“And they lived happily ever after.”
The ending of all good fairy tales. The ending of all good romance novels. But is being in love enough to live happily ever after?
I loved reading Elizabeth’s post last week about how she and her husband fell in love. The wonderful stories in the comments made me smile and feel all warm and mushy, like good love stories should.
I met my husband when I was sent to work in a specialised area of the hospital I had little experience in, and didn’t really want experience in. I worked for a telephone nursing service, but to keep our hands-on up to date, we were sent to the wards or clinics occasionally. The clinic he worked in was my last choice on the list my manager asked me to fill in – yet the first place I was sent!
Clearly a God thing.
We worked together all day, then lingered at the front door talking for hours after the clinic closed. I told a friend later that night, “I’ve met the most interesting man!”
We texted each other frequently. I waited and waited for him to ask me out, but it didn’t happen. Maybe I had it wrong and he wasn’t interested in me that way? Thankfully, I’d just moved into a new apartment. I could invite him to my housewarming, without it seeming like a date. Other friends drifted in and out, he was the first to arrive and the last to leave.
Three weeks later, I knew I was in love with him, three months later we were engaged, six months after that we married.
Was it a happy ever after?
Certainly not the one I expected. Our courtship was tempestuous, our marriage has been full of challenges.
We couldn’t be more opposite. He’s sooooo English, I’m Australian. I’m emotional and intuitive; he’s on the autistic spectrum, a Mr Spock. I’m impatient, wanting to do things as fast as I can; he needs to take everything slow, sometimes very slow. Our faiths separately hit roadbumps long before we met, but while my path back to God was quicker, he’s still deciding if he wants to step back onto the path at all. We’re both very strong willed.
Some days it feels like the only thing we have in common is our address, and that we’re both vegetarians who like cats!
But through it all I’ve never lost the sureness he’s the man God wants me with, that my vows really are “Till death do us part.” Okay, I confess, there have been times I got mad with God about that! But He’s worked to convince me a 50/50 marriage isn’t enough.
Image via Vision Christian Radio
Rather than instant married bliss, we’ve grown into our happy ever after. God is teaching me more and more about surrendering to Him. The changes He’s creating in my heart and mind are making a huge difference to my marriage. Our happily ever after looks very different from the fairy tale version I imagined reading Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast as a child, or Harlequin romances as a teen.
Yet it is real, it is happy, and it is ever after.
Despite our difficulties, I feel blessed by this relationship. God put us together for a reason. I’m learning patience. I’m learning compassion. I’m learning to let go of needing to be right, and needing to have things my own way. I’m learning what it truly means to be joined in love with another person. I’m learning to embrace the unexpected gifts, the many different ways love can be expressed.
Writers often end our romance novels with the proposal, but that’s just the start of things! I’m looking forward as my book series continues to following up some of the couples as secondary characters, through their weddings and beyond.
God has a plan and purpose for our lives, and all of us who know Jesus as our Lord will one day experience the ultimate happy ending! But He also wills for us to live joyously now.
I’d love for you to share the ways your happily-ever-after has blessed you, both the ways you expected and ways you didn’t expect. What’s the thing that’s made the biggest difference to your happiness in marriage?
Or if you’re single, what other ways has God blessed you?
Here and now, what does your happy ending look like, in love, or in some other area of your life?
One commenter will win the ebook of their choice from my author page.