Happily Ever After...and Then Some

Me and my prince charming at our Bahamas wedding

     Once upon a time there was a beautiful wedding. The princess married the dashing prince charming and they lived happily ever after.

     But that is not the end of the story as we are told. It is only the beginning. After the wedding, is the marriage. And the marriage means that there can be happily ever after...but it does not always look so happy. 

     I think I knew that but I'm not sure. Disney did not prepare me for that fact.

     Marriage is work. Rewarding work. Loving work. Worthwhile work. But hard work.

     Reality means any and/or all of  the following: jobs, too much work, not enough work, pressure at work, bills, doing taxes, screaming children, schedules, lack of time, lack of sleep, making dinner, dirty dishes, dirty toilets, dirty kitchens, dirty laundry, laundry to put away, laundry that needs ironing, laundry that did or did not make it to the hamper, sicknesses, cars that break down, disagreements, moves, deaths, baggage from the past, fears for the future...you get it. Stressors. Lots of them. Life is messy, literally and figuratively.

     In our own little fairytale, the stressors make us seem more like the evil queen rather than the lovely princess. And they make our prince charming more like the fire breathing dragon. So we get even more evil queeny and they get more dragony. And round and round it goes. We get angry, hurt, frustrated, aggravated, depressed, despondant, disillusioned and happily ever after seems far away.

     Happily ever after is not always sunshine, hearts, and smiles. It is not supposed to be. Regardless of the situation, two people commiting their lives to each other will encounter some level of struggle. 

     Fun, excitement, adventure, exhileration, elation...all good things. Important things. Easy things. But not the things that necessarily make a solid marriage.

     A happily ever after marriage is the commitment, patience, selflessness, support, encouragement, strength, and affection that grows between two people. And none of those things comes easily or without personal cost. Don't be afraid of the hard work. Don't insist struggle is wrong or needs to be avoided. In the tough times, happily ever after is not gone, it just looks different.

     I am not writing this because I am an expert on marriage. Or even because I am Superwife. I think writer Jen Hatmaker put it best, "I've learned a few things. Mostly the hard way. Sure, I planned on being a Precious Lamb Wife but I accidentally got a fiery personality and forgot to be darling." This speaks my truth. So much. I am no perfect little dear. Not even close. But I am learning, and working, and loving (here is more on that). And I know others are too. This post is just my fist bump of solidarity. We are all struggling, failing, getting up and trying again in our marriages, in our lives. And it is okay to admit it. 

I love this man. He is my knight. Even when we're not feeling smiley.


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