We are trained to believe in happy endings; boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, get married, have children, and live happily ever after. I love romantic movies with happy endings; who doesn’t, right? I love when two people fall hard for each other and overcome a significant hurdle in two hours or less. So romantic. But is this real life; is this our reality? Life has taught me a few lessons about love, and I have found a vast difference between what we were taught and what happens.
I overheard a conversation recently. A young lady was sharing her story about her life lessons on love. She has decided to walk away from her relationship because she was unhappy. She endured years of trying to place a band-aid on her failing relationship. Her parents were from the vintage that never separated no matter what. But this is 2022, and many women and standing up and taking back their power, and I am here for it. Her marriage produced two children, and she was a stay-at-home now with no income. He used his income as a weapon against her.
A Few Mistakes We Sometimes Make
She said it wasn’t always that way. They used to be in love, but she was on the rebound from another failed relationship and didn’t give herself a chance to heal. Her husband came along, noticed her vulnerability, swooped in, and said all the right things. Her only regret is the time she wasted, but she learned that the love he gave was the love she did not need. Starting over scares her, but she values her independence and is happily looking forward to her next chapter. This is an excellent example of happily ever after, I think.
Walking away is easier said than done if children are involved. Some parents choose to stay together for the sake of their children. I know children would prefer happy parents to parents masquerading in an attempt to cover their pain.
The Work of Happily Ever After
I think the narrative needs to be changed. Happily ever after does exist, but it comes with work, communication, compassion, selflessness, and a long list. I think sometimes we are guilty of rushing into relationships without healing from previous ones, without noticing the red flags, and without having serious conversations about money, extended family, religion, and so on. Sometimes, we check all those boxes, but there is still a shift. People can grow apart, and it’s no one’s fault; it just happens.
Life Lessons On Love
So how can we assure our happily ever after? Well, that’s the thing; we cannot guarantee it. We have to keep putting in the work. I remember hearing people speak of “the work of marriage,” and I never understood that. Why should marriage be considered work? I completely misunderstood. “The work” is the activities you do to keep the interest and the flame going. If there is nothing to salvage, walk away; run if you have to. Life is short, and everyone deserves to experience love in its purest form. The love that makes you want to stay makes the work seem as simple as breathing. If that flame is still going, kindle the fire; if the flame is waning and it is worth it, sit with your partner, discuss your feelings and get the help you may need. Happily, ever after does exist; it just takes work.
Comment below: what has your experience been with love? Let’s keep this conversation going.