The idea of Happily Ever After has taken some hits in literature both fiction and research over the last two decades. Your inability to experience the Happily Ever After you hoped for doesn’t mean happiness isn’t a possibility in your relationship.
Feeling happy isn’t a state you can arrive at and stay in, unless you opt for a delusion. Happiness is fleeting but the transient nature of bliss comes back as quickly as it leaves. The fleet may go out to sea but it returns home again just as often.
The mistake I see couples make happens in the conceptualization of Happily Ever After. Imagine yourself on your wedding day. You are looking into the eyes of the person who just said, “I Do!” You feel a rush of joy. You are amazed at how smart the person standing next to you is for signing up to go on this journey with you. What your partner doesn’t know is that he/she just signed up for your mental picture (conceptualization) of happiness, at least you think so.
Since you were a child you have been deluged with pictures, songs and stories that have helped you create a vision of what a happy life as an adult will be like. Then you build this ideology from age 5 (or younger) through to your day of marriage (if being married is part of your plan). That plan, your big happiness plan, is your best ability to conceive of how to be happy. It’s probably a good plan. What you haven’t thought through yet is that your partner has an H.E.A. plan too, which she/he believes will create just as much future bliss as your plan (maybe better).
So, the day you marry, both of you are delighted that you “got” someone to sign up for your Happily Ever After. How lucky your partner is to have bumped into you. Soon the merit of your happiness plan will be understood and underway. Just watch out for the undertow.
After the honeymoon, which actually means your honey is mooning over the prospect of a fine, unfettered future, the marriage begins. As does the clash of the wedding day promises. The person who said, “Yes.” to your plan thinks you said the same to his and that is not what happened that day (in your mind).
Soon, one to two years, you both realize your partner has signed up for something other than your plan. The “I do!” you believed was about your plan turned out to be a “Yes!” about a plan you are now starting to hear a lot about.
Can the plans coexist? Will the two of you be able to coordinate and collaborate to make two plans into one reality? How to make that happen will be in part two of Happily Ever After: Miss you bliss?
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Living for the love of it,
Dawna J. Grigsby, Ed.S, LPC.