Sometimes, I don’t like fairy-tales.
While I do believe in forever, I don’t think couples just live happily ever after.
Just like that.
Like they won the Powerball jackpot and never have to work a single day of their lives again.
Just like that.
I’ve had a few friends go through painful break-ups.
Some were married, some were partners.
All were scarred by the experience.
Watching them, I’ve learned that the unraveling of a relationship is always two-sided.
No one should take the blame for everything, because no one is perfect.
[True, the failures of both sides aren’t always equal and balanced, otherwise the boat wouldn’t have capsized. And I have realized that often it is the side that claims innocence the most that is the one to watch. Denial is always a symptom of some deeper emotion.]
To keep a relationship going, both partners need to row, and row with all their might.
So, no real-life fairy-tales.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember I don’t live in Narnia. Or the Shire. But it is easy for me to remember fairy-tales only happen on the pages of a book.
There’s so much hard work involved, I don’t even know where to begin. To believe in fairy-tales is to dismiss the hard work every relationship needs to actually grow past the giddy promises we make to each other.
No, sorry, you don’t just instantly connect over EVERYTHING. There will be that one thing, or two. And that’s okay, because who wants to be with a clone?
I love to read. My hubby thinks, if a book is good enough, then someone will make a movie out of it. I usually detest movie versions. It doesn’t ruffle his feathers.
No, sorry, things don’t just fall into place. They fall into place because we nudge them that way. Or we push and break-our-backs-shove them into place. And even then they don’t always fit, so we learn to live without. It’s not our ideal, but we’ll make do.
When we were dating, he promised he’d do the laundry for life. He does, and I iron and fold.
The hubby loves to cook. So he cooks when he’s home, and I clean up. [I only cook when I have to, thank goodness!]
We parent differently, because we were raised in different homes. By trial and error (Sorry, kids!) we’ve fashioned a style that works for our family.
No, sorry, he’s not going to know exactly what you need, every.single.time. How do I know this? Because I don’t always know what he needs every single time either, and I can’t expect him to know better than I.
Granted, I’m predictable: flowers, the water, books, the mountains, sunsets, in open fields of wildflowers. But I’m quite contrary, and so I make things harder than they should be. I know myself enough to see this, and I’m honest enough to admit it.
And because we have kids…
Who’s going to wake up next? Who’ll answer that scared little voice at 3:00 am?
And that question the ten-year-old asked, about why he wasn’t invited to that party, well, should I answer or do you have a better one?
The kid failed a test, should we ground him or should we give him a pass, since we can’t even solve those questions ourselves?
I get up.
We figure out a way.
Me. Him. Us. Whoever can get the job done.
And then we rely on God’s grace to smooth off the rough edges of the results of our efforts.
And seventeen years later, it’s better than a fairy tale.
We aren’t just bit players who were swept up into a cotton candy universe.
We’re active players in the story of us.
And because of that, we’re so much better as a couple, and as individuals.
The story changes you.
I think that’s the main point.
I used to dream about this life.
I gave up so much so I can do what I have to do to help make it happen.
He worked so hard to get us where we are, and where we want to be.
Together, we’re an imperfect team relying on grace.
Dreams, after all, are just goals we pursue with passion.