Saying goodbye to prince charming – to live a real fairytale
Have you ever looked at other couples, feeling that they, contrary to your marriage, have it all together? That they are both fulfilled and happy, living a fairy tale marriage?
I have met couples who have looked perfect. I’ve looked up to them, they seemed to have it all together. Family, work, ministry, personal life, good looks. I aimed to live up to that perfection in my own life.
Then came the big blow in their lives: Divorce. Affairs. Depression. Addiction. Children who turned into adults with no bond to their family. Sometimes a mix of all of these things.
I felt devastated, knowing about it. How come? Why? From the outside, I didn’t see that coming!
Caroline leaf reminds us that:
We all have struggles. Some of us are more comfortable sharing them, some of us aren’t. Just because someone else’s life looks easier, better, or happier than yours, doesn’t mean it actually is. Never compare yourself against someone’s highlight reel.
This is especially true when it comes to marriage.
Today, I am at a place where I know very well, that, viewed from the outside, Benny and I look like this happy couple, who live a successful and loving marriage too.
He looks like a prince charming who found his princess, and together, we live happily ever after.
But well, our reality is very different too!
Different, because, contrary to a prince charming, I’ve got a “real” man. A man with flaws, imperfections and a unique perception of things that can be quite different from my own one. Different, because I’m not miss perfect either. I’m not that kind of Walt Disney Princess, flawless and beautifully sexy at every occasion. Real women can be pretty complicated and exhausting.
Contrary to a romantic fairy tale, he’s not that prince charming that saved me from my loneliness and a cruel stepmother. He’s not the one who offered me a life in palace without any challenges and worries. To marry Benny didn’t catapult me into a new identity or fulfill all my deepest heart desires, longings and wants.
He even can’t cover all my heart desires. He’s not someone who fits into the image of romantic movies or novels.
There is no prince charming. There is no happily ever after.
This is true for my life, and I know of no one who’s having it all together. I have heard of (and sometimes been close to) many a reality far from charming princes and fairy tales.
Today, I believe that a way to protect us from such a blow, is to realize that prince charming doesn’t exist. The images of “true” love pictured in romantic movies and novels aren’t reality.
Because real marriage is not about finding a prince charming and living happily ever after.
As Debra Filleta puts it in her amazing book “Choosing marriage”, Chapter 1:
“Marriage is not simply about your happiness. It is not even about you. It’s about unconditional love, which we chose to give time and time again. It’s about sacrifice, serving, giving, and forgiving, and then doing it all over again. (..)
When the cost of marriage becomes too great, we convince ourselves that we have nothing left to gain, and therefore nothing left to give.
It could be after a silly argument.
It could be a heated moment, when words have been said that can’t be taken back.
It could be in the middle of a misunderstanding.
It could be in an instant when trust has been broken.
It could be a time when your needs have not been understood.
But no matter what it is, there will be a moment when you are given the option of two choices: self or marriage: ME or WE. And in every single moment like this, a choice will have to be made. “
I know women and men who secretly mourn their former love. With the nagging idea that they would have a more fulfilling life with that other person. Or women and men who are susceptible to affairs because the image of a prince charming / sex goddess takes up a lot of space in their lives and they are aware that their partner has nothing to do with this wishful thinking.
But as Debra Filleta so impressively describes it: It’s not about us. It’s not about finding our prince charming or your sex goddess for men. It is not about your personal happiness. It’s not about living happily ever after in a perfect world.
It’s about so much more! It’s about real life. It is about discarding the ideal of my prince charming and fully accepting the person at my side. To see and appreciate this amazing, beautiful, unique person.
Living in a castle in the air will rob me of the reality that is here and now. But it is only here and now that I can write history.
Only in this way can I dive into a new, wonderful reality of my own personal fairy tale. A real fairy tale with Benny that is much more real than a prince charming could ever be.
Only then can we really work on our marriage. Decide to master challenges together. Every day we decide anew to love each other, and every day we learn to go more as a WE and less as a ME.