I do… believe in true love. I’ve always felt an intrinsic sacredness about the idea of exchanging vows with another being. Cinderella got Prince Charming. Snow White, Ariel, Mulan, Belle, and Rapunzel got their man. Then Buttercup and Westley took my notion of romantic bonding to a super glue level. Entwined in this life journey by the side of an ardent lover has been a wish about which I’ve blown many a birthday candle. Copious shooting stars have my desirable marriage dreams tattooed upon their tails.
Once upon a teenage summer, a young woman fell madly in love with a young man. She was frolicking at a fancy family summer retreat. He was working up his tan and his personal pocketbook teaching tennis to boys. One lake separated them. The same lake brought them together. She and her sister sorted a double date with him and his brother. She was beautiful. He was handsome. She felt sparks. He had eyes mainly for his future career. He took off to college. She had two years to go. But she couldn’t forget him. She enrolled in the same college and her pursuit was on. His focused remained when he furthered himself graduate studies. She involved her sister in tracking him down to plead her devotion. He was a good catch. She won dum-dum-de-dum. This couple is my parents.
I thought marriage was a forever game. Everything I ever wanted in a relationship was based on the partnership I believed my parents had. I loved their love story. I crushed on the sweetness of how, where, and when they fell in love. I built their affection into my own tale fit for the pages of a bedtime story for the ages. We ate as a family. We swam as a family. We snuggled our many cats as a family. We celebrated holidays as a family. We traveled wildly and wondrously as a family. We mingled with many other families. We were a family. Then ‘we’ got divorced.
I don’t recollect knowing or talking about divorced people until I was in college. Likely I was living in as much fantasyland as there was fairytale dust swirling in my heartcore. Fairytales are superb for dress up, costume parties, and things like Halloween. They are squooshy love bombs for making out as a teenager, swapping poetry musings, or cranking the music dial all the way up because you’re ready to explode with excitement because that special someone is into you. Yet, fairytale lasting love stuff isn’t the contemporary standard as much as I always wanted it to be. Statistics show couples growing apart in lieu of growing together.
What’s become of the sacredness of vows? How do so many agree to say “till death do us part” and wind up reneging? Why aren’t people taking this ultra commitment relational union as seriously as I still ponder it to be? Maybe this simply modest me in the dark because I’ve yet to scratch the surface of engagement and marriage. I take coupling very seriously. I admit I’ve failed many times, and quite miserably, ferociously, even publicly at times. I’ve been a mess at mirroring the Princesses with their Princes I so admired. I’ve therapied my way through my Prince Charming inclinations. I’ve learned white horses are real, but Princes riding onto my personal world pavement to scoop me upon one with them and whisk off with me into the sunset while making out is best laid for a kettle corn infested couch potato evening with a date at best.
My parents seem better for their choice to live and love apart from one another. My journey traversing my initial love of their love and my letting that go too has launched a level of friendship intimacy for me with each of my parents. For all the growing apart I splattered and crashed my way through in my own intimacy orbit, I’ve grown in loving spirit to define the joy and appreciation qualities I think will make me a divine partner with my man given the fateful day we are able to still meet. My time’s not up yet!
I think we’re suffering a failure to fairytale correctly. I truly felt for much of my first twenty years or so that a serious love relationship should be as dashing as the very Prince Charming’s I’d been drooling over my entire young life. We’re lacking intimacy instruction. We’re left to learn communication skills largely via media instead of parental or familial mentoring. Deep questions aren’t usually encouraged in most homes. Think back to all… and I mean ALL… the many things you wanted to know, understand, ask, and seek as a child. There’s a lot about love and loving caught in that atmosphere. But I’ve not seen relationship or love courses added in secondary schools. Without proper context, we set ourselves up to manifest broken promises of the highest regard — one’s word. I was raised to be as good as my word. I want to be that respected and true… to me and to my beloved.
Fairytale inspiration present day for me looks a bit like the formerly acutely eclectic Abbot Kinney stretch of Venice Beach gone gentrification. Where once there was a cast of historically unique personalities weaving together building dreams of a brighter future all for one, I find I have to dig through a bit more commonality to locate the refined gems. Promises in love seem to appear as frequently as rare gemstones. Conscious uncoupling, amicable endings, and mellow mediation aside, the dissolution of marriages is as frequent in my periphery as the number of original marriages themselves. Then again, it’s possible this is merely a case of my circles of life. To that end, I’ve been seeking a greater bevy of friends leading the most authentically loving lifestyles. I note the stronger the will to walk one’s truth the less havoc results in storming through castles of others lives. When one is dialed in with their partner fully, I see far less effort to take down family structures, act out indiscretions, or undermine the dignity of the relationship.
All the while, I hold inside me a vision for belief in my own modernistic Princess Bride-muse fairytale romance becoming truth one day. In the meantime, I keep notes about my favorite couples tucked into my journaling. The fact that I know best friends, mentors, teachers, leaders, and others who inspire me through their testament of loving and growing together defines my fairytale faith. These are people pairings who weather, are willing and wanting to weather, one another’s storms for the love is that pure and true. I want to be on their same cutting-edge in-crowd of making marriage the new black… for all the right reasons.
May Romeo and Juliet eat their hearts out over the inspiration of loving this world can create!