When I was a child and teenager, I spent most of my time inside my head. I lived in a dreamworld where reality was distorted but safe. I read a lot of books as a teen, mostly romance which added to my delusive view of life. I was a sucker for fairy tales. Because of my low esteem and negative view of myself, I would imagine myself beautiful and my prince finding me beguiling. My dreams consisted of my true love scaling mountains and fighting dragons for me. The visions in my head kept me going and I was a sucker for any romantic movie. It led to inaccurate expectations of love and any future “prince” in my life.
Life has dealt our family several blows and it took a long time to really understand what love actually meant. Let’s face it. Life happens. You have bills to pay and some can be very high. At least one of you will have to work. You may have to as well. As children enter the picture, your focus is on them. After awhile, the man you married no longer is riding in on that white horse. Instead he comes home from work in a beat-up pickup and flops his dirty sweaty body onto the lounge chair demanding when dinner will be ready. You might have just came home from a job yourself but you are focused on the evening meal, the children’s homework, etc. etc. Till you actually have time to relax you are too tired to even enjoy it.
In 2008 I was diagnosed with cancer. It involved a lot of “gross” things I was not comfortable with. One of them was flushing my port in my arm. I do not have the stomach for anything that has to do with something foreign entering my body. (You should see me at the eye doctor….. then again, maybe it is good you can’t!) The thought have having to deal with this thing stuck in my arm was nauseating to me. I knew I would either pass out or throw up…… so Norm stepped in and flushed the port every day. He also cleaned up after me when the chemo made me sick. A few years later when he became ill from diverticulitis, the roles were reversed. I stepped in for him.
I don’t know if romance has made me a cynic or a realist. I do know, however, that there is not always a happily ever after, at least in this life. But marriage changes things. It either kills the relationship or makes it stronger and it is constantly changing. It can be hard. Challenging. But also rewarding.
People get married expecting every night a clean shaven man will sweep the woman off her feet after discovering she has prepared him a sumptuous meal. He’ll bring her flowers and she will have the wine ready. When you discover it is not, that is when you find out what LOVE really is.