Monday, August 3, 2009

According to my research

This post was inspired by a conversation between C and I, and kind of evolved from there.

Cinderella was wrong or at the very least she was completely deluded.

We have been instructed by Disney that all it takes for a "happily ever after, the end" is one moment of bliss. One moment to tell you what your rest of forever will be about. That it will redefine every aspect of you and change you. After that, you appear to be set for life. But people don't fall in love in a single moment. Perhaps they may realize in a moment, but that isn't the same thing. At least not really. Not that true and everlasting love that you need to cope through life. Instead, I submit to you that love is like everything else worth having and that it comes by degrees.

Statistically speaking, we know that the observed relationship between two objects becomes more accurate the more events that are studied. For instance, if you flip a coin twice it is perfectly possible that it will land on heads both times. However, the more times you flip it, the more likely you are to have 50% heads, 50% tails. Thus with repeated trials, results become increasingly more accurate. In much the same way, I think that a true love is formed, whether we realize it or not, with the occurence of multiple events; and the more moments that happen the more likely it is that the perceived result is accurate. And therefore more statistically significant.

In the same vein, I think we do have happily ever afters. However, not the carriage driving off into the sunset ever afters; more like the reality ever afters. I mean have you ever noticed that movies and books don't ever document what happens after the wedding? No one wants to watch everyday struggles, or everyday bliss. We want to hold on to the illusion that people really only have lives of only happiness for the rest of forever. But that's boring.  What people really want (and get) is drama. They like blood, sweat, and tears. No one thinks they want to watch a story about a couple who marry, practically starve themselves to get through college, and raise four girls who eventually marry and have children of their own. To the outsider there is no excitement, no drama (although let me tell you that in a house with four girls there is plenty of drama), and even though they have sad times, they still have a happily ever after. Life doesn't have to be happy all of the time to come out happy in the end.

And although the story of this family isn't television-worthy, the members of this family remember when daughter #1 got married, when the first grandkid was born, when one girl graduated, when one girl won sporting events. They remember crying as they talked to their parents to get through those tough high school years, and crying more when they had to leave out into that great wide world. And eventually all four of these girls will look back when these two great people are gone and tell their families about times they went camping, or just riding bikes, times when they went out to dinner, and times when they sat around the dinner table discussing life and the eternities for hours. And they will have these same moments with their girls and boys. And the world will move on, never noticing the contribution and quiet lives of everyday people. But these people have their happily ever after; because in the end they won't remember what those tears are about, just that they felt comforted and loved by their family. And that couple doesn't remember minor disagreements, they remember feeling united as they worked together. John Gottman, one of the world's leading experts in marriage and relationship research agrees that when couples have rough times but work through it, when followed up with five years later they relationship is always stronger than it ever had been. Thats a happily ever after.

So, despite Disney's best efforts to convince otherwise I submit to you that people fall in love over time, after the compilation of many moments, and that their happily ever after is the average of happy and sad through life. That happy moments are actually more common than the sad ones.  And that in the strongest relationships, the sad times can inspire the happy ones.

And yes. I just mathematically proved that love at first sight is false. I just really am that cool.


  1. Dear Stephie,

    I just want to let you know, I think you're awesome.



  2. So I love to read your posts. They are always so well worded. It amazes me how deeply you like about things and how well you can put your thoughts down.

    I just though you should know, that you are in charge of all the obituaries and such for our family. :)