Connecting the Dots with Erin Outcalt

January 29, 2012

Editor’s Note: Erin Outcalt is the latest addition to our contributing columnists. She will be writing about family and faith. Originally from Hesperia, Erin moved to Ludington several years ago. As she will tell you in her column, her life has changed dramatically since then. 

 

Connecting the Dots

 

By ERIN OUTCALT

 

As I write this, I celebrate my five year wedding anniversary. To some this may not seem like such an accomplishment but to me it is pretty amazing.  My husband John and I had both been married before and have children from those marriages.

 

When we tied the knot we were two kids short of being the modern day Brady Bunch (without all the syrupy sweet pep talks and hokey story lines.)

 

Growing up I envisioned marriage as a perfect relationship straight from a fairy tale movie.  “And they lived happily ever after…”

 

The problem is that we were never shown what happily ever after looked like.  Imagination naturally takes us to a perfect world with perfect people.  In the fairy tale we know what love is supposed to look like. We know how the other person is supposed to act.
Knowing that we don’t live in a fairy tale world I conjure images in my head that they lived happily ever after until Cinderella found that Prince Charming snored and left his dirty dishes lying around the house.  Or that they lived happily ever after until Prince Charming realized Cinderella had an ornery morning disposition. Fairy tale relationships sure fade out fast when reality hits.

 

What I have learned in the past five years is that relationships are ever evolving and that people aren’t perfect. John and I have had a lot of wonderful times in our marriage that I could relate to the perfect fairy tale. We have also had our fair share of really tough times that seemed more like a horror flick.  In those tough times it is very easy to give up because it doesn’t seem like it is worth the effort.

A relationship is by far easier to tear down than build up.  But truly in a relationship of any kind it is all about your perspective and willingness to give of yourself to the other person. When the focus is no longer on your own wants your relationship is forever changed for the better.

 

The Bible gives us an example of how we should love one another in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 

To give even more insight into this passage read it again but replace the word love with your own name.

 

Erin is patient and kind. Erin is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Erin does not demand her own way. She is not irritable, and she keeps no record of being wronged.  Erin does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Erin never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

 

Hmm.  I guess I need to work on a few things.  But at least now I have a better model of what a good relationship is really all about rather than relying on someone else’s idea of happily ever after.

 

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