Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Lies and Reality

I have been thinking and thinking about what I wanted to talk about this month for our monthly marriage challenge. And the one thing that really stands out, for me anyway, is how unprepared many of us as women in today's world are for marriage. We think we know how HAPPILY EVER AFTER is going to be for us, but in reality many of us (I'm not going to say all) come into marriage with A LOT of unrealistic expectations. We all seem to be searching for our very own fairy tale come true and frankly, marriage is not a fairy tale.

Now before some of you get the wrong idea here -that this is a marriage bashing post that is down on love- it is not. Nor am I having any problems in my marriage. But for anyone who reads this, I want to give an honest view of what I've learned along the way. And it is this...if you are going to have a healthy, successful marriage in this world today, then you have to find out what happens after he carried her off to his castle in the clouds. What is Happily Ever After all about?

It all starts when we're little girls, doesn't it- the dream. Whether it's the beautiful fairy princess or the bride all in white, who ends up with the beautiful house, with beautiful clothes, beautiful children and has all her friends over everyday for a fabulous tea party. I think it's good to have hopes and dreams for our futures. I also agree that we should have standards, and not just settle, especially when it comes to marriage. (It is probably the second most important choice you will ever make in your life.) What concerns me is the startling number of young women, (whom I know personally) that already feel caught up in unhappy, unfulfilled marriages, or are still single, dating aimlessly and have almost lost hope in ever finding their "mister right." Have we let the dream cloud our judgment and view on reality?

Marriage by God's design can be and should be beautiful, fulfilling and rewarding. But, it is also hard work. Why are we afraid to say that as Christian women? It is as if we are admitting failure/defeat. Or that our story book romance isn't as picture perfect as it appears to be. Well, I'm stepping out on a limb to...dare I say it, admit my marriage has flaws,(gasp!) Yes revelation, I know. My marriage is not perfect. I realize that I tend to share only the good stuff, and I have done so on purpose. I choose to focus on all that is good in my life, because the devil tries very hard each and everyday to tear me a part in so many ways. Believe me, there is enough in my past and present that I could allow to overwhelm and consume me. But I choose. I choose to "think on the good things," in my life. My family, (my hubby and two little lovies) are by far one of the best parts of my life. But, like any good thing worth having, it diligently takes a lot of time, patience, nurturing, and loving effort. I want my marriage, like God's church to be built on the ROCK, not sinking sand.

So, here it is...the truth. There is no mystery to solve, secret to unlock, or fairy godmother waiting in the wings. With all of the good, there is also bad. There are times in marriage that are hard,hurtful,disappointing or stressful. It can be tiresome, and weary, or ungrateful and selfish. It can be unfocused, or even boring if we become apathetic. There are times you will give and give and give and wonder if the effort will ever be noticed. There will circumstances in life, (death of a parent, loss of a child, unstable finances, stress on the job, maybe even chronic illness or infidelity) that will cause you to cling tightly together, or continuously drive a bitter wedge between you. But you also have a choice in how you are going to handle the "bad times." It's all up to you, it's just not all about you.

Yes. You heard me right. A little harsh, maybe, but, I too have had to learn the hard way at times. If our actions or even our thoughts are constantly focused on me, me, me- then no wonder we feel empty and alone, at times. We might as well be in a relationship with ourselves. Because, we are failing to consider how the situation is effecting anyone but ourselves. If the devil can use our emotions to get a foothold into our self-centerdness, then he will use it to destroy our marriages.

I'm sorry if I've put a damper on the subject, here. This has been a post I've gone back and forth on writing, but honestly it is how I feel. This is in response to thoughts and feelings about comments like...

I guess it's just over, we just don't feel the same way anymore.

I never thought it was going to be this hard. I never thought this could happen to us. He just doesn't pay attention to me any more.

He isn't the same man I married. I never thought he could be so inconsiderate, so selfish, so.....

I am so tired of...I just can't take it anymore...If he thinks I'm going to...he's sadly mistaken.

It just makes me sad, not only to see someone hurting, but to see that there is so much anger and bitterness that there is almost no hope. It is like a weed choking marriage out. The devil will try to use whatever means he can to destroy this blessing from the Lord. That is why we must guard our hearts and minds, and renew our spirit everyday in His word. I know this is not a feel good post on love and marriage, but it is a part we all have to face at one point or another in our marriages. There are different seasons in marriage, and the Bible says a time for everything under the sun, (good and bad.) No one likes to talk about the hard stuff, myself included. But, these are feelings and thoughts many of us will experience, and that's OK. It means we're human. But, we don't have to let it destroy our marriages either. We can let it strengthen us and we can with stand any storm in life, if we stand firm on the rock of our faith! ~Blessings!


Denise said...

Bless you dear one.

Christy said...

I was just talking about this with a good friend yesterday-her daughter has just gotten married and is learning this. I guess you never really "learn" it all is a constant learning curve and that is why the work is so hard.

Thank you for this post and your honesty. You are correct and it is exciting to me that in that honesty you can help other women who ARE feeling that way and desperately needing encouragement.

Mrs. Jules said...

Great post, Tiffany. I wholeheartedly agree that renewing our minds with the Word daily is so key. I am still growing in this area, but the blessings that come out of this discipline are truly amazing. Thanks again for sharing such a heartfelt post.

freetofly said...

Tiff, I didn't know you had posted. Sorry I am just now reading this. I believe you know where I stand on this, but, in case you are in doubt, can I just say AMEN??! Marriage is God's idea and a gift. But we live in a fallen world. That means it is an uphill battle. We have to go against the cares of this world and the pull and tug of our flesh...and against the seductive lies of our culture that sound so good to our itchy ears.

I am so concerned and saddened for not only the married couples today, (though that DOES concern me) but, the young kids today. Tiff, you have NO idea the things they are struggling with. By the time these young people can find someone and marry they have SO MUCH baggage. As I type this I realize that the grace of God is sufficient to help them shed the baggage. But, oh they need so much! Lord have mercy on our young people! Help them, and help us to help them!

Great, great post. I am so glad that you undertook this.

Sorry for such a long comment!