I’m a helpless—almost hopeless—romantic. Perhaps it’s just the writer in me, but I’m practically in love with love stories.
While dating, I was constantly on the lookout for my own perfect, poetic love story—something that would knock the socks off of Shakespeare and inspire a blockbuster chick flick (or at least a book similar to The Princess Bride). I wanted one of those “dream come true” relationships—and I would not rest until I found one.
But then I got married…and I woke up to reality.
Turns out, marriage isn’t exactly a “dream come true”—at least not in the way I had imagined.
Instead of traveling the world, my wife and I travel to the supermarket, to work, and to school. Instead of battling foes that seek to divide us, we battle things like taxes and working overtime. Instead of a never-ending supply of adventures, we binge-watch entire seasons on Netflix.
But you know what? Marriage is better than my dreams—because it’s real.
I recently read this quote by Jenkin Lloyd Jones:
There seems to be a superstition among many thousands of our young who hold hands and smooch in the drive-ins that marriage is a cottage surrounded by perpetual hollyhocks, to which a perpetually young and handsome husband comes home to a perpetually young and ravishing wife. When the hollyhocks wither and boredom and bills appear, the divorce courts are jammed.
Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop. Most beef is tough. Most children grow up to be just ordinary people. Most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration. Most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. . . .
Life is like an old-time rail journey—delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.
In a similar way, married love is less like a drive down a perfect, flawless, scenic byway and more like an arduous hike through the Rockies. The hike is definitely harder and more uncomfortable, but reaching the summit is far more rewarding.
Since getting married, I’ve learned that love isn’t always fluffy, cute, cuddly, and perfect. More often than not, real love has its sleeves rolled up, dirt and grime smeared on its arms, and sweat dripping down its forehead.
Sure, our marriage may not be a “dream come true” swashbuckling adventure, but it IS facing our problems lovingly and honestly—together. And waking up to that reality is far better than any dream I might have.