Happily Ever After in Marriage (The Meaning of Marriage chapter 5)

Fairy tale marriages are frustrating because they tend to end at the beginning of real life. Fairy tales end with a wedding ceremony. Real life begins the day after. Fairy Tales say the real life that awaits the newlyweds is a life where “they lived happily ever after.”
A lot happens in happily ever after.
Happily ever after includes the realization that the person you married has real flaws. And when we see those flaws, we are forced to decide what we will do with that realization. In chapter 5 of The Meaning of Marriage, Timothy Keller says, “When people first begin to see the flaws in their spouses, some flee the marriage. Others withdraw, downscaling their expectations of happiness almost completely just to get along. Others go into a long period of fighting and blaming their spouses for their unhappiness.”
The easiest thing to do in marriage is run away from real life. It is easy to retreat when we face flaws in each other. When our eyes are opened to the problems in us and in our spouse, it is hard to figure out how to proceed. Often, our first attempts at fixing the problems caused by our flaws go wrong. And then we do not know what to do.
But marriage is not about running away from problems, settling for less, or fighting against each other because of our flaws. It is about embracing the other and working with them. Marriage is about looking at real life and committing to love each other even when we see the imperfections and weaknesses. It is about filling in the happily ever after with hard work.
When we stick to marriage and remain positive toward each other, even when we face each other’s flaws, we have the power to build each other up. Instead of tearing each other down for the flaws, we can build each other into something better than we ever could have been if we walked away or settled for less.
The kind of love required for marriage is a tough love. It is a love that refuses to give up on each other. It fights for the other in a way that makes them a better person. Happily ever after is hard work. Marriage is uncompromising in forcing us to see the truth about who we are and who we need to become. But it also gives us a chance to change as our spouse hold us accountable for who we are and who we need to be.
Marriage provides us a chance to grow because it forces us to see the truth. Truth
+ Love = The chance to grow. This is the pattern of Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head—Christ.”


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