Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy Ever After

This is repost of an old blog entry from four or five years ago.  I decided to repost it in honor of my upcoming anniversary to the greatest man I know, and also in honor of a dear friend whose daughter is about to embark on her lifelong journey into marriage.  

A bright young friend of mine recently wrote that she is pretty disillusioned about life and love.  She's had a string of bad relationships and is understandably pretty shy about getting into another one.  In the process she's gotten the idea that real "happy ever after" love is unattainable, that it's all a fairy tale and that it's cruel to raise little girls to believe in them.  It sets them up for a lifetime of disappointment and frustration.

Life is full of disappointment and frustration, and no one needs to be set up for it in order to experience that.  Granted, fairy tales do tend to mislead, but it's not what's put into a fairy tale that's the problem.  It's what is left out.  I can tell you, fairy tales are real.

The problem with reading them is that there's no time reference.  They don't tell you anything about the ten or fifteen years or more, of the most uncomfortable times of heartbreak, adjustment, pain, more adjustment, disillusionment, um... adjustment...  that fall some place in between being swept off of your feet and being happy ever after.  Diapers, dinners, arguments, illnesses, jobs, finances and all the rest of the mundane business of life.  They don't write that in the story because no one would read the dang thing!

I like it when some smart director takes a fairy tale type story and makes a good movie out of it by having one of the characters in the movie tell it as a story from his own past.  A good, fairly recent example would be "The Notebook."  There was still a whole lot of the messy business of life that was passed over, sort of left out for the sake of time, the story's continuity, and no doubt saleability, but at least it showed that the relationship was rocky.  It wasn't always magical  and happy.  They clearly loved each other, but they had times of despair and loss.  They had fights and separations.  A lot of movies have that, but the redeeming thing about this movie, the thing that made it better than so many others, was the fact that it was told as a beautiful fairy tale looking back from the end of their lives together.  When all was said and done, how did it all turn out?  How can we judge happily ever after until it is actually after?

Sadly, most people never have enough years to look back on, and they never get to see how wonderfully it could have turned out.  They quit.  They allowed immaturity and selfishness over the course of time to cause resentment and anger.  They never learn that struggle and difficulties, just maturing together, are ties that bind your lives and hearts together.  It turns out to be time, the very thing that creates the beautiful story, that defeats them.  Now that's a tragedy. 

My relationship with my husband hasn't been all roses, but he did sweep me off of my feet back in the beginning.  I was looking for the happily ever after part to be right on it's heels!  For awhile I thought I might be in some sad tragedy instead of my fairy tale!  But the happy truth is that some of the times are wonderful, with great joy and memories that I cherish.   We have more and more of those times with every passing year.  He's still my Prince Charming, and he can still sweep me off my feet.  My fairy tale is unfolding to be exactly what I hoped, happy ever after.  It's the years that make it happen. 


Retta said...

I agree ... fairy tales *ARE* real ... but they do take work. I know that in spite of all the heartache, hard work & intensities, I have the fairy tale too. I am blessed. These types of relationships happen but with hard work & a commitment to each other & to God!!! The key for us has always been that God is in the center!

Representative said...

Amen! Some of the trials would be too hard for me if I didn't have His promises. But, it's worth it, whatever it takes. :) If it's this good now, what about in 20 more years? :D

Lisa Easterling said...

Absolutely beautiful post! It resonates with my spirit in a way that is hard to describe. I am delighted that I've found another kindred sister who believes in fairy tales and is living one in brilliant technicolor, just as I am. Blessings to you, my dear friend.