Professor's House

Marriage Doesn’t Always Have a Storybook Ending

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to pretty much figure out what the Hollywood ending of most movies, sitcoms, or television shows is going to entail. In fact, just the other day while watching Water for Elephants, I heard a 9 year old pretty much predict the harmonious outcome that would be the ending. One of the reasons that Gone with the Wind, has been so acclaimed throughout the years is because the ending between Rhett and Scarlet was so shockingly against the grain of Hollywood endings. Every person wanted, assumed really throughout the entire story, that the two of them would end up together and never expected Rhett to storm out of the house and say, ‘Frankly my dear I don’t give a damn,’ ending the love story with a broken heart rather than love.

You have to wonder if this is almost the problem with so many people today. You start in a relationship like you are a character from the motion picture Fast and Furious, and the two of you spend nearly every second of your time together. Lying in bed and talking, making love as often as possible, holding hands and kissing and feeling like the two of you are lost inside a love cave all your own seems to blur the reality. And the reality is that most marriages don’t have a storybook ending. In fact, most end much like the story between Rhett and Scarlet did, with an angry goodbye and a broken heart.

Obviously, the main stream media today knows how many of us are suckers for love stories. Watch any box office hit whether it is directed for love stuck teens like the Twilight movies or literary adults such as Water for Elephants, and you get the pattern. If it was going to be about broken hearts and the end of love, most people wouldn’t sit through it. After all, who wants to revisit the calamity of feelings that come with a broken heart? You want to see the happy ending. The marriage and the happy kids. The old couple rocking on the front porch after 62 years of wedded bliss. You want to see the couple make up after cheating, and fight for one another even if it takes their own death to win the war.

Nobody wants to see people breaking up, or fighting or being unable to work things out. (Unless of course it’s a comedy) Or not talking, or not making love or feeling frustrated at the sheer sight of one another. No one wants to hear how hard it is to raise kids and keep a house with someone else. You don’t want to watch a television show that is as stressful as your own life. This is precisely why you don’t see the reality out there. But often, what actually happens in life and in marriage is the opposite of what you dream.

The problem is that according to statistics, more than half of us will assume the later fate. And even if you get married and stay married, few people actually report happy marriages. This is pretty dismal information in a world that glorifies love and growing old together especially because it seems to rarely happen these days. The statistics alone tell us something that the heart refuses to believe. Love is not forever, and love doesn’t always last. In your lifetime, you may fall in love many, many times and out of love just as many. And this is okay!

It is important to be realistic (notice pessimistic was not mentioned) going into a relationship. The truth is that you can fantasize about many things, but making them a reality takes a lot of hard work. Marriage, jobs, children, growing up, family pressures, and the added responsibilities of adult hood can change you and your partner. Your goals will eventually have to move from love making every day to somehow communicating and finding the best in one another. Your married love will also have to learn how to look past selfishness, idiosyncrasies, and other irritating things about your partner that in the beginning you never knew existed. People do not talk about this stuff in the movies, or warn you about it beforehand because the truth is you would not listen. Just like you wouldn’t knowingly spend your time watching a motion picture or reading a book that you know is going to make you super sad and heart broken. Love, and making marriage last is a lesson that each and every person has to learn to their own. And sometimes, the lesson is simply that you chose the wrong person or that married life isn’t quite as beautiful, exciting, and romantic as you dreamt it would be.

At some point, you have to let the illusion of love the one created by Hollywood and other entities go. Instead, decide that you want your life to be full of the kind of love that works for you. And hold your relationship to a standard that comes from reality rather than from some motion movie picture.

Keep in mind that the illusion of love and the romanticism of relationships in general are meant to entertain us and to keep up believing in the dream. If your relationship or marriage comes to an end, and is closer to what Rhett and Scarlet went through rather than a Cinderella story believe that you have lived and loved and learned, and that more love awaits you.

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