I love happy-ever-after endings. Despite our cynical culture, I believe most people feel the same way. There’s more than enough bad news in the world. Christians and non-Christians alike want to know that good still triumphs over evil.
Maybe that’s why fairy tales have experienced resurgence in the past several years. Disney built a reputation on producing kid-friendly movies based on fairy tales. But darker versions of those traditional stories have not only traveled to the big screen, they have also taken over television programming. Which brings me to a recent news account that seems to have blurred the line between make-believe and reality.
The stars who play Snow White and Prince Charming on television’s Once Upon a Time have apparently brought their fairy tale romance to life. Last month, he popped the question and she said yes.
For someone who enjoys happy endings, you’d think I’d love this story. But there’s a catch I can’t overlook. When they met in 2011, the actor playing Prince Charming was married. According to accounts, the filming schedule and distance (filming was done in Canada) caused the end of his marriage six months later. He claims his connection with Snow White (I’m intentionally not using their real names) remained platonic until after he left his wife of four years. Only then did he fall in love with his fairy tale princess.
Here’s where my cynicism rears its ugly head. I have difficulty believing that his growing attraction to her, along with their romantic on-screen roles, had nothing to do with the demise of his marriage. While some rejoiced in the fairy-tale-come-true aspect of their engagement, I grieved for yet another broken marriage. While news accounts trumpeted a happily-ever-after ending, I wondered yet again at the ease in which some people walk away from their marriage vows.
Marriage is hard work. Ask anyone who’s been there. So how can we protect our vows for our own happily-ever-after? The answer begins with our own relationship with the Lord. But even then, it still takes intentional effort to make a marriage work.
Mitch Temple, Director of Marriage Programs at Focus on the Family, suggests additional help in the form of ten secrets to a successful marriage. He includes points such as the grass is greenest where you water it; love is a verb, not just a feeling; and a crisis doesn’t mean the marriage is over.
I’m not naïve. I know divorce is a common occurrence in our society—even more so within the entertainment community. I also know there are many whose spouses made the decision for them or who required separation for their own safety or the safety of their children.
But when the motivation is, as a Hollywood source described in the case of Prince Charming and Snow White, that “it feels right,” then I’ll look for my happily-ever-after ending somewhere else.
What do you think?