When It Comes To Failed Marriages, Perhaps Expecting a Fairy Tale Is The Problem
Fairy tales serve as a great means to teach us lessons when we’re children, but when we’re still expecting stories Disney brought to life when we were 4 to come into fruition when we’re 40, it might be time to ditch the make-believe, or at least readjust our expectations.
Today Jennifer Lopez and Casper Smart sat down with “Good Morning America” to discuss J Lo’s upcoming world tour with Enrique Iglesias (and their relationship) and the actress/singer/dancer said something that was very interesting to me.
Amy Robach asked J Lo if she would ever get married again and she said yes.
“For me, the biggest dream is the fairy tale and I will never give up on that,” she added.
On one hand it was refreshing in the time of people throwing out the 50 percent divorce rate as evidence no one should ever get hitched to hear someone who has been down the aisle three times say they still believe in marriage. On the other hand, I thought maybe the reason you’re other situations, i.e. marriages, didn’t work out is because you expected them to be fairy tales.
I’ve never been one for the whole idea of fairy tale romance, much like I never dreamed of being a princess on my wedding day. Those just weren’t ideas that were ingrained in my head as a child and I’m not sure whether that’s a bad or a good thing. I used to get teased by a friend in college every time I’d say something about the type of man I wanted to marry though. I can’t even recall what that description was at the time but she’d always blow it off and tell me I was holding on to some fantasy of a white picket fence alluding to the American dream of year’s past. Unfortunately, seeing that a man who embodied those characteristics wasn’t coming to me I abandoned a lot of those expectations and standards and admittedly went off the no-good-for-me deep-end, which certainly wasn’t a good thing, but holding on to fairytale-like visions of a matrimonial agreement is equally dangerous.
The only times I ever hear marriage referred to as a fairy tale is when I’m watching Lifetime or WE TV and listening to a woman who is longing to walk down the aisle—not someone who has already done it. No one I know personally has every described their marriage as a fairy tale. That isn’t to say that it’s not a happy union or that they’re not in love, fairy tale just isn’t a description of what it is and anyone going into what’s expected to be a lifetime commitment thinking that’s what it will be will likely be disappointed and find themselves changing husbands multiple times (J Lo) rather than changing their expectations.
What I have heard of marriage is that it’s work. Rather than having someone sweep you off your feet every day, you might have to hold the family down while your husband struggles to get back on his own two feet. In contrast to being wined and dined you may now find yourself making dinner for two every night after a long day of work when all you want to do is collapse. Instead of holding standard Saturday night dates, you may go weeks without any real quality time. Things that were so simple when you were dating become complicated by work schedules, shared bills, house issues, and children, and if you assumed these things would just fall into place without tough decisions and difficult discussions being had, then yes, by all means you did not attain the fairy tale. The thing is, no one does.
Fairy tales are just that, tales. Has anyone ever noticed how Disney movies and rom coms always end on the good note? It’s usually right when a couple gets together, is reunited, or jumps the broom. Of course everything is lovely then. It’s like celebrating graduation unemployed. After the festivities comes the real work of finding a job. Anyone can fall in love, anyone can get married, and anyone who has gotten to the age where they are legally allowed to be married should know no season lasts forever. The fairy tale part of your relationship and possibly subsequent marriage is temporary and will ebb and flow like anything else. If you’re expecting things to always be up, it’s not surprising that you’ll run when they’re down.
Fairy tales have a place in fantasies but when it comes to crossing the marriage threshold, expectations need to be based more on the reality of you and your soon-to-be spouse’s current situation, not some antiquated idea of what it means to be husband and wife that you’ve been holding on to ever since you saw Snow White and The Seven Dwarves (the first time, not one of the re-releases). It’s absolutely fine to still want to be catered to and find someone who induces butterflies in your stomach and makes your heart flutter and your knees weak , just know those feelings won’t last forever and they aren’t the makings of a stable relationship anyway. What will create a solid foundation is a man who is loyal, honest, trustworthy, reliable, dependable, responsible, who wants to honor his wife and their commitment and the children they choose to bring into the world. If you fantasize about finding that type of man and have the good fortune of him actually coming into your life, you could never be disappointed.
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