Ever after, part 1.

September 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

ac4caebc98bd1884_wedding_cakes_toppers_bCommitting your ever-after when you are young, and still learning how to be yourself, is exuberant, breathless, optimistic.

Fueled by romance and hormones, but only a partially-formed understanding of the self you are offering each other, you walk off the cliff together with absolute faith in flight.

To give it much thought would mean you weren’t really in love.

The decision to commit is made mostly outside the realm of rational thought anyway. This is the body’s best shot at immortality, and so it looks for a partner with physical traits that predict healthy, attractive children.

The body is less concerned with character or smarts—and a body that has decided, it’s time, floods the brain with endorphins, ensuring that a willing blindness takes over.

No one has ever been as funny, attractive, attentive, sympathetic as this guy!

So what if he can’t keep a job. He just hasn’t found the right one yet.

So what if he drinks. He’ll change for me.

The wonderfulness of this perfect person eclipses not only that perfect person’s shortcomings, but everything else as well.

No interest or practical thought can compete with being in love.

But in the fine print of the contract called marriage is a complex set of promises:

I will change and grow in tandem with you, or be supportive of the changes you make without me.

I promise to understand and love you even when those traits I so willingly overlook now become an annoying part of every single day.

I’ll be kind to your dreams although they make no earthly sense.

Go bald, get sick, lose your job. I will stick by you no matter what comes.

Over time love goes from being a cake with thick white frosting to a hearty, sustaining loaf of bread–or it passes its pull date and has to be tossed before it stinks up the joint.

Time reveals whether the person you’ve married merits the devotion that long love—now a flightless bird—requires.

How does the transition from crazy-hot to enduring love happen?


Little by little, romantic love is normalized. With laundry to do and bills to pay, gazing into a lover’s eyes quietly slides lower on the to-do list. Survival requires that we give the rest of life breathing room.

Shortcomings ignored by romantic love are acknowledged and accommodated. Respect, kindness and friendship grow. So does doggedness. In hard times long love hangs tough.

The journey from love-at-first-sight to the quiet pleasure of growing old together is one of life’s best.

Marry the right person (warts and all) and the lessons needed to become a good, fully realized human being often begin with the words, “I do.”


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