Wednesday, February 5, 2014

All I Wanted Was Happily Ever After

Welcome back to the book club! We are reading through the book Women Living Well by Courtney Joseph.

This week we’re reading chapters 8,9 and 10. “Banishing Bitterness to Find Happily Ever After” and “The Completing Him Marriage Challenge” (part 1 and 2).

Happily Ever After…. Who doesn’t want that? We dream of it, we long for it, Disney has made millions off of that desire. And it’s what filled our minds as we said “I do.” At least that’s what I had in mind. I thought marriage would be wedded bliss.

But the fairy tale dreams in our eyes sooner or later wake up to reality. Prince Charming isn’t really so charming after a while. And, well, if we have to admit it, we aren’t so much Cinderella-like all that much anymore either.

But wait. You married that guy because you thought he was The Man. You giggled when he grinned at you. You wanted to impress him, to help him, to attract him. Somewhere in the daily chaos of life that gets lost, especially when you throw a kid or 4 into the mix.

We forget that guy is so great because it is easier to see the underwear left lying on the floor, or the dirty dishes left on the coffee table, or that he forgot to feed the dog… again.  But a question we should be asking is: What is his side of the story? Does he still see that wonderful girl he married, or is she often overtired, disheveled and critical?

Often, marriages look more like tug of war than teamwork. Competition takes the place of complimenting. Critical attitudes take place of caring. And is seems we aren’t even on the same team most of the time. How did we end up this way?

Marriage was invented by God right there in the Garden and designed to be a blessing in our lives and a picture of Christ and the Church. I want my marriage to be a blessing in my life and in my Knight’s. I know you want the same for yours. But if we don’t work on keeping it that way, it will turn out very differently.

Let’s say you wake up tomorrow and your head will barely lift off the pillow. You. Are. Dead. Tired. Ugh. You think to yourself: “I’m so tired…. I can’t make it through the day… The kids are going to drive me crazy…. I need a nap…. I don’t have the energy to clean…” and so you drag through the day just barely hanging on to existence.

Now let’s say that when you wake up groggy and dead tired, that you choose a different approach to the day. Mentally. What if you thought to yourself: “I can do this…. It’s only one day… I can make it… I can get moving and enjoy the day… I can do this and tonight, my bed is going to feel oh, so good!”

We both know that the day would indeed go better than the first scenario. Attitude is everything. Attitude steers your actions. Attitude steers your moods. Attitude steers your motivations.

What if you approached your marriage that way?  It makes a difference if you wake up next to Mr. Not So Charming or if you wake up next to Mr. Charming. It’s the same guy, but the difference is in your attitude.

Push aside negative and critical thoughts about Prince Charming and focus on his good qualities. Can’t think of any? Think back to why you married him in the first place. Build appreciation for him in your heart. Build respect for him. Build closer intimacy with him. Build a life with him and share his priorities. Wedded bliss may not always be so blissful, but when we change our attitude, bliss will show up among the chaos of reality.

Chapters 9 & 10 are filled with a 10 day marriage challenge. I have read many wife challenges and truth be told many are sappy and not anything my husband would even like (like taking him on a picnic – just not his style). The 10 challenges presented here are good. They are aimed at your heart and attitude. Aimed at growing respect for your Mr. and putting him first. It’s a challenge I actually recommend if you’re up for it – let me know how it goes!


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