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Happily Ever After?

Once upon a time there was a girl that dreamed of falling in love with Mr. Right and living happily ever after.

She grew up and met a boy. He was cute and funny, and they could talk for hours. They began spending a lot of time together and when they weren’t together, they were thinking about the other. She made him feel like a hero and he made her feel special. It didn’t take long for them to fall in love. Their wedding day was perfect, except for the rain.

In one way, love was as she’d imagined. It was exciting– like going down a steep hill in a fast car.

Yet there were things she hadn’t imagined. She hadn’t imagined Mr. Right having girls that were friends, and that a powerful green-eyed monster would roost on her shoulder, ready to bare her claws at the hint of another’s perfume. She hadn’t realized that she would want some time apart from Mr. Right every now and then, or that he would get so upset about it. And he left dirty dishes all over the place, and she wore sweats at home. At first these things were easily ignored, then they became annoying.

Their love life was also different than she’d imagined. Instead of passionately desiring each other all the time, they seemed to desire each other at different times. Why was he always interested on the nights she had to get up early the next day? And when he came home after working a double shift, why didn’t he care that she had been laying in bed imagining what they would do when he got home? And who knew you could do it too much and get tired of it? They never got tired of it on TV.

In spite of all that, her heart still raced every time she heard his key in the lock, or glimpsed his face across the table from her.

Then they had a baby and on the way home from the hospital he said, “I feel like I have to drive really carefully, because my heart’s not inside of me anymore. It’s there in that car seat.”

The baby filled their lives, almost crowding them out. He slept, cried, ate and filled endless diapers. They got little sleep, rocked him even though they were hungry, changed endless diapers and constantly told him how special he was. And baby spit-up constantly colored their clothes. And the baby did nothing for them in return, but grasp their fingers and gaze into their eyes. It was the most difficult and the most joyful time of their lives. That was as close to perfect love as they ever got.

Their baby boy grew up and had a little girl of his own. One day, she and her grandma sat looking at the wedding pictures taken on a rainy day fifty years earlier.

“Didn’t you get bored being married to the same man for so long?” the granddaughter asked.

“Sometimes,” her grandma said. “And sometimes grandpa got bored with me.”

“Then you must not have fought too much, or you could never have lasted this long.”

“We fought enough,” her grandma said. “And sometimes we hurt each other a lot.”

“Fifty years is a long time to work so hard. Why didn’t you find someone else who would make you happier?”

“Who said it was work?” her grandma asked. “If it was work, I’d have left a long time ago. Besides, no one else could have made me happier.”

“It sounds like a lot of work.”

“I guess it depends on your perspective. Love’s not always easy and if you think it’s work, it is. But trying to make him happy doesn’t seem like work to me.”

Her granddaughter sniffed. “Well, it sounds too hard. I’ll find the right man to make me happy and if he doesn’t, I’ll just look for another one until I find the perfect love.”

To her surprise, the older woman threw back her head and laughed. “Honey, you’re in for some disappointment. Love is perfect, but to love perfectly you need to find someone who is perfect. And then you need to be perfect yourself, because the bad things in relationships don’t come from love. They come from people. So unless you’re perfect, don’t expect your love to be perfect.”

And so ends for now, the topic of love I’ve explored in my the previous three posts. Feel free to contribute your thoughts on the subject.

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13 comments on “Happily Ever After?

  1. Very wise words from a woman who has lived long enough to know their truth. A beautiful story written beautifully.

    I found that love found me when I finally loved myself. Humans tend to muck things up, but when we keep our focus on loving ourselves and that special “something” in each other, the muck we raise is just fodder for laughter sooner or later–hopefully sooner. 😉

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words.

      My experience with love was the opposite of yours but it turned out the same. I didn’t love myself, but I loved my boyfriend (now husband).

      It was his love for me that helped me learn to love myself. But after I learned that, my love for him became much deeper and less selfish.

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  2. Once you realise there are different types of love and different stages of love, and that it ebbs and flows – then it all makes sense! Sort of! 🙂

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  3. Wiser words have never been spoken. Great post! A fitting end to a wonderful trilogy.

    I think nowadays we give up on love too easily. It is always an extreme- either we give up on it very soon or we take as much crap as is humanly possibly (and then some!) before we give up on it.

    Your post gives me hope. Perhaps, if we approach love in the right manner, it might just work.

    Thank you.

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    • Thank you, as well. I loved your post that started the whole thing.

      After I read it, I did a lot of thinking about love being the ultimate good, yet having so much pain and anger (and all the other negative stuff) that seems to go with it.

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  4. I have been married twice, and while each started out for the right reasons, each was a different reason. (To end speculation, my first wife died after 28 years. ) Time and age make the heart look at things differently. My first marriage was all you describe, but my second, almost half as long as my first, is all bliss. It has been so much easier and more rewarding. So, look not to the past but into the future. Married life is the art of keeping two individuals that each have their own path to follow together. That is the struggle, to allow some distance but not allow seperation.

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    • Time and age really do make the heart look at things differently. Our marriage is completely different now than when we started. I guess that’s one of the things that keeps it from getting too monotonous for too long.

      I’m glad that you’ve found happiness in both marriages. So many people don’t find it at all.

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  5. A great story, and really loved the picture at the end – perfect. Love. Quite the challenge, sometimes.

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  6. This is a great post Dawn, full of wisdom and insight. I read as slowly as possible because I enjoyed it so much. Lovely stuff

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