“Love is a dangerous game. Winners & losers, pleasure & pain.”–Love is a Dangerous Game, performed by Millie Jackson
When I was younger, falling in love was held up as the pinnacle of experience. I’m pretty sure it was the same for you as well. All of the fairytales we read or Disney movies we watched certainly said so. Everyone fell in love, got married, and lived happily ever after. In many people’s minds (specifically male people), marriage was an ending. Certainly, it was the end goal or end point. That’s where the story ends.
In thinking about it, I guess what this meant to imply was that all of the struggle was over. Before then, the main characters had survived poisonings, cursings, assasination attempts, verbal and emotional abuse, finding out they weren’t who they were raised to be (Sidenote: when you actually examine these things, fairy tales aren’t so fairy. Who in their right mind let us read/watch this as children?), etc. Dragons had been slain, curses lifted, shoes had fit. Most importantly, love had arrived. Anything after all of that would be rudimentary, nothing dramatic or important. These people had suffered enough just to find each other. They deserved for it to be smooth sailing after all of that.
I felt that way, too. I’ve dealt with a lot in my short life. Why shouldn’t everything after falling in love be a cake walk? (FYI: Cake Walk is actually a dance. There were competitions and everything. See Zora Neale Hurston’s play Colorstruck.) We go through so much to find the one we want to marry–bad relationships, poor upbringing, abuse, financial struggles, uncertainty, miscommunication–that falling in love, getting married, and staying married should be the easy part. Yet everyday we turn on the TV, surf the net, or open a newspaper that presents another study that shatters the “and they lived happily ever after” myth. How can so many people be so bad at choosing life partners?
I think that most of us have this subconscious notion that once we get married, we get “happily ever after.” Nothing is supposed to go wrong once we marry. We shouldn’t ever fight or argue again. We shouldn’t be attracted to anyone else. We won’t face financial hardships or clash over how to raise the children. In actuality, as one movie put it happily ever after is just the beginning.
Many people give up on their marriages today because things don’t magically become easier. They assume because their marriage is hard work this must not be “the one” for them. They assume that a successful marriage between two people meant to be together happens effortlessly, and if they have to work so hard, they made a mistake somewhere. Well, they did. The mistake is thinking it would be easy.
I like to think of the getting married as a beginning, not of happily ever after, but of a new phase of life, another rite of passage. Rites of passage tend to suck (random erections and getting your period, anyone?). They’re a rough transitional period, where you go from being one thing to another (in this case, from single to married). Even after the initial effects are over, there’s still an adjustment period as you figure out who you are and how you need to function in this new phase of life. Just when you succeed in getting a handle on that, you realize that you and your partner are always changing, and that you’ll always be behind the eight ball, never ahead of the curve.
It’s time that I was a bit more realistic about this whole love & marriage thing if I want it to work, isn’t it? This is the real change that needs to happen for marriages to work: myths need to be busted and perspectives changed on exactly what you’re signing up for.
So now that I’ve ruined happily ever after for you, all I’ve left to do is ruin your notions of love and soulmates before I can really begin my argument in earnest, yes? Yes.
*I think I may need to do a disclaimer for my site, LOL.*
That’s my two cents, anyway. Leave yours in the comment section, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell all your friends. 😀
All of this goes back to expectations and preconceived notions. I also happy to think that we have some “bad programming” on exactly what love is and what marriage is supposed to be anyway, but we’ll get back to that. I wanted to address this idea of perception.
- Love, Marriage, & Potato Chips (2blu2btru.wordpress.com)
- J.Lo Tells Vanity Fair Marc Anothy Was Bad For Her! (997now.radio.com)
- Jennifer Lopez says she still believes in love (entertainment.msn.co.nz)
- 25 tips to staying (happily) married for 25 years (magwunderlich.wordpress.com)
- So, there never was a fairytale? (scribblingsofasoccermom.com)