By David Joel Miller.
Why are there no happily-ever-after relationships around here?
In this collage of life, one recurrent theme is people’s search for that one ideal romantic relationship, the perfect person that will complete their life and make them happy.
The other side of that picture is the near universal failure of the romantic relationship to live up to our expectations.
Every day millions, soon to be billions, of people fall in love. Some for the first time, many for the umpteenth time. Always we hope this time will be different, this time we have found the one. The result of these repeating patterns has been that more than half of marriages end in divorce. More than ever people are getting into relationships without the benefit of marriage.
A generation has come to believe that the principle cause of divorce is marriage.
Why can’t we all have one of those story book romances where the prince finds his Snow White, Cinderella gets the glass slipper and the relationship of her dream and we all live happily ever after?
The truth is, ladies and gentlemen, that in the fairy tale the curtain always comes down on the magical moment when the couple begins their relationship full of expectations.
We never see the rest of the happy relationship story.
Cinderella, should she have children, and there is a high probability that she will, then she will find that life is not so rosy after being up all night with a sick child. What does that prince do, after a few dozen nights of coming home and finding his beloved in a vile irritable mood after a day of scrubbing and cleaning and caring for princelings?
Most likely he starts spending time trying glass slippers on other women’s feet.
The truth is that life is real and fairy tales are fiction. Real relationships take hard work. Some time spent up front making sure you know that other person and that you are on the same page can pay off on those long nights when things in your realm are not going so well.
Good relationships, like good gardens require work to maintain them each and every day.
In the real tale the price may not get promoted to king, even if he does there is that long period of struggle before he gets there. Cinderella can get awfully grumpy when she finds that being with the prince is not an escape from doing chores for the wicked step mother. A few years toiling over a hot fireplace can make the most charming Cinderella say things just like her wicked step mother used to say.
Nothing tests romance so well as having a sick child cover you with vomit. Notice in the fairy tales the problems all end with the wedding? In real life that is when they begin.
Fairy tales are about fantasy, marriage is real life and real life is hard work.
My advice, for all it is worth, is to leave the fairy tales in the books and movies and spend the time in your real life relationships doing the hard work of making your life something that is worth the effort that inevitable needs to be invested in that relationship.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books