Summary: After the courtship and story book wedding, a marriage ensues and communication that was so easy before starts to degrade. This has much to do with male and female differences and needs.
AFTER HAPPILY EVER
If you’ve ever read The Little Mermaid story or watched the Disney version, you might think this is every woman’s fantasy. It’s a wonderful, romantic fairy tale of a beautiful girl falling in love with a handsome, rich and dashing prince, overcoming insurmountable odds to be together with a story book wedding at the end. Ah, what bliss!
But looked at another way, the Disney story might be the quintessential man’s fantasy. Think about the scenario: Woman falls in love with a man at first sight, SHE pursues HIM at great personal cost without him lifting a finger to romance her. Then she shows up on his doorstep half naked, and all she wants to do is make out – she doesn’t even want to talk! I’m half expecting this woman to open up a brewsky, turn on a football game and do a chest bump – this is a dream woman!
See, men and women have different definitions and communication of love. What men and women can agree on is that love is a great thing. It’s no wonder there’s fairy tales told about it. There’s magnetic attraction, wonder, chemistry, and fun. And all that energy is enough to get us hopelessly entangled into relationships and, eventually, promises of life long fidelity and faithfulness and togetherness.
A Wedding ensues. Which is the event that ends all Disney fairy tales. As if that were the END of the story and not the beginning. As if there was nothing interesting to report after that moment. It can all be summarized in 6 words: “And They Lived Happily Ever After.”
But we do not live in a fairy tale. We have to keep on living and loving AFTER the credits role. What about AFTER happily ever? This series addresses the rest of the story – the marriage challenges and the victories we can have through God’s plan, God’s wisdom and God’s power
Some of you may think the church’s marital code is hopelessly outdated and irrelevant for today. Many believe the enduring myth that cohabitation works as a sort of trial marriage. The stats tell us that cohabitation actually becomes a trial divorce.
- Since 1960, America has witnessed a 12-fold increase in cohabitation and a 50 percent plunge in the marriage rate.
- About 45 percent of cohabitating couples undergo what is called a "premarital divorce," which can be every bit as painful as the real thing.
- The half who make it to the altar are about 50 percent more likely to divorce than those who lived apart prior to marrying.
- In the end, as few as 15 of every 100 couples who cohabit go on to create a lasting marriage.
So if our culture hasn’t figured out the “love” question, the question you have to ask is if God’s blueprints for love have an expiration date on them like your milk carton? Or are they enduring and effective because God created humans and created marriage and God has the right design specifications for it?
I invite you to stay throughout this series to find out.
So the first issue that couples deal with AFTER happily ever, is communication. A couple were in counseling one time and the counselor asked:
- Does your husband beat you up?
o No I beat him up by several hours every morning
- Do have a grudge?
o No we have a carport.
- What grounds do you have for your problems?
o We have about four acres.
- Why are you here?
o We can’t seem to communicate!
Why is communication so difficult?
The Bible teaches that in creation, God’s splits his image into a duality, male and female. And in marriage, he calls them back together into oneness to reflect God’s one oneness in a Trinity. But the melding for us is hard because of the instruction of sin. When rebellion occurred we got bend and it affected relationships with a curse.
- Women would demand to have control over their husbands
- Husbands would try to dominate their wives.
So every marriage has two sinners living in it. That’s a lot sin in one place. Add to the sin, the incredible differences and you have a situation rife for communication degradation. SO why would God make us so different? When you think about it, this is the main crucible where we learn to love. Love that is MOST loving is reaching, giving and self sacrificing. And so it’s the duality that makes communication so difficult but also makes love worth something.
We have some friends here this week from Malawi, and the native language there is called Chichewa. And it made me think of how we react to a person who speaks a foreign language: initially it’s quaint, and there’s admiration and even wonder. How can they make those sounds come out of their mouth… and so fast!