KNIGHTS IN SHINING ARMOUR
The midlife marriage fairytale
I was talking to a friend about midlife marriage the other day. She lives in a perpetual state of "hope deferred" (as she refers to it) and "constant disappointment" (as I refer to it!) She keeps waiting for her husband of 28 years to step up and be her knight in shining armour. She is certain that her marriage should be a fairytale and is so disappointed that it is not.
FORGET THE FAIRY TALE
I don't even know where to begin with this. I felt like a big bully when I told her that midlife marriage isn't about castles in the sky, and doting love, and dropped handkerchiefs. It's certainly not about making up tests to see if your husband loves you as much as you think he should. It's not about feeling constantly sad because you don't have the ideal romance happening every day. Why would you set yourself (and your partner) up for failure by having such unreal expectations?
PRAGMATISM AT ITS BEST AND WORST
But does this mean that midlife marriage isn't worth keeping and we should all be weeping into our hankies (that nobody picked up for us)? Should we be trading in our long-term spouses for a newer model, hoping that will kick the excitement up a level or two and bring long lost romance and rainbows back into our life? Perhaps we need to buy one of the latest marriage manuals, or go to a romantic movie or two - just to show us where we're falling down in the love stakes.
REALITY BEATS THE FAIRY TALE
Often we look back at our young selves and our early romance with rose coloured glasses. We forget things weren't always rosy back then, there were still times of adjustment and compromise and learning to accept each other's flaws. But we managed to move forward, the laughter and the love covered a multitude of sins. Our relationship strengthened and we came to a more full understanding of the person we married. But that doesn't make it a fairy tale.