Friday, July 15, 2011

Four years and counting

I remember being little and wondering about what and who my future would hold for me. I think most little girls do it. We wonder what his name will be, what he will look like, how we will meet, when we will get married, and we dream that he will be the prince we've always wanted. A fairy tale is something meant to stir our inner most desires so no matter they are all about love. As women we are programmed to want to be loved and cherished and fought for. Then, somewhere along the line, many women settle. They figure if Prince William is taken than anyone will do. Or they kiss a lot of frogs and start to doubt that anything else exists. Many women don't understand that the fairy tale isn't about the castle and the ball gown, it's about finding the man who treats us like a queen.

The other problem to those stories is once women find their prince they expect happily ever after. No problems, just bliss. Fairy tales never continue past the big, joyous wedding and so the image we are left with is the joyous celebration and not the day to day monotony of life in the world. If the stories had been extended Prince Charming would leave his clothes on the bathroom floor instead of the hamper, Prince Eric would spend too much time at work, and I can guarantee that Jasmine and Aladdin would have had it out over who's turn it was to clean the tiger's litter box. It's just life.

In order to really understand what a husband should be like we have to look to Christ. At it's most basic level, we know that the husband should be willing to die for his wife. He should love her more than he love's himself. Now, Christ is perfect and no other man is, but there is no compromise on this central necessity of a husband. He must be willing to lay down his life for his wife. Most men won't have to do this in a literal sense, thank God, but there are little ways they do this in every day life, things a woman should look for in a potential spouse. Does he concede when he is wrong? Does he get you food when you aren't well? Does he work to provide for you? Is he open to life? Does he plan dates for you even if the ballet isn't exactly "his thing"? Will he watch the occasional chick flick just because you enjoy them? If he can be trusted with small matters, he can be trusted with larger ones as well. A man who is selfless is husband material and he is a prince.

We, as women, will not always be the perfect brides. The best women are strong women. We are taught that this means to be independent and strong willed. Real strength is in obedience. Just like the Blessed Mother was obedient to God's will because she knew the He loved her and even if His will wasn't completely clear to her, she knew that she could trust him. If you find a prince that is willing to die for you, you can trust him to lead you. Obedience isn't about blindly doing something stupid because you aren't smart enough to think for yourself, it's about learning self control, humility, and above all, it's about trusting in the love your spouse has for you. A holy husband looks to God for the way he should lead his family. If you marry a holy man of God, you know that his decisions are done in prayer and that you can trust him to be the head of your family. In my household we discuss almost everything together because my husband loves me and wants my input. In the end, however, he is the head of our family and I trust him. He has never led us wrong in four years and he will be the first to credit that to God, of course, but also to my help as well. I am his helper, not his manipulator. And that is so much better.

I don't have a perfect marriage, no one does, but I have one prince of a husband. He makes me feel like the beautiful princess I always dreamed of being as a little girl. In fact, when I was little, I used to write stories about my future prince. In all of those stories I named the prince Kyle. God had already written his name on my heart. In these four years of marriage I have grown in holiness because of this amazing vocation we were called to and because of the amazing man I was called to it with. And it just gets better with each child we have. I look forward to many more joyful years of marriage. From the outside, it's an ordinary life, from where I am standing... it's a fairy tale.

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