Cold and rainy, wet and windy outside, I sat in my car with the motor running and the heater on. The overcast day looked more like evening, though it was only early afternoon. Nothing really motivating one to be outdoors. A hot cup of coffee did sound good! But who wants to get out of their car on a day with weather such as this?
So we went through the drive-through, a girlfriend and I, and we sat in my car talking with our coffees cupped with both hands. With the warm air of the heater, we continued our conversation, as the noise of the rain pounded down against the windows. She sat in the passenger seat and looked over at me intently.
We were talking about weddings and she wanted to know what it was like to be married. A girl who, for as long as I had known her, had only dreamt and talked of being married.
"Oh to be married!" she said. Her eyes lit up. "So, do you feel pretty everyday?"
The sincerity of her question quenched my almost instant reaction of wanting to laugh!
"What?" I asked! "Feel pretty everyday?"
I looked over to see an honest questioning expression on her face.
"Oh honey, no! I don't feel pretty everyday! I still have breakouts. I still get my period. I still have bad hair days, or bad hair weeks! There are days when nothing fits right, days when everything feels frumpy. There are days when I just feel yucky, dumpy, or downright grouchy!
No. Being married does not make you feel pretty everyday."
But this, this is important to know!
"Yes, being married is wonderful! Yes, Cody can at times, makes me feel beautiful, loved and appreciated. But, definitely not pretty everyday."
I've thought a lot about this conversation since that rainy day sitting in my car. I've wondered how many other girls have dreamt of being married someday--in hopes of feeling pretty every day.
What a shock; what a disappointment, when they wake up on their honeymoon, only to feel the same way they did the day before the wedding. When they wake up to find there has been no magical transformation after saying "I do."
I'm afraid that there is a belief out there that holds to the misconception that "happily ever after," simply begins with saying "I do." That once married, we then walk into a cloudful bliss--completely void of connection to the world as we knew it just moments ago.
I'm not sure what sort of societal influences have placed this expectation on being married, or if a girl's fantasies are none but her own. I'm not sure.
What I do know, is that if anyone has wishfully dreamt of being married and blissful...it has been me! Of that, I am completely guilty, for sure!
I did however, have older women to talk to, ask questions of, and I know that greatly benefited me when it came to preparing to the realities of being married. But not to be discouraged, as though being married is some huge chore or something!
There is a reason why weddings are so wonderful and marriage so beautiful. It is a picture and living expectation of what is to come.
"Happily ever after" isn't just a fairy tale. No, it's a real thing. It's just that it doesn't happen here on this earth. In the Bible, those who place their faith in Christ are called Jesus' "bride" and someday He will come for us--yes we truly have a happily ever after to look forward to!
I have now been married for almost eight years. And it's wonderful. I'm married to a kind and considerate, handsome, God fearing man who loves me.
We laugh together, cry together, make memories together, work and play together. But I can never place on him an expectation to make me feel pretty every day. He is only human and he has in the past, and will again in the future, let me down. God has to be the One in whom I place my identity, so that I can be free to love Cody for the man God made him, and not expect him to fulfill my every need.
God is the One who is able to make us pretty every day. And it's not that we always feel pretty; it's not that we always are pretty. It is the peace and security in knowing that God loves us. He cherishes us. He adores and dotes on us. We belong to Him and in Him we find our identity and beauty.
God is the only One who can truly fulfill my every need.
God is the only One who is able to redeem me, heart and soul. So that even when I don't feel it, I know that in His eyes, because of Jesus, I'm pretty--every day. *