The other day there was an article in the Daily Mail about a couple who’ve been together more than 80 years. In that time, they’ve barely spent a day apart and they say they wouldn’t have it any other way.
That’s the kind of fairy tale, once upon a time to happily ever after story you don’t hear very often.
Because it doesn’t happen very often.
Most of the time, relationships fail.
The sad truth of things is that those many-decades long happy marriages are few and far between. That kind of love and commitment don’t come easily to most people… and the world we live in today does all it can to make sure it’s not easy to even believe it can happen.
But right there, in full, living color (and some old black and white shots) you have Lionel and Ellen Buxton, smiling away and fondly remembering their six year courtship that started during World War II.
Over the years, I’ve met more than a few people with stories like that. I’ve met many more who are on their second or third divorce and have nothing but tales of terror and heartache.
What the Buxtons have is a rare thing. Near as I can figure, it’s at least one couple in a few hundred thousand (maybe one in a million) who easily fall into that “happily ever after” category. There are thousands more who, through a whole lot of hard work and stubbornness make things work for a good long time. And thousands more who just stay with who they’re with because they’ve given up on anything better. (That last group–not the healthiest or happiest people around, just FYI.)
Love is a risky thing.
Following your heart is dangerous. It opens you up to all sorts of pain, frustration, and disappointment. Heck, even getting to your heart in this day and age can be a difficult thing. Just like digging out your instinct, excavating your heart can be a Herculean task in and of itself.
Then you need to actually have the gumption to follow those instincts and feelings–even when they seem to be contradictory to what others would consider common sense. (Once you’ve put in the work, no one knows your own heart and mind better than you.) That, of course, will breed some confusion among peers and at times make for a bit of a lonely road you’re walking on.
Even acting on what you know is right isn’t a guarantee that it’ll work. After all, there’s another person involved and the chances that they’ve done all the same work and are ready to dive in like you are… slim, to say the least.
“Happily ever after” is one of those things that can only happen if you actually believe in it. You have to put in the hard work before hand–and, sometimes, during–your life in order to prepare yourself for it, to be open to it. That’s the only way you’re going to stand a chance.
When it does work, it can be forever.
If lucky enough to be in that one-in-a-million group like the Buxtons, well, you get your happily ever after.
And that… that should make everything else–every bump in the road, every strange look from friends, every rejection along the path–more than worth it.
So, start digging deep into yourself and decide what you really want. If it’s “Happily Ever After,” then get to work on it. If you’re okay with “not awful,” well, you’ve got a much easier path ahead of you. There’s plenty of that out there.
Personally, I’ve never been one to settle.