853) Living Happily Ever After

C. S. Lewis's Joy in Marriage

C. S. Lewis and his wife Joy, approx. 1958

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     If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married’, then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were.  Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years?  What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?  But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love.  Love in this second sense— love as distinct from ‘being in love’— is not merely a feeling.  It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God.  They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.  They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else.  ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise.  It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run:  ‘being in love’ was the explosion that started it.   –C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, 1952

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Matthew 19:4-6  —  “Haven’t you read,” Jesus replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?’  So they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

I Corinthians 13:4-7  —  Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Proverbs 3:3  —  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Galatians 5:22-23  —  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.

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Prayers from “The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony” in the 1662 Anglican Book of Common Prayer:

O ETERNAL God, Creator and Preserver of all mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life:  Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; that they may faithfully live together, and may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

O GOD of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, bless these thy servants, and sow the seed of eternal life in their hearts; that whatsoever in thy holy Word they shall profitably learn, they may in deed fulfill the same.  Look, O Lord, mercifully upon them from heaven, and bless them.  And as thou didst send thy blessing upon Abraham and Sarah, to their great comfort, so vouchsafe to send thy blessing upon these thy servants; that they obeying thy Will, and always being in safety under thy protection, may abide in thy love unto their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.