I don’t know about you but I thought Happily Ever After was a gift I was supposed to receive from the man of my dreams. A wedding gift. I dreamed from-this-day-forward Jim would sweep me into his strong arms and into an ever-present romantic love affair until-death-do-us-part.
Well it turns out that idly waiting for my husband to love me the right way really was a dream; but it became one of the nightmare variety. What was wrong? Why didn’t my standard of marriage match my actual marriage?
Determined to find an improvement for our dying love, I was thrilled to discover a love coach from a source I could trust – the Shulammite Bride from the Bible’s, Song of Solomon. I feverishly combed through her love story to find out what was missing from mine. As I unpacked the Song and watched Shulammite love her man, I saw a jillion ways of loving a man that were clearly absent from my own marriage. No wonder my marriage was falling apart!
Armed with my new knowledge I set forth onto the battlefield of marriage—and believe me, by the time I found Shulammite, my marriage was a battlefield. I began applying what God taught me through Shulammite.
But it didn’t work.
I refused to be swayed, so I tried again.
Still, no success.
I tried again, then again, then again without success until FINALLY I broke through and my marriage drastically improved.
Happily Ever After began to make its way back to us.
What I discovered was trying anything new—even God’s way—to enhance my marriage almost NEVER succeeded on the first try. In fact, it worked on about the fifth try.
Thinking I was a slow learner or just plain crazy, I eventually taught some of my mentees the same Song of Solomon conclusions and found something interesting: it took them about five times as well.
In other words, if we DIDN’T try at least 4 times after we failed the first time then our marriages stayed the same. Broken down in percentages, it means 80% of the time you are going to fail before you succeed. Learning to love your spouse is like learning to walk or learning any new skill—you’re going to wobble and fall a lot before you succeed.
I tell you this to ask you one simple question: How much do you TRULY desire a great marriage? Because if you do, then the measure of your desire is your willingness to fail on 80% of the attempts you make before you break through to success.
By refusing to give up in the face of failure, your marriage develops the very strength it needs to endure the coming storms. This is how strong marriages are made.
Strong marriages aren’t strong despite their failures, they’re strong because of them.
You, my friend, are creating a living, breathing love story and like any story, there will be several revisions, lots of polishing and a ton of editing to original rough draft before you get it right.
So be encouraged. If you’re trying new ways to bring Happily Ever After to your marriage and you immediately fail, then get up, dust yourself off and try again. Keep going. You’re right on track.
“though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Ps 37:24)
Stay lovely my friend,