Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Great Expectations—But Not Dickens
Cinderella, Beauty, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty…they all lived Happily Ever After once they met their handsome prince, who also all lived Happily Ever After with their newfound wives. While that sounds wonderful, somehow, I don’t think it is actually found in reality. Reality operates a bit differently.
Reality goes more like this: “Honey, the budget is really tight right now, we are going to have to cut back somehow.” “But we celebrated Thanksgiving at your parents’ home last year!” “I know you just got home, but I have this huge allergy thing going on….I have to lay down for a while….can you please take the kids to the park for an hour or two?” “But my mom always said that the socks are supposed to be folded together, not rolled up into balls!” “Yes, I have to leave again tonight, there is a huge project at the office and it has to be done next week. We’ll have to find time to get away some other month.” “What has happened to us? We never seem to talk anymore.”
I wonder how many divorces occur simply because of unrealistic expectations? I know a lot of people leave churches because of them. They go in thinking they’ve found the perfect church, and then discover it has faults just like every other church. The same is true in marriages, too. That “perfect” person isn’t perfect after all. And no individual is going to live up to all your expectations and dreams. It just is unrealistic. However, you aren’t going to live up to your spouse’s either, because you aren’t perfect either. (Hopefully, that isn’t a shock for you to hear!)
If you’re married, and it isn’t perfect, don’t think it’s merely because you have the wrong partner and the perfect marriage partner awaits you out there somewhere. At the same time, that dream marriage isn’t going to make you the perfect partner either. We are all broken one way or another, and sin has left its mark upon our hearts and upon our world. It is by the grace of God that we are forgiven and grow to what God desires for us. And it is by the grace of God that we learn how to love and forgive as God takes our imperfections and weaves them together in marriage that we can grow with our partners in God’s plans for our lives.
Marriage is hard enough, without having entered it based upon fairy tales and illusions. Marriages work better when THEY aren’t based on fairy tales and illusions, either! And, if you are dating, it doesn’t hurt to be realistic then, as well. The truth is, reality can be a pretty good thing. But not if we refuse to live in it. Could it be time for a reality check in YOUR life?
TL:dr Fantasy thinking helps neither divorce nor marriage.