I hate what Hollywood has done to marriage. No, I’m not blaming California for the breakdown of the family unit. Rather, I am blaming them for unrealistic expectations.
While the occasional fairytale romance is honeysuckle sweet, the chronic fairytale becomes sickly sweet.
Every Hollywood Romance is the Same.
Boy meets girl (or boy meets boy or girl meets girl. Whatever creams your Twinkie). She comes from a rich family with old money. He is a hardworking man whose fought his whole life. The were not made for each other, but they are a perfect match. Her family doesn’t approve of this scoundrel of a man. He is just trying to make his daddy proud. Big fight ensues. Hearts are broken. They go their separate ways.
Serendipity plays her hand and their paths cross again years later. Even after a significant loss of time, their love is still as strong as ever. [insert spectacular display of affection here]. They get married, have babies, and live happily ever after.
Where is My Happily Ever After?
I have been married nearly 10 years now and I have yet to see my “happily ever after”. Don’t get me wrong, we are happily married, but there is no fairytale here. No relationship is a fairytale.
I believe we have been forced fed the idea of a perfect fairytale marriage so frequently that we have convinced ourselves marriage should be perfect. Then, when these notions are not satisfied, we give up. We tell ourselves it was his/her fault that the marriage dissolved. If only they were more romantic or attentive or loving. It’s their fault for not being who I want them to be.
Marriage is a compromise of partners.
While the break down of a marriage due to the actions of a single person can happen (such as an abusive partner), it is rare. Marriage is a partnership made up of compromise and shared responsibility. You hold just as much authority over the failure of the relationship as you do the success.
Open your eyes and lower your expectations.
As I have talked about in my post, Don’t Marry The Man You Want , you have to understand that you marry the person you meet — not the person you wish them to be. If you married a person who is as romantic as a wet sock, you have to accept that. Don’t expect them to surprise you with the spontaneity of a date night filled with dark chocolate, rose petals, and candle wax. If you want those things, you’re going to have to specifically ask your partner for them. Is it romantic? No. But it isn’t your partner’s fault that a dust bunny has more horsepower in their engine than they do. It’s just who they are. Rid yourself of the expectations of who you think your partner should be, and open your eyes to the person who is standing in front of you. Sure, they are a stick-in-the-mud who will never slow dance with you in the rain, but maybe they cook dinner every night or refill the toilet paper roll holder. It’s those small gestures that show you that your partner cares. Anyone with money can buy diamonds and flowers. You can dance with a stranger any given Saturday night at your local bar. It takes someone special to make your mashed potatoes just the way you like them.
Know Your Weaknesses
Every relationship has a weakness. My husband and I cannot work together — at all. If we were kidnapped by serial killers and locked in a house with our only chance at survival was to work together, we would die. No doubt. Yesterday we had to swap out my daughter’s old dresser with her new one and it’s a shock that we didn’t try to crush each other with one of them. At first our lack of teamwork bothered me. I believed everyone should work well with their partner. However, I was wrong. Just like with every relationship you will have in your life, there will be weaknesses. No one can be everything for you. Find your weakness and either work on it
or crush your spouse with a dresser or accept it. Having a weakness in your marriage doesn’t mean your marriage is weak. It just means you are normal.
It’s Grand to be Small
We have to stop living in a fairytale world. Real marriage is anything but. Chances are, your partner isn’t going to build you that dream house with a wrap around porch. In reality, you already have one mortgage to pay, a car loan, a credit card bill, two or more children, student loan payments, utility bills…you see where I’m going with this? You will have priorities that your dreams will take a backseat to. If you want to be happy, stop expecting grandiose gestures. You have to learn to live in the moment and appreciate the small things.