Stop Expecting a Fairy Tale Marriage
By: Anne Peterson
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19
I remember the day I learned that my husband was not the one to meet my needs. It was similar to the day when I realized I would never be able to marry the Rifleman and be Jonny Crawford’s mom. It was the day I realized my husband was human, like I was. That Mike had strengths as well as weaknesses. That he wasn’t perfect.
I loved fairy tales as a child. Actually, I still love them. Cinderella was wonderful on the big screen with that gorgeous blue dress. When we were little girls, we all dreamed of marrying our prince. And then we did. But soon afterward we woke up.
In fairy tales, they never mentioned, dirty clothes, breath that is not that fresh, and a host of other things. They highlight other things. Like shining armor, or sunsets, or violins playing in the distance. So people start using that as a standard of what to look for.
But fairy tales are not real, and those of us who stand before friends and family making promises to love, honor and cherish the one before us will discover something quite different.
Marriage is work. Too much time is spent on the wedding, and not enough on what follows. The day-to-day with someone who might not be a knight.
Marriage is a good learning experience. Not only do you learn what is inside of your spouse, but marriage reveals what’s inside of you. And honestly, it’s not all that pretty.
When you are getting to know Mr. Right, you see all the shining things. Like maybe he’s kind, he’s good looking, he is funny. He lets me talk.
But after you are married for a while, you see that he could be kinder, and in certain lighting, he’s not as good looking as you thought, and after you hear the same jokes repeatedly, they’re not that funny. And as far as letting me talk, sometimes he’s not listening.
But as the shine on his armor fades a little, it seems to coincide with something else. Marriage is also a wonderful place to learn about trusting God. To depend on him for your needs, and to learn how to lean on him, no matter what.
And then God does a wonderful thing. God allows hard times. Now I’ll be honest, they don’t seem so great when they come into our lives. Kind of messy at times. But with each hard thing we go through we flex faith muscles.
And after a while, like David who was brave enough to stand before the giant Philistine, in 1 Samuel 17. We also learn where our strength comes from. David remembered fighting a lion and a bear. God reminds us of previous battles and how he came through for us.
Satan would like us to believe that God gets tired of helping us out. That God is done. Read Hebrews 13:8. But God doesn’t change. He also doesn’t get tired. Even in creation, he worked nonstop. And when he took a rest it was to model what we need to do.
The Almighty is always almighty.
The world gives us the wrong message. The songs of long ago talked about how we can’t live without that special person in our lives. How they complete us. That they are our better half. We are not half people going around looking for someone to complete us. God made us complete human beings.
Even in being helpmates, we are still complete people who are to help another person, not complete them.
God is the one we lean on. And a loving spouse will remind us of that. Ecclesiastes 4:12 talks about a cord of three strands. God is one of those strands.
If we make the mistake of thinking our spouse is the one who meets our needs, we will soon find out we are wrong. 2 Corinthians 3:5 tells us where our sufficiency comes from.
And when we learn to lean on God. All of a sudden, our world looks a little better through God’s eyes. Even our spouse.
Anne Peterson is a regular contributor to Crosswalk. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 14 books, including her memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Anne has been married to her husband, Michael, for 43 years. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com and receive a free eBook. Or connect with her on Facebook. Then you’ll hear about her new writings.
It's time we get real about marriage & relationships! Join marriage coach, Dana Che, as she and her guests deliver witty, inspirational, real relationship talk from a faith-based perspective. New episodes of the Real Relationship Talk Podcast drop every Tuesday.
Originally published Thursday, 01 February 2024.