Did you spend your childhood being serenaded by one princess after another in every Disney movie ever made?

I know I did…And I loved every minute of it.  

Truth be told, I still do.  

I can Disney sing-a-long with the best of ’em.

I even have the shirt!

And, okay, contrary to my headline for this post, I do let my kids watch all of my favorite fairytales, new and old…

But love them or not, let’s just say it…

Some of the ideas that we learn from good ol‘ Walt leave a thing or two to be desired when it comes to what we want our girls (and boys) to learn about love and relationships.

From the tale of Ariel and Eric and their forbidden love to the epic story of Belle and her Beast, we have become immersed in the idea that relationships are easy to build and that true love’s kiss will always save the day.

And we can’t help being sucked into these magnificently manufactured narratives.

These stories have deeply ingrained in us the belief that our fairytale is out there and that someday we will find our Prince Charming and ride off into the sunset toward our own happily ever after.

I’ll admit it…My young mind was shaped by these tales.  

I spent my teen years holding tightly to all of the notions given to me by my beloved stories. (And Jane Austen…I’m lookin’ at you, Mr. Darcy…) 

I spent my young years dreaming about the boy I’d marry and filled my mind with unrealistic ideas of being swept off my feet and carried away on a white steed…

My concept about what love looked like wasn’t questioned until a great friend of mine poked holes in it during a heart-to-heart.  

She had more life experience and was always a straight shooter…

She said, “I think you have very unrealistic ideas about what relationships look like. You need to let go of the idea that fairy tales are real. Because if you don’t, you are going to be very disappointed.”

I couldn’t believe it.

How could she tear apart my dream of true love? 

Didn’t I deserve my storybook ending? 

How dare she question the plan that I had so carefully crafted for the Prince (who I had yet to meet) who would complete my future?

After internally pouting about it at the time, I dismissed her statement for quite a while…  

But once I had my own love to navigate, i realized that she had been right all along…

It wasn’t what I had planned for… 

You know that gushy feeling that gives you butterflies and makes you want to hold hands and snuggle in the beginning?  

Yeah, well, that eventually fades…especially when your time gets gobbled up by managing a home, sharing finances and taking care of babies.

Let’s just say it doesn’t always make you want to break out into song and dance.

My friend was right…I expected things to be perfect, but they weren’t.  

My princess gurus had forgotten to show me what to do when the camera wasn’t looking…

So I had to learn it by myself…

Not gonna lie, guys, it was a loooooooong road.  

I didn’t know how to communicate well and was always leaving it up to Matt to decipher my code. (Bad idea, ladies…just say what you mean.)  

There were so many times that it seemed doomed.  

But somehow (through sheer stubbornness on both of our parts, no doubt), we’ve made it.

AND HERE’S WHAT I’VE LEARNED ABOUT LOVE THAT DISNEY MOVIES FORGOT TO TEACH ME…

#1. Love is not what we see on the screen…

It is what we don’t see. Love is what happens day in and day out…

#2. Love is choosing…  

It is choosing your partner every. single. day.  It is choosing to stay and not leave.  It is choosing to fix and not ignore.  It is choosing to be all in, no matter what.

#3. Love is saying what you mean…  

It is not saying something and hoping the other gets the message…they won’t.

#4. Love is communication…  

It is talking through big feelings that are not fun to handle.

#5. Love is knowing that it is okay for explosions to happen…

You just have to be willing to stay and them up AS they happen.

#6. Love is locking the exit door…

Love means leaving isn’t on the table. You don’t need space…you need to fix things…and they can’t be fixed if someone leaves.

So…Are you making sure to pass these things on to your kids?

Because we can let our kids soak up all the Disney greatness that we did…

But the truth is we shouldn’t let them unless we also teach them that love is not what they see there.

It is so much greater.

Love takes lots of time and hard work, but it is worth every bit of effort.  

And when you both put in the hard work, it leads to the very best kind of happily ever after.

So, yeah, let them dream big about their own love stories…And SHOW them exactly how to make it happen.

Like what you read? Then I’d love it if you’d share this article on Pinterest (or your favorite social media platform)…

And then take a second to subscribe in the pink box below so that you don’t ever miss a thing from our team.

First time here?

No way! Let me say I’m so happy to have you! Stick around and you’ll find helpful content on SELF-CARE, PARENTING, & RELATIONSHIPS...This is a great place to START.