I’m no expert, but if I could go back and tell my newly married self one thing, it would be that fairy tale marriages only exist in storybooks.
Out here in the real world, there is no such thing as pixie dust or enchanted spells or fairy godmothers. Happily ever after is more than just a magic coach ride into the proverbial sunset.
Have you noticed how fairy tales always stop cold on the wedding day? I’m sure that’s intentional. There’s the build-up of the initial romance and then the beautiful ceremony . . . but not all the days that follow are quite as glamorous. The days that stretch out beyond the wedding are filled with all kinds of stuff, but not always the stuff dreams are made of.
I mean, would we really want to see Prince Charming lend an unsympathetic ear to Cinderella’s tears after her long day at the office and cooking a dinner that half of those at the table only complained about? All while dealing with PMS?
And who would really be interested in watching Cinderella nag at Prince Charming to fix the tub drain or help more with the kids or at the very least pick up his dirty laundry?
That’s what real life is for, am I right?
Fairy tales have a place, but their place is in a storybook with pretty pictures to be read at bedtime to little girls hoping for sweet dreams.
Fairy tales don’t belong out here.
Out here they give false hope, distort reality, and inflate expectations for those of us who are feeling rather faint of heart.
Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of room for enchantment in real life. Everyone needs a little magic now and then. But you don’t get a magic coach ride into the sunset without a few misunderstandings and disappointments along the way. Life doesn’t work that way, and neither does marriage.
Those dirty socks on the floor? That annoying habit of always running late (some people!)? Those feelings of discouragement, isolation, and frustration?
IT’S ALL PART OF THE FAIRY TALE.
We are the heroes/heroines of our own real-life fairy tales. When we accept the not-so-glamorous parts along with the head-in-the-clouds, starry-eyed parts, we start to recognize the true and lasting beauty of the personal stories we are creating.
When my husband and I were only a few years into this whole marriage thing, we still expected an occasional magic coach ride and plenty of proverbial sunsets. Whenever we encountered those enchanted moments, we would think our marriage was going strong; but every time we ran into a glitch (which was actually pretty often), we would begin to wonder if we had what it took to see this thing through.
It wasn’t until years later – years of working together through sick kids, paying bills, dividing housework, and even an occasional bout of sheer nastiness – that we really began to realize the width and breadth of our own enchanted fairy tale. We started to demand less and appreciate more. We learned what it meant to overcome. We learned what it meant to truly love.
So we rolled up our sleeves and started working on our very own happy ending.
Because we all know happy endings are not for the faint of heart.