My dad and I had just walked to the gym to workout yesterday when I looked-up in the weight room and saw Princes Harry and William on the news retracing the steps they took as teens after their mom died 20 years ago. They reminded me of my own sons and in many ways as they were growing-up, I often thought of Princess Diana and the legacy she left as a loving mother, wanting to be the same.
Discussing her death, Prince William said, “It can either make or break you. I wanted to make her proud.” He wanted to honor her legacy.
About seven years ago, I wrote this story I am choosing to share today to honor her memory as well.
My husband and I will celebrate 22 years of marriage this year and what a blessing it has been to have experienced so many adventures with him and our twin sons. Now that they’re off at college, it’s like we’re newlyweds all over again, but without all the growing pains of figuring out how not to just have a good marriage, but like the title states, “How to Make the Fairy Tale Marriage Come True” and continue living “happily ever after.”
How to Make the Fairy Tale Marriage Come True
I believe-d in fairy tales. As a kid, I watched Princess Diana marry the charming prince and years later, after I married, I watched them divorce. I was crushed. Then, I, along with the rest of the world, was crushed even more when Diana tragically died in a car accident. My princess was gone forever. The woman I thought who had everything RIGHT in life ended up dying a very sad princess.
Like Diana, I got the dream wedding I always imagined. I was completely spoiled with the flowing white dress and train, trumpeter, band at our reception, and, to top it off, the respected, handsome husband. Everything that was on “my list,” I got. God was good. I was the princess and my fairy tale was off to a good start… if only my feet didn’t ache so badly… Perhaps God was trying to get my attention at my wedding reception. Perhaps it was His way of pulling me back in on my wedding night to tell me, “You’ve had your fairy tale wedding, little lady, but right now, your real life marriage is about to begin. Get ready!” [READ: WAKE-UP!]
“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36
The papers were signed. I was no longer a Miss, but a Mrs. Life would be forever different for me and for my new husband. We no longer were two, but one. It was a serious commitment and I had no idea what lie ahead of me following the wedding. All I knew is that I was now married and my life would forever be different.
“…and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one.” Mark 10:8
What happened after we returned from the happy island of bliss, after the jet touched down on the runway of reality was not what I was prepared for. I was an independent person; I had no clue how to be a wife. I was a good person. I was a Christian. I was married, and I was absolutely, positively lost as any person could be.
My very first friend in my new hometown was a clueless wife as well. Everything she told me, I should have done the opposite. Oh how I wish someone had told me how to be the wife of noble character that every husband desires – the Proverbs 31 woman – before I married. (Makes me sound like a really lousy person, doesn’t it?)
I was miserable in my marriage and, guess what, so was Prince Charming. While he worked at achieving his career goals, I began achieving mine too. That’s what I knew… how to set a goal and achieve it professionally. What in the world was I thinking? Get the Employee of the Month Award at work from one of the county’s largest employers, but miss out on the Best Wife of My Life Award from my husband? My priorities were reversed! Completely! Perhaps I focused on work because HE focused on work. Who knows! All I know was… My marriage was not working. My fairy tale story was not developing the way I had hoped, but neither had Diana’s. Within two years of my marriage, Diana died. And, along with her death, died my fairy tale.
My reality show was just starting. It wasn’t aired on TV. It was just in full view of my unhappy face. I didn’t know how to fix it. I didn’t know how to resolve problems. I mean really, who would have thought my husband and I would argue on Sunday mornings, dressed in our Sunday finest, fighting over which church to attend? Crazy, isn’t it? Did God really intend for us to stress out over how we would worship HIM – at the Episcopal church or the Baptist church? Who would have thought my husband would work so late into the night trying to “prove” himself as a hard worker to his boss, only to return home to his wife who was just as cold as his dinner waiting on the table?
Cling, clang, cling, clang. I could go on and on… My point? Marriage is hard. The adrenaline rush of finding love is easy, but marriage is hard work. H-A-R-D. Expect it.
Let me close by saying, fairy tales are NOT real, but REAL work in a marriage is… and it is totally worth it. Fifteen years later, my marriage is proof that divorce doesn’t have to be the option. It is the last resort when all else fails.
Putting God in the center of your marriage and surrounding yourselves with people who have your same beliefs and want to grow together in Christ makes all the difference in the world.
“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.’” Matthew 9:26
God wants to be right smack in the middle of your marriage. That’s a fact that’s NOT in fairy tales, but it’s the only thing that will make a fairy tale come TRUE… Now, THAT’S something to believe!