Happily Ever After

By Tin Bartolome

Posted at Nov 13 2015 01:43 AM

Fairy tales usually end with “… and they lived happily ever after”. It has been said countless times that this does not happen in real life. I believe it’s possible, but with so much hard work. And it takes two to make it happen.

Referring to the words “I love you”, Marriage Encounter says “In order to unleash their full power, we must do away with three other little words: I, me, mine, and put these three little words in their place: we, us, ours.”

This is essential for the happily ever after we all want, yet so difficult to do. We were built to be defensive, keep ourselves safe from others—it’s instinctive. And this is what we need to change if we want to accommodate another person in our lives, in marriage. We need to remove all those defenses and allow that person in.

But it does not end there because it would need to be nurtured and endlessly maintained. We go through transformations until that important person finds a permanent place in our hearts—and our lives.

When I met my husband, I was pretty sure I would grow old alone. I was going out, dating and enjoying myself because I felt I wanted something to smile about in my old age. I went through difficult relationships and swore I was done. Somehow, he was able to convince me to try one more time. He told me that if I was not willing to do so, I should stay away from him and give him the chance to get over it. Of course, he too had his own painful past.

Somehow, though, we found ourselves getting hitched and starting a family. It was not easy at all. One of the things that kept us together was our willingness to do whatever it took to raise healthy, happy children. He was so enthusiastic about being my childbirth coach and later, breastfeeding helper.

Whatever our Lamaze instructor said, he followed. He bought and read books on childbirth and breastfeeding, even volunteering himself as breastfeeding counselor, promising to answer calls even in the wee hours of the morning. He would get up at night and change diapers, wash them and sing to our babies. When they were old enough, he would carry them on his shoulders and pretend they were dinosaurs.

We never imagined how difficult it would be to raise children. It was something we knew we had to do but had no idea how to pull it off! Having children never figured in “happily ever after” endings. It seems as if we have accepted that fairy tales and real life are opposites, yet we yearn for the happily ever after, praying and hoping it will happen in our lives.

We will be celebrating our thirtieth year soon and we are still pursuing our “happily ever after”. I guess the only time it becomes impossible is when one of us gives up and convinces the other to do the same.

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