Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fairytale Lies

Let me start by saying that I wrote this entire post yesterday and saved it over and over and still somehow it got erased. So annoying!!

I want you to know that this post is nothing like anything I have ever posted before. More real. More raw. More Christian. Much more wordy. It is what is heavy on my heart right now.
This is my husband, RT.
He is kind. He is sweet. He is helpful. He is honest.
He is brave. He is cute. He is protective.
He is so many good things.

Yesterday, my friend Alicia linked this article to her Facebook. (read it now. before you read anymore of this post. it really is awesome) She might as well have sent it in a message straight to me. After reading it, I literally felt like the writer, Timothy Keller, had written the article to me personally. This is, of course, not the case but coming out on the other side of an exceptionally unpleasant argument with my husband, Keller's words applied pointedly to my current situation.

The basic point of the article, You Never Marry the Right Person, is that "no two people are compatible." (Keller). We will, without a doubt, let each other down time and time again. No matter how much we love each other. Afterall, "why would neurotic, selfish, immature people suddenly become angels when they fall in love?" (Keller). Because, whether you want to admit it or not, those words describe you. I know they describe me. As humans we are flawed. We are sinners. There is no way around it and "sin explains why marriage is so painful and hard." (Keller).

I am, in general, a very happy person. A glass-half-full kind of girl. Until I am not. I often visualize my happiness like a balloon filled with helium. The balloon is up and flying high and everything is all hunky dory until someone comes by with a needle and pops it. There is no gradual change from happy to sad. It happens instantly. The balloon ceases to exist entirely. Not that there isn't an infinite amount of balloons but the next one must then be filled with helium and, well, sometimes that takes longer than others. You see my happiness relies solely on other people. Mainly RT. I know that that is completely unfair and way too huge a burden for my husband to have to carry. I get that. No need to tell me. I am honestly trying to change and progress is being made little by little but it is a long hard road to travel. It helps me to remember that "destructive to marriage is the self-fulfilling ethic that assumes marriage and the family are primarily institutions of personal fulfillment necessary for us to become "whole" and happy." (Hauerwas, Keller). I have to learn to rely on the truth that only God can make me "whole" and happy. It is hard though because, like I said, I am flawed. I am a sinner.

In Sara Bareilles' song Fairytale she sings, "Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom -- man made up a story said that I should believe him -- go and tell your white knight that he's handsome in hindsight -- but I don't want the next best thing -- so I sing and hold my head down and I break these walls round me -- can't take no more of your fairytale love." Girls start hearing fairytales from the beginning of our lives. First in storybooks and cartoon movies, then in love song, love stories, and romantic comedies. I love a sappy love story as much as anyone else but it is important to remember that that isn't reality. The hard times last longer than the 15 minutes allotted to them in the movies. There is no perfectly chosen background music in real life. That perfect line is never said exactly how you dream it will be. Poor RT. No one wrote him a script telling him exactly what and when to say and do. The idea of a fairytale love/life is no more real than the one eyed monster who may or may not be lingering in your closet at night. Real life can be hard and messy and sad and hurtful and mean. It isn't always like that but it can be and for sure will be at times.

I believe that God wants us to experience happiness but I don't think he created the institution of marriage to make us happy. I don't think he planned for RT and I to get married so that we would make each other happy for the rest of our lives. I believe that God blessed me with my husband to make me holy. To bring me closer to Him. To test my patience and to test my faith. "The gospel is -- we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, and at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared to hope. Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God's saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and also radical, unconditional commitment to us." (Keller). What an exceptional example for us to follow.

So that is my goal for my marriage. To realize that it is going to be hard sometimes. To know that RT is just as much a flawed sinner as I am and irrational expectations of anything more than that will only hurt my marriage and disappoint me. My marriage is the most important earthly relationship I will ever have. Period. I need to know God's truth and follow His example. The good times will, inevitably, outweigh the hard but it will take insanely hard work to tackle all of the craziness that will come our way. But I know RT and I know his commitment to the Lord and to me and so, I know we will work through life together. As a team. The three if us.

Happy Wednesday!

Reference: Keller, Timothy. "You Never Marry the Right Person." Relevant Magazine (2012). Print.

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