Lessons to Happily Ever After
11 years ago I met the man I knew I was going to marry. 6 years ago today (in ridiculously Italian wedding fashion) we tied the knot in front of family and friends and began our Happily Ever After…
Looking back over time, my relationship with this man has taken my world, turned it upside down, shaken it up and handed it back to me. I have learned lessons that are hard, practical, valuable and totally freakin’ necessary. The lessons are raw and sometimes harsh but they have brought me to a place of wisdom and peace that I am truly thankful for. For me, marriage has been the catalyst for change and though change is rarely easy, I am forever thankful.
Lesson 1: Unless you love and accept yourself, there isn’t anything or anyone on Earth that can make you happy or content. You can search the world over and get lost in people, places and things. You can throw yourself into work, hang out with amazing people, attend the most incredible sporting events and travel to breathtaking places. If you can’t look in the mirror, wink and say “I love you, Dollface!” and really mean it to the core of your heart, nothing you do, and no one you are with will make you happy. This doesn’t mean have an inflated view of yourself or think you are off the hizzy! It means true love and acceptance. Seeing your flaws, your imperfectness, your brokenness, your selfishness, your form of crazy and then being able to say, “Ok… I still love and accept me.” You can search this World over, but I promise you, you won’t have true lasting happiness unless you love and accept that adorable face that stares back at you in the mirror.
Lesson 2: Your soul will always feel an insatiable desire to be fulfilled, until you fill it with the Truth. I have built my life around many things and people thinking they would fulfill me, satisfy me, make me complete. I have put my faith and trust in people and things that I thought were solid, every time believing more than ever that this time, this thing, this person would sustain my hearts desire. Over time, every one of those things that I was sure were sturdy and lasting crumbled to pieces leaving me on my knees searching. It wasn’t until I began filling my mind and heart with Christ that I was finally able to feel satisfied and put my soul at ease. The Truth of the gospel is the only foundation that will last.
Lesson 3: Nothing works when you are a jerk. This one might seem harsh and shameful but it isn’t about shame, it’s about stating facts. Sometimes we are jerks. You can put any descriptor in front of it (selfish jerk, stubborn jerk, crabby jerk, controlling jerk, gotta-be-right jerk) and the reality is the same, we can all be jerks. It is through embracing this ugly that we are able to look at it for what it is, accept it and then change that which we don’t love. My favorite part about this one is that I have a partner who loves me enough to call me out on my jerkiness and he lets me call him out on his. Just as iron sharpens iron, one jerk really can help another be better.
Lesson 4: Apologize when you are wrong. This is my least favorite… Especially when I am in full-out jerk mode. The worst is the moment you realize you are wrong and you knoooowwww that you have to apologize. You know the moment I am talking about. In those moments my best advice is put on your big girl panties and suck it up. Apologize when you are wrong, ya jerk!
Lesson 5: Learn how to give forgiveness, and also how to accept it. This is the most beautiful lesson I have yet to learn. The lesson of forgiveness is hard and sometimes complicated and emotional but it is also the most necessary. When we extend forgiveness we are essentially saying “I might not like what you did but I will never ever hold it against you again.” Like, woah, Yo! To be able to have that said about some of our most jerk-ish behavior is incredible. In the face of this forgiveness being extended we also have to look at the flip side. The circle of forgiveness can only be complete when the other person accepts that forgiveness. You may think, “Well duh! Why wouldn’t they accept the forgiveness that’s offered?!” Which brings me back to lesson 1… We must love the person in the mirror or all the forgiveness in the world won’t matter.
Love yourself. Love God. Stop being a jerk. Apologize. Extend and accept forgiveness everyday. These are everyday choices that get us to our Happily Ever After.