The Unexpected Solution to Losing Your Happily Ever After.

happily ever after

After finding the love of my life, I had a hard time watching the predictably pathetic chick flicks that fill the summer blockbuster lists. The plot lines were all the same and went something like this:

Two gorgeous people meet and are horrible together, except the lovin’ is good. So after 1.5- 2 hours of dysfunction and drama, inflamed by alcohol, an affair or both they part ways. Then…they see each other from a distance at a club/restaurant/mall/park and can’t stay away from each other realizing in that moment that they are destined. Credits roll, and lonely women walk out of theaters nationwide dreaming of such “love.”

YUCK!!

I just kept thinking how much more I preferred my real life love story to the manufactured Hollywood versions. The details of  how we met, the waiting and wondering, the chemistry, the ups and downs. Then one day I stumbled across a writing challenge on facebook and I decided to begin writing our own story in novel form. The twists, the turns…the other woman, the vow! And the strangest thing happened. My love for my husband came alive in a way I didn’t realize had even died. I remembered the way I dreamed of being with him while simultaneously battled fears that it would never happen. I remembered the pain I felt each time we had to say good night as I wished we were just married already. I realized that so many dreams I had for our future were now fulfilled, yet where was my happy ever after?

Living in the minutia of life had given me an amnesia of sorts. Where was the girl who bargained with God for just one more date with her apparent soul mate? Where was that girl that promised to lavish love on her fiance every day of their life as long as they both shall live? How did they become an old married couple at the age of 30 something!

I guess sometimes life gets in the way of really living.

Diaper changes, physical exhaustion, mental burnout, hormonal imbalances, lost jobs, lost dreams, lost family members all enter the plot line unexpectedly and we forget. We forget we have the one thing we always hoped for.

So I think it’s time to remember. And a great way to do just that is to literally write your own story. The details, the conversations, the feelings, the warmth, the angst, the plot twists and that final moment, the knee hits the floor and your heart soars……

Remember and write.

Literally. With a pen and paper. Or fingertips and keyboard. Put words down, and watch your heart grow.

Here are some steps I took to prime the pump:

  1. Dig up the past: find old emails, old love notes, go through old journals, photo albums,anything that has any details of a time now forgotten.
  2. Enlist help:Send emails to close friends that knew you during those days. Ask them for any stories they remember, their perspective, anything will help.
  3. Talk about it: Use date nights to reminisce. Ask your spouse one of their favorite memories. Jot it down in on your phone for later. Tell bits of your story as bedtime stories for you kids. They will beg to hear more!
  4. Organize your information: Start with events that stood out to you, then start filling in a time line by days, months, years, whatever makes the most sense going by what bits of information you have. Start folder on your computer. Throw any pertaining journals, photo albums, keepsake boxes into a bag to keep it all together.

There are a few roadblocks to this challenge, two majors being motivation and time. So let’s start with motivation. Who doesn’t want romance? Just think of the popular show “The Bachelor.” Every season 24 perfect looking people go home alone, but not before crying into the camera the exact same line:
“All I want is someone to share my life with,”
And you, my married friend, have that! Even with their great careers, great looks, great bank accounts, they weep because they do not have what you have.
So you possess this coveted treasure. What are you going to do with it?
Here’s an idea.
Make it awesome. Make your OWN romance novel. Be the heroine of your own novella and watch your feelings follow.
I know, you say,  but who has the time? You do. We all do. If you are alive, you have time. You decide what you do with it. Ten minutes a day adds up! It does seem that time and money are always on short supply because we can never have enough.

But the truth is you do have time for what you do have time for.
It’s that simple. Tweet that!

I have talked to so many friends that have these amazing beautiful love stories. But just a short time later and that adrenaline is long gone. Bring it back, I say, using this simple technique. Write it out. If not for the big screen, do it for your children, or friends, or family.

Think of it as a beautiful keepsake to pass on to your children someday.
Just recently I had conversation with my dad about his story with my mom. Back in those days, he was considered an old bachelor at the age of 27.

What took you so long to get married? I asked him.
I guess I just hadn’t met anyone that made me want to give up my freedom, he replied.
So what was it about mom that did? I continued.
Well, she was intelligent, and beautiful, and I didn’t want to lose her.

Swoon.
The rest of my parents story is also Hollywood worthy, I might add, including a proposal, FROM ANOTHER MAN, literal writing on a NY subway wall, and more.
But this one line from my father just took the cake. I shared it with my mom. And ya know what she said?

“Really?”

Oh, my heart, just thinking about the sweet surprise in her voice. Forty-four years later…. a tender revelation….. simply because we took the time to remember.

Memory is a powerful tool……

Did you know people are divorcing these days simply because of memories that are dug up on facebook?
Can’t we make the contra-positive true? Can’t we keep people married by cherishing, exploring and chronicling our own precious memories?

There are copious amounts of verses in the Bible that implore us to remember, and in addition to remembering we are challenged to WRITE IT DOWN! This verse in particular stood out to me:

For whatever was written before was written for our instruction, so that through our endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we may have hope. (Romans 15:4)

Remembering and writing can bring you hope.
That’ll preach.

But here’s the reality. Maybe your story wasn’t great and you would actually rather not remember. In fact remembering makes it worse. Now what? Well here is my advice for you. Write a new story. Sometimes the most magnificent love stories have the most wretched beginnings. Become the heroine in this new chapter. Be the woman that opens her heart, gives her all, lavishes her love on that stone hearted man and watches a change take place. Or be that man that serves his wife and breaks down the wall around your wife’s heart brick by brick with every act of selfless love and kindness. Stop searching for the perfect romance on Netflix and make your own. Become the sexy seductress that brings excitement to your time together. Look into your mate’s eyes and be what you want to see.

One of my “Grandma Moses” dreams is to publish a series of real life love stories. I have heard some of the most amazing love stories in just the last few months, and have even BEGGED these women to start writing. Maybe it’s you. Start now. Start small. But just start. We live in such a microwave speed society that we forget some dreams take years of work with nothing to show for it before anything comes to fruition. In this case, however there CAN BE immediate satisfaction, however, because as you remember, your heart will grow towards your mate while you begin chronicling the story that God wrote for you!

Is that you? Take the first step! Be bold! Write the synopsis of your story in the comments today. Send me your email address and I will send you reminders and encouragement to keep writing! Let’s do this together 🙂

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3 thoughts on “The Unexpected Solution to Losing Your Happily Ever After.

  1. Your point about people divorcing because of memories being dug up on Facebook versus keeping people married by digging up other memories–I just love it. Brilliant and perfect! And I also love your mom’s response to what your dad said–got me all teared up! You make an excellent point, Lauren! Thank you!

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  2. Love this. This is sort of a tangent and not directly related to the really cool novel idea that you sketch out above, but some of the things you wrote remind me of a Timothy Keller sermon I listened to recently. He talked about how, beginning in the 1950s as Western culture began to embrace secularism, culture increasingly began to fill the vacuum in their souls after kicking God out of that place in their lives. So our culture filled that vacuum with the modern American mythology of “one true love,” which teaches that “the Universe” has mysteriously chosen one “right” person for you, and when you meet that person, the planets align and the fates bring you together, which is why the RomCom movies always have that moment where — despite all the ridiculousness you mentioned — the two characters magically recognize and decide that they’re destined for each other at the end of the film. I’m not saying that God doesn’t sometimes choose a specific person for someone to marry (but not all the time, the Bible values celibacy much more than our Christian culture does, I think), but that instance of God planning our lives according to His kingdom purposes, which sometimes includes leading us to a certain person to marry, is so much different than our culture’s “one true love” doctrine. But what Keller preached was interesting. He said that there is no “right” person, at least not in the sense that Western culture means it — that no matter who we marry, even if we methodically evaluated all 7 billion people on the planet and choice the best mate, it will always be the “wrong” person because marriage is not about finding perfection, it’s about yoking with another person who, like the rest of us, has their own profile of imperfections and sin nature tendencies that will require God’s refining fire and patience, and then the task of marriage is learning to love each other through all of our unreliable character traits and our seasons of change. That was the biggest point I remember: that sure a person might start out as the ideal match for your personality, the “right” person, but people change in dramatic ways throughout the different phases of life. Keller quoted an elderly man who had been married for like 50-60 years and still deeply loved his wife and visa versa, but the elderly man said this: “My wife, over the course of these 50 years, has been married to at least five different men, and yet she has learned to love each one faithfully, as hard as that has been sometimes.” (Quoting from memory, so I paraphrased it.) Of course, not that she literally married five different individuals, but he was explaining that life has changed his personality in very dramatic, unexpected ways over his lifetime, and those changes often removed what was once the “ideal match” in their personality chemistry, and the couple suddenly had to work through new incompatibilities that weren’t there 10 years before. Marrying somebody is not about finding the one true love who fits you perfectly and is guaranteed to make you happy for the rest of your life — though we all certainly aim for that. I certainly aimed for that. But, in truth, it’s about joining with someone who is willing to go on the same difficult journey with you — a journey that we all must take whether we’re single or married — and that journey is the long, arduous climb through all the seasons of sanctification and refining fire that God must undertake to transform us into Christ’s image. I could keep rambling on (I feel passionate about this topic), but I’ll stop here, haha. Great post!

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    • Yes! I love Tim Keller! (Got the chance to hear him teach just this weekend!) and his book “the meaning of marriage” is hands down the best marriage book I have read, for all the reasons you listed. I love what you said here. It’s not easy but the payoff is so worth it!! Thanks for taking the time to comment with such great insight!

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