mad at my husband so often for things I fail at daily. I get mad at him for forgetting something I have told him 100 times, for letting his phone distract him when I am trying to talk to him, for wanting something different for our life than I do. The very same things I do to Christ all the time. I expect more from my husband than I do of my own relationship with Christ most days.

What if Christ loved us like that? What if He put us in the dog house every time we missed church like a date night? If He threatened to not speak to us or give us the silent treatment when we messed up or disappointed him?

God doesn’t love us like that though. He give us so much grace, so much kindness, so much understanding. When we fail, He treats us with compassion. He has faith in us, He forgives us, and He doesn’t hold grudges. He gave us the perfect example of a Biblical marriage, one that is full of kindness, forgiveness, compassion, endurance, and faith.

When I hold my marriage to a Biblical standard instead of a movie standard, things become much more clear.

Love is patient.

My husband endures my moodswings, my inability to remember to put the towel on the rack instead of the end of the bed no matter how many times I promise to remember. He is patient with me.

Love is kind.

My husband tells me I am beautiful when I pick apart everything I hate about myself. He encourages me when I feel like I am not doing enough. He supports my hobbies and passions. He is so kind to me.

Love doesn’t envy.

My husband doesn’t get jealous, not because he doesn’t love me, but because he loves me so much that he is fully confident in our commitment to each other. He reminds me and proves to me every day in his hard work that we will reach all of our goals, when the time is right for us, we will achieve them together. My husband doesn’t envy.

Love doesn’t boast.

My husband speaks well of me to his friends. When someone asks what I do for a living and I say I work at a church, he is quick to jump in and say I am the Director of the youth and childrens ministries, he tells them that I also work freelance doing social media for a small business. He is proud of me. He doesn’t constantly post on Facebook about how perfect our life is or how great we are. My husband doesn’t boast.

Love endures all things.

My husband and I have endured quite a few hard times in our few years of marriage. We have moved 4 times in 4 years, we had our first child, we have lost and changed jobs, our daughter has been in the hospital, and most recently we have been in the midst of a pandemic. We have endured all things, maybe not always perfectly, but we have endured them and loved each other through them.

Do we do all these things at all times? No. We fall short all the time.

But we work at it. Hard. I get mad when we have the “same fights” all the time.

But then I am grateful, grateful that we are both willing to have the same conversations, both willing to talk through it again to try to find a different approach, to better understand each other. I am thankful that we are striving towards a Biblical marriage rather than a cinematic one, because that will outlast the movies and fairy tales by a long shot. Our marriage may not inspire a movie, but it will glorify God.

Marriage isn’t a fairy tale, but it is beautiful. My husband brings me coffee in the morning on the weekends, he lets me sleep in on Saturday and Sunday so I can get a break, even though he wakes up before sunrise on weekdays to go to work. He helps me with housework, he cares more about organizing our daughters toy room than I do.

He and I have been patient, resilient, and trusting each other as we grow into the adults we were meant to be. We have failed each other in so many ways, but we have tested each other, we have fought each other, but we have loved each other. After every fight, every battle, we have believed in each other and our marriage enough to keep fighting for our marriage.

We have chosen each other on the other side of every fight, and I call that faithfulness.

Fairy tales cannot hold a candle to the kind of love Jesus wants for us.

He wants us to strive to love each other the way He loves us, and we cant expect our spouse to be Jesus, because Lord knows we cannot live up to that standard either. But if we try to love each other the way Jesus taught us, and show each other the grace Jesus shows us, we can find so much beauty, so much love, so much promise in our marriages.

Lessons on Love, from my mom.

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought it would only be appropriate to y’all about love. I know, so original. However, when thinking about where to go with this, valentines outfit, marriage, God’s love? It dawned on me, while sure, God’s love is the purest, no one has ever embodied that love and walked it out for me like my momma.

True to her southern roots, my mom is fiercest woman you will ever meet that can also make cakes in insane shapes and throw elaborate princess tea parties. She is beautiful inside and out, but Lord she can be scary. (Love you mom) But that fierceness, is backed 100% by her loyalty to protecting those that she loves. My mom is Lily Potter and Molly Weasley mixed together. Although I think if my mom had faced Voldy, it would have been a different story. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, me and JK Rowling are weeping)…

So from my mom to you, here are the top 5 lessons on love.

1. People will tell you who they are, so listen.

My mom was a fierce believer that people will tell you exactly how they feel about you through their actions. If people are playing games with you, not making time for you, and sending you “mixed” (or straight up bad) signals. LISTEN. TO. THEM. I am queen of looking for the good in people of thinking I can “fix” people, and my mom would always tell me, “they are telling you who they are and what you mean to them, listen.”

So when someone starts raising their red flags, wave your white and retreat.

2. Not everyone deserves to know your story.

If vulnerability comes naturally to you, you might be giving too much of yourself to people who don’t deserve it. Not everyone deserves to know all your secrets and intimate details of your life. Find your select few that have earned the privilege of knowing your heart so well and don’t share so much of your heart with everyone.

This is a lesson that took me especially a long time to learn, for a long time I thought vulnerability = intimacy. Like somehow spilling my heart all over people made us closer. But I guarantee you will live life with a lot less heart ache if you stop giving so much of yourself away to people you don’t know well. (Except for a blog on the internet)

3. “I’ll always love you, but I don’t like you right now.”

Just because you get into an argument, or they’re being a butt head, shouldn’t affect the love you have for someone. Lord knows there were many times my mom loved me the hardest when she liked me the least. That’s how love works sometimes. Sometimes when someone is the least like-able is when they need you to lean in love them, and sometimes you just have to love them from the other room.

This is a lesson especially important to carry into marriage.

I love my husband stupidly-silly. I fell hard and have loved him hard from the get go. However, there are days, when my dear, sweet husband, is not my absolute favorite person. (*gasp*) Sometimes he puts his dish on the counter instead of in the dishwasher or complains for the millionth times that I have messed the sheets up while sleeping. And while I love him and would still go to bat for him, I also kind of want to throw something in his general direction. This is what love is like sometimes, you don’t have to be stuck at the hip with someone 24/7 and think that everything they do radiates sunshine and flowers to love them well.

4. Loving yourself is a lot more about who you are, not what you are.

I hope that this encompasses this lesson well enough. My mom always instilled in me that WHAT you are, as far as your circumstances matters a lot less than WHO you are and WHOSE you are.

Your job, your house, your car, or whatever it is will change, but who you are on the inside is what matters. Knowing who you are and being true to that, loving yourself as a child of God, understanding that you will screw up and still be worthy of love. That is what is important.

5. Loving your tribe FIERCELY is the only way to do it.

As I said, my southern momma loves her tribe hard. She has shielded me from so many things. Not to say that I was sheltered, but my mom spoiled me with a Lilly Potter type love. She took the brunt of a lot of hard things for me, made a lot of difficult things easier for me, did a lot of things she didn’t have to do so that I would be a little less hurt. And because of how fiercely she loved her tribe and witnessing how hard she loved her family, it made it impossible for me to love my tribe any other way.

I saw my mom love and protect my dad. Even if we all picked on him, heaven and all it’s angels could not have put a hedge of protection around anyone who said anything ugly about him.

My mom raised three daughters, constantly challenging her own vulnerability with daughters that were so needy of her. She exhausted herself emotionally, being someone who needed alone time, and often sacrificed it to us. She showed us, day in and day out, what selfless love really looked like.

This lesson is kind of the epitome of all the other lessons, you find your tribe, you share pieces of yourself and learn pieces of them, intertwining your lives together. You love them hardest during their most difficult times, which means sometimes you give them space and hold your tongue. Other times you tell them the hard truth when no one else loves them enough to give it to them. You hold true to who you are and love yourself, which makes you a consistent source of love and honesty to those around you. And you love, you love your tribe so hard that they grow up to be fierce lovers too.

This is to all you moms. You fearless, fierce lovers. You give so much, and the world is better for the love you give. Thank you moms, for teaching us how to love our people so well.

And thank you to my mom, for teaching me the hardest lessons, and for loving me so fiercely. You deserve all the awards. I hope you know how much you rock and even if you question sometimes how well I soaked in those lessons, I hope you see how many of them stuck in the way I raise my own daughter. I’ll make sure she always knows you get the credit for how awesome her mom is. I love you dearly.