The children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbi, illustrates two keys to having a phenomenal marriage. This book was written in 1922 by Margery Williams. The book tells the story of a stuffed rabbit and his desire to become real, through the love of his owner. It speaks powerfully to unconditional love and being real. I want to share a brief conversation between the rabbit and the toy horse that illustrates this point:
Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.” “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
When you have authentic honesty and unconditional love, you will have a phenomenal marriage. These two relationship skills work in tandem. Let me illustrate. My wife recently came home from a trip where she had been gone several nights. When she arrived home we went out to dinner. At the restaurant, she cuddled close to me and said, “Dave, I really missed you.” The waitress commented about us as a couple, and my wife smiled and said, “I like him a lot!”
One of the most fabulous things about my marriage, is that the women who knows me better than anyone else still genuinely likes me. She knows the good, the bad, and the ugly. I never have to worry, “Well if she found this thing out about me, she would no longer love me”. She knows everything. She does not necessarily like everything about me. But she loves me. The truth is I really like my wife as well. I know her good, bad and ugly. Every secret. Her unconditional love makes it easy to be real. My being real helps her love me. These two skills work in tandem. The ability to be real and the ability to love unconditionally. Phenomenal marriages have figured this out. Do you love unconditionally? Are you real or do you pretend and keep secrets from your spouse? Work on these two areas of your marriage this week. As the horse, illustrates in the children’s book, it takes time, but it is definitely worth it.