Beauty, Beast, & the Bike Ride

And they lived happily ever after...

My all-time favorite Disney movie is Beauty & the Beast, hands down. I mean, who wouldn’t love a wicked smart brunette who is as brave as she is beautiful, can break into perfectly pitched sonnets at the drop of a hat & has the ability to see past cosmetic imperfections such as a hairy hunchback & gnarly underbite to recognize a true gentleman underneath?(An added perk: that ten story library that Beast gifted Belle. I just might be willing to look past  the blackmail and involuntary imprisonment she endured if it meant inheriting 10,000 leather-bound books in a sunlit castle.) Anyhow, flaws aside, I still think that movie rocks. And so it is with fairy-tales. As girls, we eat them up—the romance, the music, the “happily-ever-afters.” We overlook the problematic sub-plots (such as the fact that Ariel gives up her family AND her voice to get her man) to enjoy the more comforting aspects of the stories—that true love never dies, that fate conquers all, and that once you overcome the initial obstacles, everything else is smooth sailing. *SPOILER ALERT* If you are a young star-struck believer in relationship utopia, you may want to stop reading.
I used to think that relationships were a skill similar to riding a bike. Tricky at first, with some bumps and falls in the beginning, but once the balance and flow was mastered it was easy riding. Then I met reality. My husband and I first started hanging out when I was 18 with an 18-month-old child. Friends at first, we gradually became more and have been together since. He is a wonderful father to all our children, and we basically grew up together: maturing, compromising, and learning along the way. It HAS been like a bike ride, but more like mountain biking. We’ve covered off-road, rough terrain that requiries endurance, strength, and at times, self-reliance. The coasting periods are wonderful, a time for renewal, and a chance to take in the scenery. The uphill paths can take your breath away. I have enough friends in long-term marriages & relationships to know that this is pretty much the norm. Family life is terrific and trying all at the same time. We muddle  together through the monotony of everyday existence: homework battles, chores, finances. But when we collapse at night to relish in the beauties of the day,  we realize it’s pretty beast (as my 15-year-old would say).  I know there is no happily-ever-after looming on the horizon…  there are sure to be days ripe with trials and triumph, and I’m okay with that. But there is a message I want my young ones to take away from this, someday when they spread their wings and fly away from this nest…and that message is this:  If we give up easily when things get ugly, we may never get around to witnessing the amazing transformations that can take place down the road…

2 thoughts on “Beauty, Beast, & the Bike Ride

  1. Very true! I wrote something similar in an old blog once. Because I can very closely relate. Avin and I formerly met when we were 17 am began dating soon after. We’ve been together ever since. And boy oh boy, ask me how many times ive wanted to stab him in 12 years? Lol. A relationship from such a young age definitely takes a LOT of work. There have been plenty good times, tons of bad and everything in between. But that’s ok. That’s life’s. That’s real love.

  2. Jennie Wolter says:

    So true! This was a great reminder and encouragement to me. After nearly seven years of marriage and 14 months of parenting, my hubby and I are definitely “mountain biking”. But nothing good in life ever came without work, including true love!!

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