I believe in fairy tales. For the past 34 years I’ve been living in one.
Hear me out: I don’t go around telling people they must live a fairy tale because I do. Not everyone even wants one.
Some people want conflict–and by conflict I mean out-and-out fighting, arguing, screaming, belittling. Hatefulness. I can’t imagine why people would thrive on such things, but I understand not everyone thinks like I do and I’m willing to consider that some people might like that kind of “spice” in their marriage. I like spice. I don’t like meanness.
My husband has never said an unkind word to me. We’ve been together since I was 15 and for the longest time I wouldn’t even mention that little fact because I didn’t fancy people laughing in my face. And I have had people tell me flat out that they don’t believe me. I’ve grown to be okay with that. I no longer worry about whether or not people believe it, because I’m living it and in the end that’s what matters.
I’d like to say I’ve never spoken unkindly to him. I can say I’ve never intentionally been mean to him. I’ve been frustrated (as I’m sure he has been with me) and on occasion (especially at “that” time of the month) my tone hasn’t been as gentle. But it isn’t in my heart to hurt him.
We’ve never intentionally wounded one another. Believe it or don’t.
We don’t have to wound one another to have a spicy marriage. We decided long ago that playful imaginary fighting was much more fun and less damaging. It also fits right in with the goofball atmosphere we’ve always maintained in our family relationships–an atmosphere that still exists today among our family that has grown to include us and our five and their beloveds plus some grandloves. It’s working for us.
While I’m at it, I may as well go for broke and toss out a few more myth-busters:
- There has never been a moment when I have wondered why I married him.
- I have never “awakened one morning wishing we weren’t married”.
- Our passion has never “cooled and settled into something less fiery”.
- We have never “grown apart” or “realized we don’t really know one another”.
- We have never had regular date nights.
- We mutually placed our children as a high priority and it didn’t ruin our marriage.
- We co-slept with our babies and toddlers and practiced extended breastfeeding and it didn’t quash intimacy in our relationship.
- We were firmly attached to our children and it didn’t negatively affect our attachment to one another.
- We practiced intuitive parenting as a team that included firmly enforced guidelines.
- We are growing old together, completely crazy about each other, and are approaching an empty nest without fear.
When I say I’m living a fairy tale, I’m not bragging. I’m not gloating. I’m not thinking I’m better than anyone else. Who am I to deserve this? I am fully aware that I don’t, and I am more grateful than I could ever express for the grace that brought this magic into my life all those years ago and has sustained it all this time.
When I say I’m living a fairy tale, I’m not asking you to encourage me. I’m not even asking you to believe me. I’m just saying please don’t be mean.
Please stop trying to make it seem ridiculous, or less than real, or even outright wrong. I won’t ask you to live it, and I won’t tread on your choice of relationship style–even if I don’t understand it. Deal?
If I might be so bold as to ask one favor, it is this: Please don’t trade off any possible notion of living a real-life fairy tale by normalizing an erratic, conflict-ridden, it’s-all-about-me existence. Understand that fairy tale doesn’t mean perfect. It means walking through conflict with kindness and concern for the other. It means taking the blows life dishes out as one unit and facing it all together with one heart. It means loving, no matter what.
I never mean to boast. I only mean to encourage. This is a beautiful thing, and the truth is I wish everyone could know this joy.
Living a fairy tale is not trouble-free, nor is it repulsive. It is a blessing we embrace with one heart full of gratitude and hope. Before you knock it, you might want to give it a try.
You might discover a wish you never expected your heart to make.