It’s easy to blame our parents for the husbands and wives we don’t have.
For a sliver of the population, parents have made marriage look easy – effortless, really. With seemingly perfect relationships, those couples unconsciously convince us that fairy tales exist – that Prince Charming and the fair maiden are just one swipe away, waiting for the perfect moment to plant that earth-shattering kiss that will launch us into life ever after.
Sometimes it’s those happy marriages that give us the false pretense that love smells like roses when, in fact, sometimes it smells like crap.
Those of us brought up in happy homes – where love prevails – witness role model parents that thrive on communication and compromise. We are blessed with dads who put a face to chivalry and moms who give every ounce of her time to others – especially her husband. But the burden of those experiences is that we were tainted by the expectation that love is only right if it’s void of flaws.
Still, rather than protecting our hearts and tip-toeing into love, we leapt full-force, hoping to be caught in the webs of all things perfect. Even after our hearts shattered, we continued wearing them on our sleeves. The people we call our role models have set the bar so high that we’ve made happiness unachievable in our minds.
For the remaining chunk of our generation – arguably the majority – the “D word” creates warped views on marriage. Much like cancer – no matter where we turn – we know someone affected by divorce, witnessed it first-hand or become a victim who suffers through it. The more devastating stories we hear of split families the more it overshadows tales of happily ever after.
We millennials jaded by divorce sometimes take a different approach to love. Our strategy lies in remaining closed off – building our own border wall between our hearts and true desires. We skim the surface in fear of becoming too attached. We waver on the edge of commitment, not wanting to take the deep dive in. We settle for OK because we’re too afraid to chase perfection.
No matter our experiences, we live with a curse. We either manufacture a never-ending list of qualities that make up the “perfect partner” or settle for love at a distance, refusing to let ourselves be cherished.
When we take a moment to stop, we find the issue: we base our views of love and marriage all too much on the experiences of those who came before us – our parents or grandparents. We forget that our luck is not directly linked to theirs.
The truth of the matter is – whether we suffer through the fire that burns in divorce or believe in fairytales based on couples that never fall out of love – we must remember the relationships we witness aren’t our own.
We hold the fate of our own love stories. Our parents hold theirs.