“Happily ever after” doesn’t exist in this realm of living…
By Christine Suhan
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed this morning and was bombarded with the trending news that Brangelina will be no longer. Angelina Joile (half of Brangelina) has officially filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. I found myself clicking on article after article, not because I have any emotional investment in the state of Brangelina but because I was curious as to why the power couple has suddenly split. My search, which resulted in not much more than “irreconcilable differences,” led me down a rabbit hole of comments and angry fans who are claiming statements like the following:
Love is DEAD
NOTHING lasts forever (insert sad emoji)
Me: In the fetal position, right next to a bottle of wine, asking if love even exists
I’m not in the least bit shocked by the divorce and honestly, I don’t feel like the state of their marriage is any of our business. Does God want us to get divorced? Not necessarily. Do we ever live up to God’s ideals for us on a daily basis? Nope. Do we have a right to judge others just because they sin differently than us? Absolutely not. I do feel sad for them, as do I feel for any family going through divorce but I don’t have an opinion on whether or not a divorce is the next right step for them. What I do have an opinion about, however, is America’s naive perception of love.
I believe Americans are drawn to celebrity power couples because they give us a reason to believe in the fairy tale kind of love. A prince meets a princess, they fall madly in love, celebrate their magical love with an extravagant wedding and both live happily ever after. That’s how the story goes right? Wrong. Fairy tales aren’t real life. Love doesn’t just come along and sweep you off your feet. We are not princesses or prince charmings living in a magical world far, far away. We are real people, living real, human lives, who have to work for love. That’s right, I said WORK for love and because of love. Love isn’t something that just happens to you, it’s something you have to work for. Sometimes, lust comes along and sweeps you off your feet but love isn’t found in butterfly kisses or long walks on the beach. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a verb. Love isn’t always easy; it requires and perpetuates action. Loving someone means showing up for them, day in and day out, regardless of how you’re feeling at the time. Love means being of service to one another, even when you’re exhausted, fed-up, and out of resources. Love means sacrifice, often sacrificing ourselves at the expense of our loved ones.
Marriages fail for a million different reasons but never does a marriage fail because love doesn’t exist. Love exists. It’s real. Love is the most powerful force in the universe. Love connects us to other human beings, to our lives, and to God. Love lives inside of us; it’s all around us. Love shows up in a thousand different ways each and every day. Love never fails. But marriages fail because people fail. People don’t always show up to do the work. People expect a perfect love to encapsulate them and make all of their problems go away but perfect love can’t replace real life. Perfect love only exists in Christ and until we meet Him in the afterlife, we are stuck here having human experiences that prevent us from accessing His perfect love. Love often motivates us to get to work- on our problems, on our marriages, on our parenting, but love doesn’t solve the world’s problems on its own. We have to put love to work. We have to work on being kind, considerate and loving. We have to work on being less judgmental and more open-minded. We have to work on accepting others, even if their differences are scary. We have to work on humility. This is how we make love work, by changing ourselves to meet the conditions of the world and of our marriages.
“Happily ever after” doesn’t exist in this realm of living, but “happily working during” does. I have no idea how much work Brangelina put into their marriage and I’m not in any way implying their marriage failed because they didn’t do the work. Maybe their marriage really did fail because of “irreconcilable differences.” But I know for my marriage, love happens during the work. Love doesn’t ever make our problems disappear but it makes our problems worth fighting through. Love makes the work worth it and hard work makes the love feel even that much more spectacular.
About the Author:Christine Suhan is a wife, stay at home mother to three wild toddler boys and writer/creator at www.feelingsandfaith.net. She has a masters degree in marriage and family therapy and enjoys helping people through openly and honestly sharing her journey of life, recovery, mental illness, marriage, parenting and more. You can also find her on her Facebook page.