A friend of mine and I went to see Cinderella a few years ago. The new, live action one.
It was a lovely film, I thought. Really well done. And the message in it was a good one: have courage and be kind (even when your father dies and you are left with a slave driving step-monster and her two spawn) They shoulda used that one as their slogan.
I was pondering this idea of such dedicated kindness in the face of adversity as we left the theatre when my friend let out a long sigh. Looking wistfully into the clouds she dreamily wondered, “Why isn’t all love like that?”
I kind of chuckled. Having been married almost 2 years myself at the time, I already knew the answer. I stopped walking and turned to her.
“Because they don’t show you what happens after the marriage. They aren’t showing you what happens when Prince Charming leaves his dirty socks on the floor.”
At the time I didn’t think of expounding on that statement. It’s difficult to explain to people how things are not what they seem. And they definitely aren’t the way movies portray them.
Nobody talks about the clumsy dating of teenagers. How when you shared your first kiss, you probably bumped noses.
Or missed completely.
Or thought they were going in for a kiss and were actually staring at the spinach stuck in your teeth.
How about the wedding night? Talk about awkward. Its not all rose petals and sparkling cider. Especially when both of you have a stomach bug.
And then forget the wedding, how about the first month of marriage? When you learn you like to sleep with the fan on and it dries out your partner’s nose and makes them hack up a lung every morning. Mm, sexy.
Infatuation–those butterflies–soon settle down in your stomach. Now it’s not external forces, such as family, friends, or even location, that you are determined to overcome together… Now the battle is internal. You have a new enemy. His name is Familiar.
Also lurking under the aliases: Comfortable, Lazy, Indifferent, Casual.
My sister and her best friend always said when they got married they would wake up each morning before their husbands in order to have teeth brushed and face made before their husband saw them.
Familiarity is not necessarily a bad thing.
I, personally, am relieved to no longer get queasy waiting for my husband to respond to a text message. Those minutes used to be agony.
But in the early days of a relationship you see everything through the haze of infatuation. Plus, your new “love-interest” in on their absolute best behavior.
Oh, isn’t that cute, he’s always five minutes late.
Football? Oh, I looooove football.
Teehee–he forgot to put the seat down.
Okay, that one was a little over the top. But in the beginning everything this person does it just wonderful and exciting. Later, however, in the context of your marriage, it becomes an eye-twitching issue.
We are always five minutes late to everything! Can’t you wake up earlier?!
No, I am not watching football, again! Just record it!
CAN YOU PLEASE STOP LEAVING THE SEAT UP??
Infatuation is not love.
Love is sacrifice. Love is compromise.
Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not easily angered.
Your husband (or men, your wives) will often do things that are irritating. They will leave the cap off the toothpaste and their dirty socks next to the hamper. They will be late. They will forget to take out the trash and turn on the dishwasher. They will burn dinner or forget you don’t like pickles on your sandwich.
But more importantly:
They will tell you how beautiful you are. And make your coffee in the morning. And give the kids a bath. They will praise your strength and lock eyes with you in a crowded room. They will bathe the dogs and buy you flowers. They will come home early when you’re sick with two different kinds of blue Gatorade to make sure they got the right one.
Love is not butterflies.
It is so, so much more.