Fifteen years. Fifteen years, and he still brings me coffee. Every morning. Fifteen years ago I married Prince Charming. Diaper changing, dinner cooking, laundry folding Prince Charming. But no one is perfect, including me. Neither are relationships.
Fifteen years ago, I never imagined this life. This kid refereeing, car-pooling, groundhog day, frozen pizza for dinner life. This ships passing in the night, hearing each other’s silent arguments, what’s-a-date-night love.
I never imagined this to be love. But it is. And I never imagined this love to be incredible. But it is. Because real love lives life—all of it—together. This is the fairy tale.
Marriage is difficult. Real love takes work. The work of two—a partnership. When it is the work of one, well, it just won’t work and leaves a wake of heartbreak.
But two? Walking, sometimes trudging, through–holding tight? Cleaving together?
Loving Jesus isn’t the guarantee. Divorce happens in church too. The guarantee is the choosing. The daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute choosing the love Jesus defines is the glue that sticks. And we both must choose.
Because really? Love is a choice. And the choosing is the work. The roll-your-sleeves-up-and-get-dirty work. Because the choosing is never easy.
Love is patient when I have to put his deodorant back in the medicine cabinet. Every. Single. Day. And when his idea of picking up papers is stacking them neatly. And when I forget to turn the AC back up to a dessert breeze before leaving the house. And when I am “almost done” writing and will be there in a minute.
Love is kind and tells me I’m beautiful all the time. Especially the days when I need to hear it the most. And love tells him he’s one hot tamale and still rocks your world.
It does not envy a day on the golf course because he has given even more time for your coffee with dear friends.
It does not boast or consider one role is more important than another. There is no room for egotism in partnerships. Arrogance only leaves room for dominance, and this is not love.
It is not proud and can say I’m sorry because we hurt our best friend, even if we were right and our lover was wrong.
It does not dishonor others, or point out flaws in public or whisper embarrassing stories of weakness in even our tightest circles.
It is not self-seeking, always asking how he can help me, and I wonder how much more I need to follow his example.
Is not easily angered when I can’t make a simple decision about chicken or pork chops for dinner, or when he chooses to parent in a way that makes me want to scream “Are you crazy!?”
It keeps no record of wrongs even if I desperately want to bring up that one time when he, when he, when he…yeah. Because to erase a record assumes forgiveness and grace have been given.
Love does not delight in evil but realizes that if King David, the man after God’s own heart, could falter, so could we. This humbles us. And we set boundaries.
But rejoices in the truth knowing honest words spoken with a tender heart is balm to our wounded souls. And in the protective net of truth, I can be me. And he can be himself. Neither is lost in the cleaving.
It always protects as his hand at the small of my back guides me into the safe places. Because our space together is always a shelter, even when the silent anger is deafening.
Always trusts, shows no doubt, and never laughs it off when I whisper, please be careful—she’s looking a little too long.
Always hopes with each passing year love will deepen and bonds will strengthen.
Always perseveres. It refuses to give up. Refuses. To. Ever. Give. Up.
Love never fails even when we do. Because we will fail. We will yell. Scream. Flail about. Scar the souls of our beloved. But the Jesus-Love in our hearts never fails.
And when we choose the Jesus-Love? Our deeply wrinkled hands will still find their way together as we walk with backs stooped toward a setting sun.
When love looks like this, love is the fairy tale. The beautiful-lay-down-my-life-for-you dream of the Prince and his Princess. The deep sigh of knowing someone—really knowing and still loving.
Because real love isn’t a dozen red roses, castles, and white horses. The fairy tale is the loving in, the loving through, the loving despite this mundane life. This is the story-book ending. This is the rescue. The knight-in-shining- armor rescue of the damsel waiting. Waiting for someone to walk with through the ordinary, only to turn and realize she’s holding the extraordinary.
And you realize the fairy tale is exactly how you imagined…
Inspired by the beauty of God’s word in 1 Corinthians 13…