Happily ever after is possible.
Happily ever after is possible. This is easy to explain now, but in the beginning it was sheer hell for the two of us and our families...
After twenty six years of being alone and raising her children alone, Tonia found herself sharing the duties that she had always purposely done alone. Her mind was made up that life was much simpler, if she did not have to share anything. Her children and her grand children were her private world.
I, on the other hand was always married. I did not become the perfect mate I thought that I would be. I was moody and always on a manic high or in the depths of depression. I was a talented man who made fortunes, only to let them slip out of my hands.
When I came back into her life after all those long years, I was shocked because the young woman I had known had grown up and was wiser. I thought I was still twenty-five and never saw myself in the mirror for who I really was. Old and fat was the best way our grandchildren put it. The very words cut me to the core.
In my mind's eye and dreams, I was young and trim, and energetic. In truth, I found myself to be just the opposite.
I had lost all of my wealth through unwise decisions, and now broke and humbled, I looked for the light at the end of the tunnel.
At the brink of our marriage falling apart, we sought help from a marriage counselor. His name was Michael. At first, it was a series of he said, she said, each of us trying to justify our unacceptable behavior.
Finally after listening to the ranting of the two of us, he asked a very simple question. "How often do you kneel in prayer together and ask for the Lord's blessing and guidance for your lives and your marriage."
"I am on the road all the time and it is impossible to kneel together all of the time."
"How often do you pray together?" he asked again.
Looking down at the floor, I mumbled something about there just not being enough time for that and that it wasn't up to me to be the one to initiate it every time. I was not the only one at fault here.
"Just who is in charge of your family if you are not?" he asked.
"Well," Tonia said," marriage is a fifty-fifty proposition, and one has to work together to make it work."
"That is all fine and nice," he said. "Tell me who is in charge?"
We just looked at each other and shrugged. We each thought we were. I told her that if she wanted to be in charge she could have it. I was tired of the bickering.
She just looked at me with those beautiful brown, and now very sad eyes, and as they filled with tears said, "You are the man; you are the priesthood holder, you have to be in charge."
I started to answer and Michael's sharp remark stopped me dead in my tracks.
"If you do not cut this out right now, I am kicking you out of my office. You are acting like little children in the school yard, calling each other names. The question is still the same. Why have you not prayed together?
Is it because you think your marriage is not worth saving? Is it because you think you have stopped loving each other?"
Now he was red in the face and stood and said, "I have met a lot of people who did not love each other, but I have never met a couple who loved each other but were unwilling to try. I'll ask you for the last time, why do you not have family prayer together morning and night? Why are you so unwilling to put your lives in the hands of our Savior Jesus Christ and plead for His help? He loves you both and knows you by name."
II promise you in the name of the Messiah, he said, that if you will humble yourselves and pray together, He will bless this marriage, and you will go forward and not to divorce court."
We sat there stunned and silent. We knew that he was right all along, but were too proud to admit it.
Finally, after a time that seemed like hours, with tears streaming down my face, I took her in my arms and asked for her forgiveness. In a rush of tears, she did the same. Time seemed to stand still for that moment, and we promised each other that we would never let the sun go down on an argument without settling it and to have prayer together every night as we retired and each morning as we arose for the day.
When I was on the road with my truck, no matter where we were, when it was time for prayer, I would kneel at the side of my bunk, and she at her bed at home, and over the phone, we would petition our Heavenly Father for his help and guidance. We would read from the Holy Scriptures the word of God and then when we said our goodnights, we would confess our undying love for each other.
From that moment on we have grown in love and stature together. Our home is one centered in the Gospel and with an eye single to the glory of God. There is no other explanation as to why my marriage has lasted so long. I know that happily ever after is more than possible, it is our reality.