Thoughts on Unrealistic Expectations and “Happily Ever After”

happily ever after

Warning: This article does contain spoilers for The Selection series. I have clearly marked them, so please skip that paragraph if you are interested in reading the books and have not read them yet! 

Recently I finished reading The Selection series, at least the ones that are out. I enjoyed them, but they weren’t my favorites, as you can read in the review I wrote about them here.

After I wrote that review, I read The Heir, a story about the original protagonist’s daughter, and discovered another major problem with the series. That problem was the way the love triangle worked out.

*SPOILERS BEGIN*

See, in the original three books, America is in love with both Maxon, the prince, and Aspen, the boy from her hometown. She ends up marrying Maxon at the end of the series. Aspen ends up marrying one of her maids from the palace, which bothered me on several levels.

But the main problem is later, in The Heir, when the couples have been happily married for years and have children of their own. The two families are interacting in a completely unrealistic way. Aspen, who in the original books seemed like he was in love with America much more than was healthy, is now living in the palace with his family, in love with his wife (who isn’t America). He has a healthy friendship with both America, the girl he used to love with a passion, and Maxon (!) who is the man who ended up marrying her. And they don’t have any problems.

*END SPOILERS*

(for those of you who didn’t read that part, let’s just say that everything worked out fine and dandy for everyone involved in the love triangle, with absolutely no broken hearts)

Doesn’t that seem just a little bit unrealistic to you?

And this got me thinking about something. How often do books and movies give us a deluded view of how life will turn out? How often do they make things seem more glamorous, more wonderful, more perfect than they really are? How often does everything in a fictional story work out wonderfully well when, in real life, it definitely wouldn’t?

Yes, this is one reason we love books and movies so much. They take us into a world where everything either works out or comes to a beautifully tragic end. It is an unrealistic, imaginary world that we can lose ourselves in.

But this can become unhealthy. If we believe the books that we read and the movies that we watch, we will expect that things will turn out well when they won’t. We will expect our lives, even the problems, to be picture-perfect, either peaceful or wonderfully dramatic. And when it doesn’t turn out that way, we get angry at God.

Here’s the thing: In real life, things don’t always seem as picture-perfect as the media would have us believe. Relationships get broken. Families split apart. Sickness happens and the person who is sick doesn’t always get better.

But it’s all a part of God’s plan for us, and that is the important thing to remember. In books, everything “just happens” to work out perfectly. It’s the beauty of the “happily ever after”, the sweet perfection of the fairy tale.

In life, though, it’s even better, because we have a God watching out for us who loves us, wants the best for us, and controls all of the bad things that happen to us. There is always a reason, even when things don’t work out like a picture-perfect novel.

We expect things from God that he has never promised. The media plays with our view of the world, making us think that God will make life perfect for us, when in reality the trials come for a reason.

How can we keep our perspective from being skewed like this? By balancing our media intake with our God intake. By spending plenty of time reading and studying His Word to see what he really promises us, memorizing Scripture, praying, reading Christian books, and listening to talks and sermons to encourage us in our faith.

This will help to balance out the “happily ever after” message our media is feeding us.

 

Have you fallen into the trap of expecting a perfect life? What do you do to keep yourself from those thoughts? Share in the comments below! 

Be sure to share this post on social media if you enjoyed it and subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already done so! 

♥ love, grace ♥

Coming soon: A special project to spread the word about!

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6 thoughts on “Thoughts on Unrealistic Expectations and “Happily Ever After”

  1. Bernie says:

    Completely agree!! I think the way America and Aspen and the two families were interacting in the book was completely unrealistic. Loved your review! 🙂 Btw, I just found your blog and I love it! ❤

    Like

  2. Grace says:

    Very good point! I haven’t given this topic much thought, but it’s completely true — the media is a very powerful force that can be used for either bad or good (unfortunately, a lot of it is bad). Thanks for this good reminder! 🙂

    Like

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