Dr. Wayne Shaw


First Christian Church

“And they lived happily ever after.” That is the way fairy tales end. Can it happen in real life or is that always a fairy tale?

Joshua Lievman says, “ ‘And they lived happily ever after’ is one of the most tragic sentences in literature. It’s tragic because it’s a falsehood. It is a myth that has led generations to expect something from marriage that is not possible.”

The book, The 7 Stages of Marriage, begins:

“Fantasies can fill our hears with joy and our souls with hope. But one should never mix them up with reality—and the reality is that life is not perpetual bliss, and marriage is not a perpetual honeymoon.”

“After the pink and white roses have faded and the rental tux has been returned, the romantic bubble of wild, newlywed passion eventually drifts back down to earth. The descent may be as slow as the fall of an autumn leaf or as swift as the plunge of a meteor. But inevitably, all couples land with a thump in an unfamiliar country: real marriage.”

Soon the newlywed bliss collides with the nitty-gritty reality of the daily grind of marriage. You soon learn that your partner is neither Romeo nor Juliet.

Ben Franklin said, “Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards.”

Humorist James Thurber, whose first marriage ended in divorce and second one lasted the rest of his life, said, “The most dangerous food is wedding cake.”

Years ago there was a joke which asked why Liz Taylor had a weight problem. The reason, because of all that wedding cake.

Some of us remember that summer day in 1981when Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married. It was the wedding of the century. It was a story book wedding: pomp and ceremony, beauty and elegance, magnificence and pageantry, splendor and grandeur. This was more like a fairy tale than a real wedding. It was a story book wedding if there ever was one.

Around the world people watched on their TVs as Prince Charles and Lady Diana exchanged vows. They certainly had a lot of hopes and dreams that never materialized. Few could hardly have imagined the painful outcome that would follow. Pageantry turned to pain, grandeur to grief, happiness to heartache.

Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, understood what could happen. He gave a marvelous homily at their wedding. In it he said: “Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are made, the prince and the princess on their wedding day. But fairy tales usually end at this point with the simple phrase, ‘They lived happily ever after.’ This may be because fairy tales regard marriage as an anticlimax after the romance of courtship. This is not the Christian view. Our faith sees the wedding day not as a place of arrival but the place where the adventure begins.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury was right. Marriage should not be anticlimax after the romance of courtship. The wedding is not the place of arrival, but rather it is the place where the adventure begins. Make your marriage an adventure. Go on a second honeymoon. Date her often. Surprise him often. Have fun together.

One more thing, my wife, Anna and I are going to be conducing a Couples Communication Class, Sunday evenings, Sept.21-Oct. 11, 6-7 pm. We are also hoping to do another one on Wednesday evenings in a few weeks. If you are interested or would like more information, call me at 786-2822.