Is There Really Such a Thing as Happily Ever After?
I am truly fascinated by the institution of marriage- the ability to live, breathe and exist in the same space for so many years with the same person and find your happily ever after. So of course when I read a recent Huffpo article titled, How Many Marriages Actually End In Happily Ever After?, which essentially states that the majority of us "happily marrieds" are faking it, I felt it was incumbent upon me to defend this very fragile institution of marriage. The article posed the idea that most marriages fall under two categories; those who stay legally married but live completely separate lives and those whose husbands stick in it because of inertia, or for lack of a better term because their wives don't divorce them.
Of course I get it. As kids we are spoon fed ridiculous fairy tales some of which were conjured up by a man named Disney (who I might add was never married himself which begs the question- who the hell was he to tell anybody what happily ever after was supposed to be?!) and so many of us have a cockeyed view of what marriage and happily ever after is truly supposed to look like. While I am sure happily ever after varies depending on what country and culture you were raised in- the one characteristic that all these endings have in common is the FALLACY that there is such a thing as a marriage that's perfect, tied in a ribbon, and that doesn't require DAILY work. The truth is; marriage is the same as any other relationship you have, if you don't tend to it, it will simply evaporate.
While I can't speak for my husband, who I hope is not living out his years married to me in quiet desperation, I can say that my version of happily ever after at 25 and the one I now hold dear at 38 are vastly different. I think part of entering into this marriage contract is realizing that, during the course of your marriage, as a person there's a really good chance you will develop and grow- which no doubt will change your perspective on everything in life including your marriage. When I married my husband, he was a 40 -year old double board certified operating physician.
Almost 14 years later he has decided to hang up his stethoscope for good. Has his decision impacted what I perceived to be my happily ever after? In a way yes, not having that financial security which I thought was a given and was part of the happily ever after picture I'd painted at 25, was initially disconcerting. But his decision, and his need to grow and evolve and find his passion has also inspired me to dig deep and resurrect my goals that kind of took a backseat to his career. Ultimately, I think half the battle of maintaining your happily ever after in a marriage is realizing that it is FLUID, and that in a marriage, as life, throws you those unexpected curve balls- you will need to adjust your attitude and plan accordingly- which includes your version of happily ever after. And sometimes, when you least expect it, that happily ever after while perhaps not Walt Disney's version, can be almost as magical.
So how are you living your happily ever after?