After many long and perilous struggles, the prince rides in on his horse, saves the princess from her plight, and they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. The end.
Sound familiar? For many a Disney fan, this is what is to be expected at the end of a movie. The “happily ever after” trope. Admittedly, it’s a great one. Who doesn’t like a happy ending? There is something inside of us that wants justice, wants love to win, wants there to be order to the world. When the prince and princess ride off into the sunset, it gives us hope that the end of our story will be happy as well.
On the other hand… it’s also a load of ____. That’s not the way the world works, is it? Any married couple who has ever lived will tell you that life does not get magically easy after the wedding. Anyone who has ever been baptized will tell you that temptation and sin still exist on the other side of the font. In this life, there is no such thing as “happily ever after.”
And as far as I’m concerned, I’m glad their isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that this trope is wonderful in that it provides hope for the future and even gives us a glimpse of what heaven might look like, a world in which there is nothing but joy and love for the Lord. But in our regular, this-world relationships, I know that it is an unfair expectation, and that conflict, believe it or not, can actually make people grow stronger in love. The honeymoon might be the most “magical” time for a couple, but it is also the most superficial time. With time, struggle, and “real life,” love can be actualized in new ways.
That is this week’s topic of discussion on Everyday Liminality. Brother Tito and I, two celibate men, discuss the idea of living happily ever after, talk about our favorite romantic comedies, and even give some marriage advice. What could go wrong?