True Love Actually Isn't a Fairytale
BY: NIKKI MICHELLE CHARNSTROM
The kind of love we see plastered across the media and portrayed in the entertainment industry isn’t at all what a real relationship is like. It is because of these misconstrued ideas of love that often times we think anything less than means we’re settling — or simply with the wrong person. We base our “perfect match” on the love stories we see in the movies and think the relationship will come easy — like in a sunset on the beach, hand in hand, forever in love kind of way.
If there is anything I’ve learned since dating my boyfriend Alex for last two years, it’s this — love isn’t a blissful fairytale where everything goes right all the time, it’s a continuous commitment to pursue one another, despite differences and disagreements.
Before Alex, I never really knew what love was. I thought I did in my early early 20’s — but girl, was I SO wrong. Every relationship I’ve ever invested in, friendship or romantic, was never truly thrown into the fire to be tested and tried. With Alex, we have walked through the flames and been burned — but we always manage to come out of it. We argue, get irritated with each other, and sometimes don’t see eye-to-eye. I’m not ashamed of it — because it’s real. Our love isn’t the kind you’d see in the movies and I’m quite OK with that. Instead, our relationship is our own and we choose how we invest and how we grow together.
However, like you might be thinking, our story didn’t start two years ago — in fact, it’s been seven years. We met working at the same fast food joint while I was finishing high school. We were flirty and into each other, but the timing just wasn’t right. So, we remained friends for years — in frequent enough communication to keep whatever it was alive. We both greatly cared for each other, so talking over the phone came easy when one of us was going through a difficult time. I completely trusted him — and we continued to build our relationship on a mutual trust.
Flash forward to 2016, when I spent my birthday with him in the magical city of San Francisco. You could say that was the place we finally figured out what this was. Since then, we’ve been true to one another — all the while continuing to build upon our years of friendship.
I’m giving you a brief glimpse into our lives because I think it’s important for us to remember our love stories don’t have to look anything like those crafted by a society desperate for perfection. Those couples you see on social media that are straight up #relationshipgoals — guess what, they have issues too. They have hidden struggles and insecurities we don’t get to see. Why? Because they only show us what they want us to see.
So, while yes Alex and I are happy, I’m not going to sit here and lie to you. Our relationship takes work and it’s not easy. There are days when our love comes naturally and others when we have to fight for it — but we do it together. I know we still have so much learning and growing to do as individuals and as a couple — but when I look back to where we began seven years ago, there is no denying we have perseverance.
For the single lady out there, you’re going to find your person who is willing to accept any of life’s imperfections — because, to them, you will be worth it. For the girl, like me, who is in a relationship, be prepared to show him grace — because if he is the one you want forever, let grace guide your love. For the married woman, remember why you chose him and continue to pursue your love with that same affection.
A true relationship will experience trials and seasons of struggle. Press through them and allow them the opportunity to strengthen you as a couple. Don’t expect a fairytale because that only puts pressure on the both of you. Embrace and cherish your love story just the way it is — after all, it is one-of-a-kind and that’s something special.
Nikki is the owner and founder of Crowned Chics. She lives in the warm desert of Phoenix, Arizona with her beloved family. If she's not ferociously clanking away on her typewriter, she's behind the camera capturing moments for her business Charnstrom Captures Photography.