Romancing the Happy Ending

iStock_000005852895XSmallCome a little closer.

No, that’s still too far away.

There’s something I want to tell you and only you.

I have a confession to make.

Please do not judge me too harshly!

You see, it’s all Davina’s fault.

She started it and now I must make this confession.

So, lend me your ear because I want to tell you that I …

Just adore reading romance novels:~)

A Novel Approach to Happiness

Some might say romance novels have too much loving and too little literary merit, but that’s not the purpose of my confession. I love romance novels because they always have good endings.

They’re kind of like Hershey’s Kisses. You know what you’re going to get and it usually makes you feel good.

A dialogue in a recent romance novel captured my attention. It’s at the end where the characters “live happily ever after.” In this book the author has a rather philosophical take on happiness.

The hero, Aidan, is responding to a question from his new wife, Eve, about whether or not there’s such a thing as “happily ever after”. Aidan answers as follows:

“No,” he said. “There is something infinitely better than living happily ever after. There is happiness. Happiness is a living, dynamic thing, Eve, and has to be worked on every moment for the rest of our lives. It is a far more exciting prospect than that silly static idea of happily ever after. Would you not agree?”

These lines sum up my belief in happiness better than most of the textbooks I’ve read on the subject. This got me thinking about what else romance novels have to say about happiness. Turns out, I think these books have features that are important to learning happiness. For example:

Happiness Thrives with Positive Thinking

In most romance novels the main characters have to let go of their doubts, fears or anger before they can truly be happy with the one they love.

This is also true about happiness. Negative thinking makes it very hard to be happy. Just as these characters do, we have to choose to let go of our own fears and doubts to experience happiness more often.

Happiness Needs to Be Acknowledged

Characters in a romance novel spend a lot of time being afraid to declare their love. However, by the end of the book they usually acknowledge their true feelings.

Happiness also requires recognition and acknowledgment; we must be willing to declare our happiness. By acknowledging it openly, we teach our minds to recognize it and file it as something important and valuable.

Happiness Requires Faith

Every romance novel has a time when one or both characters lose hope in their future happiness. Usually, there’s a situation or problem that seems insurmountable. Once resolved, however, their happiness prevails in the end.

There are times when we lose hope in our future happiness. This may be one of the hardest lessons we have to learn; having the faith that happiness is always a part of us, even when we think we will never be happy again.

I believe the characters in romance novels aren’t that different from you or me. They are seeking happiness and love, and they usually find it because they make an effort to work at it.

I think the same can be said about us; we also must work for happiness. This isn’t always easy, but it can be done.

Once again, Aidan’s words to Eve say it best…

“Happiness is a living, dynamic thing and it has to be worked on every moment for the rest of our lives.”

I believe Aidan’s got the right idea. Would you not agree?

P.S. Just in case you’re also a “secret lover” of romance books, the lines in this post about happiness were excerpted from a novel by Mary Balogh called “Slightly Married”.