Once upon a time…I recently attended a Disney Institute (DI) Course. Ironically, for this marriage blog, I was not attending a marital workshop. I was actually taking a class regarding leadership principles. However, could you imagine a Disney Class on marriage?! What would “Disney Magic” look like as a couple strives to live “happily ever after?” Who else could teach families how to love one another than THE entity that caters to families every day? I digress. Disney, if you’re listening, I’ll help you shape, market, and teach such a course!
In order to respect the contents of the amazing DI course, I will not share details. However, after attending, I can say that my heart was stirred to compare my marriage to the magical atmosphere of Disney. I found myself asking this question, "Does our marriage reflect happily ever after or Cruella De Vil?"
On our “happily ever after” days, our marriage would include the following commitments:
On our “Cruella De Vil” days, our marriage would display the following:
In reality, the first list includes my “ideal” purposes for marriage and the second list includes my more “cynical” purposes for marriage. I believe day-to-day reality exists somewhere in-between as we strive to live out the first list.
As I review these lists, I find myself asking a deeper question, “What do I want the legacy of our marriage to be?” The Disney Institute Course really challenged me to connect purpose to legacy; our focused purposes now are already creating our legacies for the time after we are gone. (Think Yoda from The Last Jedi, "We are what they grow beyond.") The magic of Walt Disney continues to be passed on from generation to generation because his legacy lives on. I desire for the influence of our marriage to do the same; leave a legacy our children and grandchildren can follow.
What do I want the legacy of our marriage to be?
I want the legacy of our marriage to be that of a couple who intimately loved each other. Intimate love is not “rip-your-clothes-off-love because you cannot wait to be intertwined in passionate bliss.” (Although, I strongly believe healthy intimacy will produce such moments in marriage. And hey, the more the merrier.) Intimate love is a love that is developed over time as a couple learns to listen, see, and trust each other. Intimate love is a love that is safe and encourages emotional, mental, and spiritual vulnerability. Intimate love is an honest love that does not shy away from expressing needs and desires through the words “I need” and “I want.” Intimate love is practicing the words of Ancient Scripture to “forgive as you have been forgiven.” Intimate love is valuing the teamwork necessary to raise children into adults who will be difference makers in the world. Intimate love is praying for one another, praying with one another, and letting each other know that you are constantly praying for them.
I believe that if Tara and I can create such a legacy, the most powerful examples of our legacy will be the ways our daughter (Natalie) and son (Isaac) treat their own spouses and children. The hard and blessed truth about our marriages is that our marriages are not about us. Our marriages are about the people our children become. So, if we do our job as a married couple, our children and great-grandchildren will benefit from our legacy of intimate love. And, prayerfully, such a legacy will lend itself to our children and grandchildren living happily ever after.
What do you and your spouse want the legacy of your marriage to be? I encourage you to take a morning over coffee or even a weekend away to discuss this important question.
(Want to know more about the Disney Institute? Check them out at www.disneyinstitute.com.)
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Harrodsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.
Tara wears several hats; wife to Paul, Mom to Natalie and Isaac, Physical Therapist by day, and Noonday Collection ninja at night. Tara cares deeply about helping other women understand their true identities and developing their relationships with Christ. Tara likes to read, cook, and learn about all things Disney.