Is Your Marriage The “Happily Ever After” You Dreamed Of?

A short time later, he heard Kathy’s SUV pull into the garage.  He was surprised she didn’t immediately burst into the shop and light into him for not accepting Sam’s offer.

When Susie called him to dinner, he realized why.  Kathy brought the subject up not more than a couple minutes into the meal.  “Sam Richards offered your father a job.  Isn’t that nice?”

“Kathy.”  The fire in his voice got everyone’s attention.

“Well, he did,” she reiterated.  “Only your father won’t take it.  Restoring his car is more important to him.”

“I don’t think we should get into this now.”  He gave her a look that neither she nor the kids could misinterpret.  Then he explained to the children that yes, he had been offered a job, but it wasn’t what he was looking for.

“Why can’t you take it anyway, just for now?”  Derek asked, pleading in his voice.

Hal shot a furious glance at Kathy, who smiled triumphantly.

– from The Hero’s Choice by Roger K. Allen

How did you feel when you read the excerpt above?  Even if you haven’t read the story and don’t know the characters, you might have felt tense, embarrassed, or indignant.  You might have automatically sympathized with either Hal or Kathy.  Or you might have felt that deep-down clench at what, for you, is a sickeningly familiar scene.

The fairy tale of “happily ever after” is just that – a fairy tale.  Behind the white lace, first dance and photos lurks a call to action:  “Here’s where the real work begins, so let’s get started!”   Sadly, our culture, which inundates us with trivial knowledge – the latest slang, the private lives of celebrities, and political scandals – has very little to offer in the way of useful marriage help.  Many people simply don’t know how to create a loving marriage.  Worse, many people are so unfamiliar with what a marriage should look like that they are stunned when their own ends.

Can you agree with the following statements?

  • When my partner disagrees with me, I make a point of hearing him/her out, to make sure I really understand his /her point of view.
  • I can name three situations in the past month which have upset or irritated my partner.
  • If I see my partner unexpectedly, I still get a thrill of happiness.
  • My partner respects me.
  • If my partner suffered a cataclysmic illness or injury, I’d stick with him/her – no question.
  • If I suffered a cataclysmic illness or injury, I have no doubt that my partner would be by my side.

If your answer to any of these is “false,” or if you’re just not sure, then you have some work to do in your marriage.  This isn’t bad news – it’s good news.  Good news!  You are now more informed than many, many people around you.  Good news!  You have the opportunity to build a more beautiful relationship between you and your spouse.  Good news!  There is somewhere you can go for marriage help.



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