One of my favorite childhood memories was hearing my nightly fairy tale from my grandfather. As I eagerly listened for every one of my favorite foods to be in Little Red Riding Hood’s basket, he patiently fought off sleep. And thus began my love of reading and books ( my love for food was already in full bloom).
Every time I read a book, I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the book. I wanted to see how the villains were defeated and refresh my faith and hope that good does always prevail. And even better- I wanted to see how true love came to the rescue.
As I became a teenager and entered the dating years, I soon discovered that romantic symbols like meeting on Valentine’s Day meant nothing in terms of predicting a happy, lasting relationship. Being the Nancy Drew fan that I was, I set off a journey to solve the mystery of exactly what makes certain love stories turn into fairy tales, while others turn into nightmares (hence why I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist).
One of the first things I discovered on this journey to finding the secrets of love was that our beloved fairy tales and romantic comedies often set us up for failure. They lead us on as far as what to expect in and from a relationship. The Disney movies that I loved as a kid soon took a different meaning. The story always ended when the prince and the princess confessed their love for each other. All was well, and they lived, ”Happily ever after” (excuse me while I dry heave at my laptop).
Can I tell you how elated I was when Shrek finally entered the scene? Finally, a fairy tale that actually shared that sometimes the happy endings have hiccups (or donkeys as was the case with Shrek and Fiona). While Shrek doesn’t necessarily teach all of the keys to making a relationship last longer than the wedding planning, it does open our eyes to the fact that sometimes the best part of “Happily Ever After” is working together (and as individuals) to continue to conquer true love every day for the rest of your marriage.