Marriage

The Truth About Happily Ever After

We all love weddings. It’s a bride’s red carpet day and the beginning of a long life together with the man of her dreams. That’s one hell of a big deal. So you celebrate the transition the only way you know how – by inviting family and friends to witness you exchange vows and seal your union with a kiss. After, you’ll dance until your knees get weak, eat cake, sip on some bubbly, and hug far too many people than you can remember. You’ll be gracious enough to pose for a few selfies with your guests. Okay. Maybe a lot of selfies. Then you’ll toss your bouquet to the single lady guests or better yet, you’ll take the lead from that saint of a bride we’ve all seen on Instagram who pulled apart her bouquet, gave a rose to each of the single ladies that stood up for the toss and prayed for them after. What a darling!

After, you’ll ride the endorphins of the magical day you just had that made you feel all Cinderella as you share a ride with your husband to your honeymoon destination. You’ll sigh under your breath, thankful that you’ve finally traded goodbyes to days that ended with “see you tomorrow” for “good morning handsome!”. You’re finally a Mrs. And yes. It’s truly the stuff of dreams.

At the hotel, the red carpet treatment will continue. The concierge will address you as Mr. and Mrs. and you won’t miss a beat to gush about the reason for your stay at the hotel or country to anyone who asks. You’ll share a deluxe king sized bed fitted with 600 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets in a room with a spectacular view, dine like kings and queens, and probably eat too much bacon and sugary treats that you’ll try to hide with a healthy serving of fruit salad and fresh juice each meal time.

After the beautiful two weeks of paradise, you won’t mind switching gears from your island life to the unfolding wonder of living just the two of you, you and your boo. That’s where the real living starts anyway. And sure, there might not be surrounded by elegance and wait staff at your beck and call (or room service), but this is where the chapter of your new life together begins. There will be no audience to cheer you through the small stuff (remember feeding each other cake, sipping on a drink, or busting a move before the crowd went wild?) and this, I believe this is where the withering for most begins.

If you look at every fairytale told in history, it always starts with a dilemma, sparks flying between the two, brief waiting that sets the romantic tension that leads to a kiss, a wedding that takes your breath away and the classic storybook ending: ‘and they lived happily ever after.’ That’s barely the tip of the ice berg.

Have you ever wondered how Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty lived? How was their first fight? What would they do every day? Details, please! But maybe I’m the nosy one (even though we all know that’s not true. Haha!). These stories had us hooked on a fragment of reality and when many cross over to the other side of bliss (post-honeymoon) they start to look at their married lives as less than. Don’t even get me started on how Instagram can pull you into a vortex that makes you question if you’re really in love or if your everyday married life is magical. Anyone else been here?

The only reason you fall short beside those happy shiny folks doting the spectacular sizzle reels (Google it) of their marriages (or relationships even though you’re the one with a ring) is because you’re comparing your life to their picture, and that’s not fair to your marriage.  Quite honestly, it’ll turn you a little schitzo in the process.

So here’s the deal.

“When most people enter marriage, they have only had an “up close and personal” view of a small number of marriages, perhaps only one (i.e., their parents’ marriage). Although you likely have known many married people throughout your lifetime, your vision of most marriages is limited to the images that the couples project to the world. You can never really know what another person’s marriage is like behind closed doors. Therefore, most people enter into marriage with gaps in their understanding of what marriage entails.”

― Christine E. Murray

Does that help you breathe easy a little? Good. Because it should.

Remember the point of life and marriage is to be rather than to seem. Click To Tweet

Ignore the pressure you feel for your marriage to look (and be) perfect because the thing that no one tells you is that perfection is not a destination but a journey. It’s a marathon; one that you’ll keep steady on for the rest of your life.

So don’t go measuring or comparing your life and marriage to any picture you see online. A photo can never measure or capture the weight of a life and yours is something. It might not always be Instagram flashy in the way some BRAVO reality TV celebrities flaunt theirs, but it’s good. So good! In fact, I’ll tell you why.

The Ever After And Real Romance

“Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”

― Ursula K Le Guin

You know, every single day since I got married, (about a month to our 4th year anniversary) and even long before quite honestly, I see the truth behind these words by Ann Voskamp: That real romance is sacrifice.

Romance in the happily ever after is really one long sacrifice. It’s not all La la la dreamy or the spongy gooeyness we associate with love. On the real, love actually tends to be messier, married life especially. Once you get married, your spouse has a front row seat to the flaws but even better, they have the chance to love you fully through them. Now that’s an epic.

If outsiders, honestly, really had an inside look at your marriage, they’d probably be bored to death at first glance. There tends to be nothing overtly fancy about love and marriage in the middle living once “I Do” is said and the picture is up and posted on social media.

But if you look closely, you’ll get it. There’s an unspoken glue and shine in the unseen, unposted life in marriage. In my case, I find that I love my husband more through the every day mundane and how he loves me through our routine bliss..

The truth is, spouses have more in-between loving to do than the big shows of love that dote about their lives. And to be honest, I’d pick everyday sacrifice for a fairytale over romantic overtures any day.

This quote sums everything up best.

We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things, all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it.  Your life will not go unwitnessed because I will be your witness’.”

― Beverly Clark, Shall We Dance Movie

Ain’t that the truth! So that’s my case about why real loving is in the unspoken, unposted quiet innuendo of the routine bliss that is happily ever after. And you know what, that’s some kinda fairytale.

PS: Disney knows this so they sum up the ‘loving each other through our routine bliss’ as ‘happily ever after’ otherwise the movie would never end. Now you know. And, you’re welcome!

xo,

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