Friday, April 29, 2011

And They Lived Happily Ever After

Kate Middleton and Prince William kiss (AP/APTN)

I know, I know, we're all sick of hearing about the wedding of Will and Kate.  Imagine how we're going to feel after the coming week when we've watched the wedding for the umpteenth time and seen the kisses for more than that!  I must admit that I did NOT get up at 3:00 A.M., my time, to watch the affair.  I knew that I would have ample opportunity to see it later.  I did turn it on about 5:30 when I woke up and I watched the end of the ceremony along with the rest of the world and I waited to see the kisses before I turned the television off.

Please don't get me wrong, I love the pomp and circumstance of it, I love the fairy tale story of it, and I love to see two young people so obviously in love with each other come together and join in marriage.  It's wonderful and I wish them every blessing!  I hope that they will have long and happy lives together.

Maybe it's because I'm older, maybe it's because I've been less than successful in my own love life, or maybe it's just that I understand that fairy tales are just that...fairy tales.  The dictionary tells us that fairy tales are a fanciful tale of legendary deeds and creatures, usually intended for children.  I'm wondering if that isn't why we all love this particular fairy tale so much.  It reminds us of a time in our lives when we believed every fairy tale; someday our very own prince or princess would ride up and sweep us off our feet and we, too, would live happily ever after.

I think this particular fairy tale will have a good and happy ending.  Will's life lessons have, fortunately or unfortunately, taught him that there are only the happy endings that we work hard for.  He and Cate seem to understand that it will be inevitable that there will be difficult times.  Are they willing to commit themselves to the work that it will take to live happily ever after?  I guess time will tell, but, unlike his parents, I believe that Will and Cate are prepared and ready to face the challenges together.

I wonder why that part of the fairy tale is never included.  Why don't the stories tell us the part about the work involved to live "happily ever after?"   There are those that say that this dream is no longer possible.  That to live together for the rest of our lives is an ideal of the past and that we should not expect that of ourselves or from anyone else.  Again, I must admit that I have not been successful here, not by my choosing, but what I didn't understand was that even as committed as I was (or maybe that should be that I needed to be committed; today, I'm not sure) it still would only work if we were both determined to make it last.  Unfortunately, that was not the case and I ended up, by mutual decision ultimately, a single mom and I've been that way for ten years now. 

Do I miss being part of a couple?  Yes.  Are there times I can't imagine wanting to permanently share my life again?  Yes.  Would I still like to preside over my very own fairy tale?  Of course.  (Ummm, do you see why I haven't found an answer here yet)?  I know of very few women who don't want the magic of their own fairy tale, but over the years we've discovered real life and real life doesn't always give us the dream.  I've had wonderful examples, my parents have been together, "happily married," for fifty-three years.  Would they say that they lived happily ever after?  I think, for the most part, yes, but I think they'd also be among the first to tell you it wasn't easy.

Will William and Catherine find it in themselves to give 100%  to make their marriage work?  I really believe that this is the biggest problem in marriages today.  We get so caught up in me that we forget about we.  Please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying that we should be doormats for our partners, our kids, or anyone.  What I am saying is that our lives, whether we're married or not, are supposed to be about love.  We first have to learn to love ourselves.  When we truly do that, then we are ready and able to love someone else and that love is based on building us both-together.  You support me and my life and I support you in yours and TOGETHER we build our life. 

Many couples read the scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 at their wedding.  It's called the love verse:

 Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude.  Love does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable or touchy.  It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.  It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.  If you love someone you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost.  You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him.

I have a friend, a retired minister, who says that she always has a couple study this particular verse during their premarital counselling.  She wants them to really think through what it means to always be patient and kind and all the rest of those guiding words.  For they are not just words, and they are not just for betrothed couples.  I would suggest that this verse applies to all of us and to all the relationships that we have.  Let's see, how have I done?  Hmmm

Which of us could say that we follow this verse in any  of our relationships?  Maybe the marriage of Will and Cate should be a life lesson reminder to us that magic does happen, especially if you work really hard at it.  They've worked hard for eight years to get to this point.  Today is their celebration of those eight years, and a look down the road for many, many more. 

I wish them God's blessings!  And you too!

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