The Real Deal - Encouragement Café - April 27, 2017

The Real Deal
By Michelle Axton Kelly

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

The Disney classic closes with Cinderella running down the palace stairs with her husband, who happens to be a prince! As the sun sets on this story, we are told they live happily ever after.

I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying stories of princesses through the eyes of my child. In Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty they each overcome evil, falling in love with the man of their dreams.

Now, we aren’t told what happened after the happily-ever-after. No mention is made of mortgages, opinionated mother-in-laws, toddlers with tantrums, or teens who miss curfew. Nor do we know how the newlyweds adjusted to life once their marital bliss faded.

How did their communication skills pan out? What tools did they use for conflict resolution? I wonder if a sneak peak at Prince and Princess divorce rates would be as dismal as our current status.

Today I want to share some sweet encouragement sisters, the best advice this lover of fairy tales ever received about my marriage.

It contradicts the idea that love is simply a warm, fuzzy feeling that will sustain every day of your marriage. That love will not fade in the whirlwind of soccer practice schedules and grocery store runs. It is this:

Love is not an emotion, it is a choice.

Take a minute to let that sink in. If you are like me, it will cause you to pause the first time you consider it. You see, loving your spouse becomes a choice when it is three in the morning, your child is throwing up… and he is snoring away.

Loving is tough when you have to tell him you busted a tail light on the car, again. And love is especially hard to spare when you do The Dance.

You know the dance. It’s that thing you and your husband do when you argue about the same issue, over and again. It’s how you react to that conversation time after time. Yep. That’s The Dance. And nothing can make you feel like throwing in the towel faster.

In those moments? Choose love, friend. Fight for your love, harder than any hero or heroine in a Hollywood movie. Don’t buy into society’s belief that a marriage without romance and first love butterflies is doomed. 

Pray God will inspire you with the unconditional love and grace Christ offers us each day.

Choose to give your husband the grace and unconditional love that Christ offers us, especially in those moments that don’t feel lovely.

Pray God will soften your heart, giving you a moment to pause and consider how you can bless him and your marriage.

God, in this world bombarded with messages about what love is and the belief that our marriages are disposable, help us to choose to love unconditionally and like Christ. I pray that You will be at the center of our marriages today, God. Strengthen and protect our love and hearts, bringing us ever closer, especially in times of conflict.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.

Additional Scriptures:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 1 John 4:7

Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Philippians 2:2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3

© 2017 by Michelle Axton Kelly. All rights reserved.

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Originally published Thursday, 27 April 2017.