Despite the veil, it was obvious that her face shone with the joy of a blushing bride as she walked down the aisle towards her Prince Charming. All the days dreaming and scrapbooking of her perfect wedding day, planning her one-of-a-kind dress with a sweetheart neckline and more taffeta than all her friends’ future dresses put together. It was all perfect.

Most little girls dream of their wedding day and their handsome Prince Charming. Perhaps even borrowing Mum’s old veil and dress, playing “Bride”, dreaming of a happily ever after. Take the character Jane from the movie “27 Dresses”; she had a scrapbook full of ideas collected throughout her childhood about her dream wedding day.

I had thought of what it would be like to get married, and definitely dreamed of meeting my handsome Prince Charming and having the fairy tale “Happily Ever After”.

However, I didn’t quite go to Jane’s extent. But nonetheless, I think it is inbuilt in us females to dream of being a bride.

My wedding day was perfect. It was January 6, 2008. The sun was shining, not a doubt in my young 21-year-old mind as the numerous buttons on the back of my dress were fastened. The pipe organ played the bridal march as I confidently walked down the aisle to my smiling Prince Charming in his linen suit.

Fast forward a couple of years and things weren’t so perfect. The honeymoon was well and truly over.

Nothing drastic happened. It was a little bit one day, a little bit the next, and before we knew it we were miles apart, arguing about stupid little things and avoiding spending alone-time together. I don’t deal well with confrontation, and I admit it, I’m pretty sensitive when someone tells me I’m not doing something right. Consequently, I built walls around me; strong, tall, double thick walls every time I felt hurt instead of dealing with it.  I was lost, so uncertain of what was ahead. After planning out what my life was going to be like and how it was all going to work out, the fairy tale was shattered.

We had both become selfish and had forgotten the important part about serving one another in love.

There was the occasional, “We got this, that was just a rough patch”, and things would seem great again for a short while. We would each try, on and off, to do the things we knew we should be doing to speak to one another’s love language.  He would clean up the kitchen and help with housework, and I would give him more hugs. But, too little, too late. My Prince Charming moved out of our bedroom to another room. There were tears, sobbing, despair and grief for what we had lost. That was it, I was going to be a divorcee. I would graduate college at the end of year, and he told me I should probably just move back to New Zealand and live with my parents.

What had happened to my happily ever after? The perfect wedding/marriage and my Prince Charming had turned into a pumpkin.

A big fat, rotten pumpkin. Now, a pumpkin doesn’t just rot overnight. Our marriage had been slowly rotting since pretty much the beginning, and no one knew. NO ONE! By all appearances, we were happily married and life was peachy. My pride didn’t want to admit to anyone that our marriage was failing big time and I didn’t have it all together.

Cue the Holy Spirit.

One of my husband’s friends gave him a DVD called “Growing Your Marriage God’s Way”. He promised he would watch it, but put it off until he just couldn’t any longer. This lead to the discovery of the “glass slipper”, the answer to “un-rotting” the pumpkin. Thus began his search to return the glass slipper to his Bride and turn the pumpkin back into a glorious, gold plated carriage with well-groomed white stallions holding their heads high. Ok, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. But, it was in this “rotting pumpkin” that we both really began to seek God’s guidance. I desperately prayed that God would save my marriage, but I just couldn’t get over the things that had happened, been said, and been yelled in anger and frustration. There were many wounds that needed to be healed and walls to be broken down. It all just felt too far gone.

Nothing is too far gone that the gracious and reckless love of God can’t rescue it.

We both battled the enemy’s attacks hard for a long time before there was any form of reconciliation. Slowly, brick by brick, my walls were deconstructed and wounds began to heal. The key is in the word “both”. There is power when two or more are gathered in His name. (Matthew 18:20).There was no way that my prayers alone could save our marriage, or that just my husband’s prayers could. But together, they were loud and unstoppable.

After being married for 7 years, we felt like we were at the place we should have been at during our first few years of marriage. The glass slipper was back on my foot. And now, after 10 years of being married, it just gets better and better each day, but only with the continued power of prayer.

Marriage is the closest we humans get to understanding the love connection between Christ and us. The Bible offers many analogies of us being the bride of Christ (Isaiah 54:5, Hosea 2:16, 19-20, Ezekiel 16:8, Matthew 25:1-13, Revelation 19:7-9).The enemy wants to destroy all the things that help us grow closer to Christ and understand His love for us. I’m not prepared to let him win. I’m too stubborn for that.

Praise God that He is triumphant and turned my rotting pumpkin into a shiny gold carriage that gets shinier every day, and just so happens to contain a pretty amazing Prince Charming inside.