Guest Author: Sharon White
Who doesn’t savor a romantic boy-meets-girl love story with a fairytale ending? “And the two lived happily every after…” music fades. The illusion of falling in love instantaneously with Prince Charming has been planted in the hearts of girls from fictional novels to animated Disney movies. While it is a natural desire, the secret hope that your future husband is going to waltz into your life and sweep you off your feet, even metaphorically, is based more upon unrealistic fantasy rather than sound relational wisdom.
After such large doses of fantasy have been spooned into your psyche from childhood, a girl starts wondering, “Why can’t this happen in real life?” Hearts of all ages want to believe that a guy will fall in love with them at first glance, that he will propose with an elaborate plan and they will have the perfect wedding, and walk happily into the sunset.
The recipe for a rich marriage is very distinct from the recipe for a top-selling romance movie. Marriage is God’s idea (Genesis 2:21-24), and He gives ideal instructions for making this lifelong commitment work. Where movies and books focus on the first few moments of attraction and ignore the realities of day to day relating, God’s Word teaches to show honor, respect and love to your spouse.
The Bible teaches how important it is to be clothed daily in compassion, humility and gentleness. (Colossians 3:12) In the book of Philippians written by Paul, he admonishes us to, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Insight for rich marriage is found in God’s word.
What young ladies should be praying for when they think of their future spouse is for him to be a God-fearing guy who will take the time to get to know her, who will appreciate her love for Christ, and enjoy her personality, strengths, unique gifts, talents and abilities. When you pray for your spouse, try listing traits that complement your strengths.
The late Dr. Bill Billingsley, former pastor of Sheridan Hills Baptist Church in Hollywood, Florida, gave my fiancé and me great advice during our premarital counseling. He said, “Remember, you are both marrying a sinner.” The impact of that statement was profound! We thought each other was just ‘perfect’!
Nationally known marriage counselors, authors and speakers Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott state it this way, “When we get past the myth of continual bliss with a perfect partner, we can embrace the reality that we married another flawed and fallen human being.” Your spouse doesn’t and cannot complete you. However, if you are following Jesus Christ and spiritually born again, Christ has completed you. Expecting your spouse to fulfill you sets him up to let you down. If instead you think of marriage as a team, together you can realistically plan and decide how to invest in kingdom work and impact those around you intentionally for the glory of God.
In their book, Love Talk, Les and Leslie state, “We ache to return to Eden where everything bad in our lives will disappear.” God promises that He will make everything right again, but it doesn’t happen in marriage between two sinners (saved by grace) nor on this side of heaven.
Where did we get this desire for someone to fulfill us and love us with perfect love forever? Let’s start with the Old Testament in the book of Ecclesiastes (3:11) where the wisest man who ever lived said, “He has also set eternity in the hearts of men.” So our Creator has written on our hearts eternity, living forever. Eternal life is the beginning of our ‘happily ever after’ journey. That is where our Heavenly Father wants us to be after we leave this “vapor-like” life. (James 4:14) He has provided a way for each one to get there-through Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and redeemer of mankind. By Jesus’ death on the cross for the sins of the world, He took the punishment for our wrongdoing. When we confess our imperfect ways to Jesus, the Bible says that God is faithful and just and forgives our sins and cleanses us. (John 10:19). That makes us righteous for heaven. Forgiven. We leave one temporal world and step into the beginning of our eternal “happily ever after” that will be perfect!
So we were really made for another place, a place that is perfect and where we get to live with the Creator of the heavens and the earth. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, then we know that we will be in heaven after we die. That is when the tremendous love story unfolds. The lover of our souls will welcome us into His kingdom, where there will be no more heartache.
As I read Revelation 19:11, I get a picture that takes my breath away. “Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse whose rider is called Faithful and True…on his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” What a breathtaking glimpse! The Prince we yearn for is a real character! His name is Jesus, and one day He is coming for His own.
More love story images unfold in Revelation 21:1-4, where John says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away”.
We are in a tremendous love story between God, our Creator and our Redeemer, Jesus Christ. The collective church is referred to as the body of Christ, the Bride (Revelation 19:7, 21:9). Our groom, Jesus, sacrificed His life on the gruesome cross so that our sins would be paid and we could enter into this picture-perfect place called heaven when we die. The reward for asking Jesus to forgive all of our sins is abundant life here and now and eternal perfection with Him forever.
That is some sensational love story! But the odd thing is it’s not glamorized. Many believers in Christ don’t even focus on the future which God has in store for us. They live as if this is all there is and they hope for heaven to be as good as they imagined it.
In his book entitled, Heaven, Randy Alcorn has compiled all the Bible references about heaven and organized it into topics. After reading that book I was fascinated about heaven and yearn for it even more.
Our knight is coming to rescue us. Jesus Christ is the One who loves us with unfailing, everlasting, and perfect love. (Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 13:5) He completes us and fulfills us. He will be mounted on a white horse one day. It is the perfect ‘happily ever after’ ending that we crave! There are details about the future that God chose not to reveal to John, but know that Jesus is returning for His Bride, the church, and there will be a wedding union of the Bride and Groom. That will be the perfect wedding, down to the last detail!
While you can experience great friendship and deep love in marriage and have influence for the Kingdom of God in this temporal world, don’t expect perfect love from anyone on this side of heaven. Whether you are single, married, or widowed, receive Christ’s love daily as you spend time reading the Bible. Crave one on one time with our Heavenly Father. His presence is where we gain peace.
So, the next time you turn on your favorite chick flick with your friends and a huge bowl of popcorn, guard your heart and mind! Remember that the way the plot unravels in the 100-minute movie is not the formula for your life story. Get to know your Creator, who knows every one of the days of your life (Psalm 139). God wants your devotion and wants to sit on the throne of your heart.
When you allow Him to fill you with His perfect love, your love cup will overflow, and you will be richly satisfied. (Psalm 63:5). You will be able to love the people in your life from the overflow and will be able to make wise relational choices. As you reflect His love, those around you will want to know the secret to your joy. That’s your opportunity to share the real “happily ever after” love story that is waiting to be written in every life, and it begins with Jesus Christ.