I couldn’t help but feel a little nostalgic as I tuned into the coverage of the latest Royal Wedding. My thoughts reminisced back to watching Charles & Diana’s nuptials over thirty years ago. The carriage, the castle, and thousands of well-wishers who lined the streets of London all together waved a magic wand and cast a fairy- dusted love spell upon my nine-year-old imagination. I became swept up in the grandiose drama of it all and was mesmerized into believing fairy tales really can come true.
Fast forward ten years, I headed off to college in Virginia and met my husband the first day my parents dropped me off. He was tall, dark and handsome. On our first date he picked me up in a red Toyota pickup and not a horse drawn carriage, but I still thought he was rather charming. We didn’t have cell phones, so he would pull up to my college dorm and throw rocks at my window. I’d come bouncing down the stairs and off we’d go on an adventure. Our favorite activity was hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains – it was cheap and allowed us to simply be together.
Once we reached the summit we would perch ourselves upon a flat boulder and sit for hours enjoying the view and dreaming about our future. I couldn’t articulate specific expectations at nineteen years old, but I do remember believing that we’d live happily ever after. Two years later we did get married and unknowingly traded in adventure for routine and dreaming about the future gave way to worrying about the monthly bills. Over the course of the next 12 years, we grew into a kingdom of six and I felt more like Cinderella than a Princess.
I blame the residual fairy dust that caused me to question my life choices at this point in my marriage. The vision I held in my heart about my “happily ever after” did not resemble my current situation. Our conversations on the mountain included adventure, romance and carefree living. They did not include folding laundry on Friday nights. Long and exhausting days spent changing diapers and smelling like spit up, arguments over where we’d spend holidays or how to discipline the kids never even entered my mind up on the mountain…life had moved me into a valley and romance was the last on my list.
My circumstances look nothing like that now and it’s with bittersweet fondness that I reflect upon all that we’ve experienced together. Life has taught me that’s its not about castles or carriages…where you live or what you drive… but who is by your side. No matter what your situation, learning to appreciate your spouse for who they are and the God-given strengths they possess will help you navigate through the mountains and the valleys. Focusing on their positive qualities while passing over their faults will make the journey so much more enjoyable for both of you. I still believe in fairy tales and if we choose each day to treat our spouse like the King or Queen they truly are, our love story will be one of beauty and inspiration with an ending that will say… “and they lived happily ever after.”
“You are so beautiful, my beloved, so perfect in every part.” Song of Songs 4:7