Fairytales take work.
The storybooks don’t tell us that part, do they?

They lead us to believe fairytales just happen—that eyes lock across a crowded room and the rest is sweet history.

But here’s the thing: “happily ever after” isn’t the whole story⁠—it never is.

I’m willing to bet Prince Charming left his socks scattered throughout the castle, and Cinderella had one heck of a temper when she wasn’t singing those sunshine-y songs.

I bet they were happy . . . but not always.

I bet they loved each other . . . but sometimes struggled to like each other.

I bet more than once they felt misunderstood and wondered where they had gone so wrong in choosing each other.

But despite the challenges, maybe they understood that “happily ever after” doesn’t mean “easily ever after”. . . which is something we all must learn.

Even fairytales take work. Hard work.

They take communication—the art of learning to “fight” constructively and sift through the differences that threaten to break a relationship.

They take loyalty—the mutual understanding of being with and for one another, above all else, no matter what.

They take sacrifice—the decision to put someone else’s needs above our own, even when we don’t feel like it.

Sharing an entire life means sharing the heaviness of the hard times as well as the ease of the good. There will be months when an unexpected expense makes it tough to pay the mortgage. Seasons of loss and heartache and grief will occur. At times, intimacy will feel lost somewhere between the chaos of life and the needy little ones who crawl into bed between us. 

If we hold on tight, though⁠—if we can navigate the forest and come out on the other side⁠—we might just find that the glass slipper still fits after all this time, even if it takes a little bit of grease to slip on.

Because the secret is this . . . those real-life fairytales? The ones that take so much work?

Those are the very best kind.

They are the kinds of stories that span a lifetime; the ones that begin with two young lovers saying “I do” and end with wrinkled hands intertwined as last breaths are taken. They are the tales spoken for generations to come, providing a hopeful ray of light in a world that can seem so damaged.

They are the type of love that makes a life worth living.

The true happily ever afters are far more lovely than any storybook could ever paint them to be.

Fairytales take work, but Heaven knows they do exist.

Casey Huff

Casey is a middle school teacher turned stay-at-home-mama to three littles. It's her mission as a writer to shine light on the beauty and chaos of life through the lenses of motherhood, marriage, and mental health. To read more, go hang out with Casey at: Facebook: Bouncing Forward Instagram: @bouncing_forward