And they lived happily ever after…

This standard fairy tale ending has made happily ever afters seem easily attainable. But what if we’re not Cinderella and what if we don’t meet the love of our life by chance in line at the local grocery store?

Most people don’t expect their relationships to always be sunshine and roses. But most of us hope that there are a lot of good days mixed in with the not-so-good. So, how can we work towards our own (realistic version) of happily ever after? How can we have a chance at the kind of love that’s undeniable, the kind of love that leaves us head-over-heels?

We’re looking into the science behind happily ever after to see what keeps love alive and what simply does not. This is by no means a promise you’ll find your soulmate tomorrow. But knowing what to look for in a partner and what you can improve on in your relationship is certainly a step in the right direction towards happily ever after.

happily ever after

Happiness is a balance of both the good times and the bad, in any of life’s relationships. There are going to be rough times no matter what. Unlike the movies, true love is not just something that passively happens to you beyond your control. It’s an active choice.

If you’ve chosen your happily ever after, recognize that. Relish in the moment. Make sure to go out of your way with surprising elements to keep your romantic love alive, like picking an act of service to do for your partner, or coming home with chocolate and flowers—a perfect pairing for your happily ever after. If you still have yet to find your perfect pair, that’s okay. Like everything else, this phase of your life is only temporary. But don’t forget to enjoy it, send yourself a bouquet of fresh flowers and don’t be in too much of a hurry to find your happily ever after.

Sources | Huffington Post 1, 2 | Sage Journals | Psychology Today | NCBI 1, 2 | Psych Central | The Science of Happily Ever After | The Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work | The Art of Choosing