When we think of happily ever after stories, we always assume that “ever after” means no problems because it is preceded by the word “happily”.

In 1998 when I divorced, it was awful. I was in a place where I did not want to be, dealing with things I did not want to do, and having to learn new skills I did not want to learn.

But I also decided that I was going to change the trajectory of my life.

Divorce and break ups are painful and sad, but they do not get to determine your life… unless you let them.

I realized a year ago that I was living my happily ever after.  Yes, there are still things I don’t want to be dealing with that I am, and I am still having to learn new skills that I don’t want to learn.

But I am in a place where I longed to be… this is just right for me.  It may not be perfect for someone else, but it is for me.

I was able to learn and grow enough to recognize the right qualities in a man for me and be a loving partner for him.  I married my husband, Mike, who also wants a committed partnership and fulfilling love relationship, and all the passion and fun that goes with it.

I feel good about the job I have done parenting and step parenting.  I am far from a perfect parent but I have done the best that I could.  My husband and I have modeled and taught our children the values that we believe in and why.  Now at 17, 18, 20 and 20, they will have to decide their own path.  But we’ll be there, cheering them on as well as crying with them from the sidelines.

I don’t have a thousand women friends but I have a small new group of friends since my divorce who are loyal, wise, and lovingly keep me sane during some tough times.  I have maintained the relationships with a few old friends… that have stayed with me through the years who remind me how far I’ve come and how hard I’ve worked.

My family is made up a menagerie of personalities and crazy.  I keep in touch with those that live close, and keep in touch with those that are far away.

And my work which is a mixture of several areas keeps me on my toes and learning more every day.

A million miles and 15 years later and it doesn’t even look exactly the way I thought it would but it all began with just one step… and another step… and then another step…

But what I’ve done is no different from many others.  My husband and I have worked with single parents since 2002.  Many of them are living their happily ever after with lives that are fulfilling and loving.  It warms my heart to see them like that.  And the stepfamily couples we work with that keep learning and make it through to the other side of their partnership where they feel the connection of staying committed and figuring it out together as a team.

Just like them, you can do this too.   It takes time, patience, and perseverance.  But you can get there.

Happily ever after is not just for the prince and the princess in fairy tales. 

You too deserve to live happily ever after, and it is within your power to make it happen.  But you have to start and be intentional.

Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”

What does your happily ever after look like?

What do you still want to accomplish?

What do you need to learn?

What do you need to teach your children?

What do you need to learn about partnering?

How do you feel about yourself and others in your life?

And then take those steps… one at a time… and keep taking them.