So this morning I happened upon Shrek Forever After on TV. As I wasn’t the only one watching, I was a bit of a captive audience. I’m glad I was because it reminded me of some important lessons about marriage. After all, if we can’t learn from cartoon, who can we learn from, right?
Start the way you mean to go on: I was having a lovely visit with friends today when we got onto the subject of a sibling’s wedding. It seems that the sis who is getting married is going a bit overboard. The couple is going into debt in the name of show. Somehow the couple has lost sight of (or never had it) the fact that this wedding is merely the beginning of their life together. Getting off on the wrong foot can set the relationship a long way back. I feel like some of the lovely Jordanian girls get caught in this trap too. They demand gold and big weddings and huge receptions at fancy venues. They ask for large apartments in swank areas with fancy furniture. They have lost sight of the idea that they are building a life together. If your husband gives you all of these things and then works 2 jobs to pay off the debts meaning he never has time for you, was it worth it? Many of the most successful couple I know married when neither one had a great job or more than 2 pennies to rub together. They worked and built and moved forward together. Bascially they formed a partnership.
The marriage starts when the wedding ends: The overblown focus on fancy weddings and over-the-top celebrations for many couples seems like the end-all, be-all. They have forgotten that the most important thing is the day after the wedding. Once the guests go home and the honeymoon is over, what then? Shrek found himself at a first birthday party for his triplets. He was considering this question with increasing agitation. He was feeling as if he had lost himself… and he had. Because he had gone from a Bachelor Ogre to a husband and dad. That transition can be tough. The everyday grind of living can be hard. It’s certainly significantly harder than the wedding. And understanding that the marriage is made once the wedding ends is vital. If you pick a guy who can give you a fancy wedding but you hate to spend time with, you will end up with beautiful pictures and a terrible life. Think past the wedding to what life will be like in the marriage.
Appreciate what you have – all of it: Shrek finds himself, at the year-old party, feeling like he’s lost all of the good things in life. He leaves his life for a day (he thinks) and finds that while the initial freedom to be an ogre again felt great, halfway through the day he misses his life. Sometimes you need to leave your life for a day. It helps you remember what is important. You will likely find, as did Shrek, that having a home and a family make your life complete. While they certainly change you, they improve you. If you’re in a position where you can’t appreciate what you have… make a change. Take a day off, go to the Dead Sea for a day trip without the family. See how long it takes you to realize how good you have it at home. Then head home and hug everyone and appreciate the heck out of them.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the trappings of the wedding. The white dress, the shoes, the flowers, the food… all hold their own allure. It’s also easy to get caught up in the excitement of being the center of attention for a day. But brides-to-be would be well placed to remember that this is the beginning of the rest of your life. Don’t blow it by choosing the wrong guy for the wrong reasons. And for heaven’s sake, don’t blow it by placing yourselves in a financial hole so deep that your love gets lost in it. Because you won’t regret choosing roses over rare lilies, but you will regret the loss of love from your life. So…