Jump Start #3259
Jump Start #3259
Ephesians 5:28 “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself”
Years ago I was walking through some airport, flying from point A to point B and killing time by browsing in a bookstore. A certain book grabbed my attention. It later became a sermon for me. The book was titled, “When Prince Charming Falls off His horse.” Loved the title. The book was so-so. But what the book introduced was the contrast between expectations and reality.
The expectations often in marriage is that as a couple we will always agree. Every word will be soft and kind. The expectation is that every day is roses and candle lite dinners and sweet conversations, accompanied by goodbye kisses in the morning and wonderful embraces in the evening. And, as in the movies, everyone lives happily ever after. Such wonderful expectations. Never disagreeing. Never arguing. Never upset with each other.
But the reality is much different. Prince Charming often walks through the castle with mud on his boots. His clothes smell of the woods. He mounts ugly beasts upon the castle walls. He spends the evening sharpening his sword. And, at night he snores and drool runs down his mouth. There are days that Prince Charming doesn’t seem very princely. There are days when Prince Charming falls off his horse.
For the Prince Charmings among us, we can be so absorbed in sports that we neglect our mates. We can be so wrapped up in our work that we put our mate on the back burner. We can be too proud to apologize. We can fail to understand that our mate is different than we are.
There are days when Prince Charming falls off his horse. And, for many, when the realty no longer matches the expectation, they want out of the marriage. It’s not what I signed up for, is how some describe it. For others, they can no longer tolerate the reality. They want the expectation.
What can be done when the reality and the expectation do not match? What are we to do when Prince Charming falls off his horse?
First, it is helpful to be transparent, honest and clear with couples before they get married. Having honest discussions before the marriage will help a couple to understand when two rivers merge there is a bit of turbulence. Everyone brings a past with them into the marriage. Experiences, expectations, baggage, issues all are part of the luggage that we carry through the front door. The way we were each raised can be very different. Simple things from how we open presents at the holiday to how one squeezes toothpaste out of the tube may all be different. And, there must be some give and take and adjusting as those two rivers merge.
Second, much too often we expect others, especially our mates to be near perfect while we give ourselves a pass on those things. Even in a marriage, we need to put the radar gun down that we love to point at others. Faults are like the headlights of an approaching car. The other guy’s headlights always seem more glaring than our own. Our expectations change when we apply some grace, understanding and forgiveness to one another. We can focus upon the mistakes, or we can focus upon the wonderful attributes that attracted us to our mates.
Third, expectations lead us to living in a fantasy world. Similar things happen within a congregation. A new family moves in. They are excited and love everyone. Months pass, and they begin to see things as they really are. Their dreams are crushed. It’s not the perfect church that they were looking for. Some disappoint them. Some are a work in progress and let them down. Some gossip. Some ignore them. Mud on the boots. Drool dripping down the mouth. And, before long, that couple leaves for another congregation. They are saddened. Their faith is shattered.
In reality, Prince Charming will fall off his horse. And, there are days that the Princess becomes a drama queen. Working together, in worship, prayer and spiritual growth will allow both of them to realize that getting closer to God will pull them closer to each other.
All around us are examples of couples who have been married for decades upon decades. They have done much more than just dwell together, they have learned the secret of developing a thriving relationship that is wrapped around the Lord. They are an example for all. They are a living illustration of Jesus and the church. Perfect, it is not. But neither is it a fantasy world built upon false ideas and hope and dreams.
When Prince Charming falls off his horse…get back on that horse and get about doing what you are supposed to do.