As I got older, I started to realize that maybe the perfect man wasn’t a reality, but I still believed that the happily ever after part could be the ending of my own story.
After dating my high school sweetheart for 5 years, I finally experienced the moment I had been waiting for; my would-be husband asked me to marry him.
Elated, I spent the next two years meticulously planning my wedding. It was organized and executed with precision, and took over my days with details and my nights with dreams. I could not wait to be married and start the perfect ending to my very own story.
What I never realized, was that the wedding was really just the beginning. After the perfect wedding and a magical honeymoon, the entry into “happily ever after” came with a small snag; how do you achieve it?
In all of the stories I clung to so tightly when I was a child, it ends with a wedding. “Happily ever after” just happens. But in the realities of real life, when there are bills to pay and schedules to navigate and two people trying to weave together life stories, marriage doesn’t always come together in a picturesque way.
My husband and I navigated some very rough waters in the first two years of our marriage. There were underlying issues in our relationship that nearly broke us. We were not fully prepared for the work that would lie ahead of us when we placed rings on each other’s fingers.
Eventually, we began to figure out that maybe our happily ever after didn’t exist in the realm of fantasies and movie scenes. Maybe, our “happily ever after” existed in the very small details of every day. We would have to try harder, forgive more, and overlook less.
Our happily ever after doesn’t live in a fairy tale. It lives in a life full of schedules and demands of a toddler and dirty dishes and laundry. It lives in the world of long work days and sleepless nights. It exists in the amazing gift of our son, who gives us a daily reminder of the very best parts of ourselves. It lives in the exciting monotony of daily living.
Our happily ever after has become a gentle dance of taking care of our house, each other, and our son. We have learned to find romance in stolen glances and late night sways to the lull of the dishwasher. I have found my husband’s love in the way he bakes a cake on a random Monday night, just because I said I wanted some. He may find my love hidden in freshly washed sheets or notes on the chalkboard.
Our romance is not displayed with roses and chocolates and our happily ever after is not as perfect as the couples who ride away in the sunset in the movies. But if you look closely, you will see glances between us and hands that find each other in the familiar act of walking side by side. You will see the pride and admiration we wear as we care for our son and relish in the luxury of being a family. You will see our happily ever after, ever so slightly tinted with the hue of real life.
About the Author
Julia Hembree is a full time mommy who thrives on Starbucks, chocolate, and toddler hugs. When she is not chasing after her rambunctious toddler or sneaking in some time with her husband, you can find her blogging at elatedexhaustion.com, playing around on Twitter @juliahembree, or posting pictures on Facebook www.facebook.com/