I truly believe in the phrase and spirit of ‘living happily ever after’.
This weekend I am finding myself at a wedding of a niece and her future husband. Both are young, energetic and with the world before them. By the end of the day, each will be committed to each other in ways a piece of paper will never fully define.
For one reason or another, children’s fairy tales seem to draw to a close with the familiar phrase “and they lived happily ever after.” So ingrained in our psyche, many of us use this string of words throughout our lives. Sometimes in affection, other times in jest.
But to some of us, these are not a happenstance alignment of six words but rather an understanding of what life is all about.
We all know couples who not only understood the spirit of these words, but also recognized the words represented not a destination, but rather a journey.
Growing up I had a front row seat to some wonderful, loving, relationships. Not to say they were perfect, but they understood and managed their relationships for the long run. Committed to the true spirit of living ‘happily ever after’, each appreciated how they were individuals and there would always be a sense of ‘give and take’ along the way.
“I remember,” said a friend the other day, “how my dad was always quiet and stern. He did, however, pick his moments. And when he did, he generally won them.”
Her words brought back memories of how I’d watch this couple define to me what a loving a relationship could be. Together for over 50 years, the appreciation of how each was different was an attraction – not a reason for confrontation. But when it really mattered to the other, they practiced a respect for accepting that ‘living happily ever after’ meant not always getting your way. As a matter of fact, they realized a healthy balance of give and take contributed to a healthier, long-term relationship.
I think about this as I prepare to watch two young people begin the walk down the aisle of marriage and life. No relationship is – or will be – perfect. But the pursuit of ‘living happily ever after’ will require a maturity and selflessness many of us will need grow into.
When my wife and I got married, I had a lot to learn. In retrospect, I was a mess requiring a lot of work. Fortunately, the woman I married, helped me through an emotional rehab journey. I honestly believe if God had not put us together, I’d be jus another self-inflicted road kill along relationship highway.
For me, each passing day, week, month and year reveal to me, with increasing clarity, how beautiful a journey marriage and life can be with the right person.
The achievement of the fairy tale phrase “and they lived happily ever after” is built upon the bedrocks of love, honesty and respect for each other. And with these pieces protected and nurtured, fairy tale endings can come true.
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