The sweeping romantic films have it all wrong. Love isn't this shiny, pretty, perfect, thing. You didn't come to earth to find this flawless little patch of heaven with a bright eyed boy or girl who's very smile gives off morning light that scatters the dark and makes every day itself worth living. (Although I do believe that type of connection must exist, and is out there somewhere, and mostly I hope you find it someday.)
You came here to find personal love. Self love. Soulmate love- and maybe not necessarily in a romantic sense, I'm talking about that spark that could happen with anyone at anytime. Hurting love. Healing love. Universal love. Adventurous love. Invigorating love. Friendship love. Love infused with every single bit of divinity found in the heavens and endures long after that initial spark has dulled out.
You didn't come here to be anything other then gorgeously human. A little bit flawed, and completely beautiful because of it. So why would love be any different? Love is showing up. Trying to be better. A whole lot of stumbling, but then rising back up with an even greater deal of grace because you both have the dignity to see that fighting for the good parts are worth it.
But those photos of seemingly perfect little families captioned relationship goals- stop telling that story. That is their story, not yours. There are all kinds of love in the world, and every kind is beautiful, but there has never been the same type twice. So instead of holding that person's photo as the standard of happiness, consider that love in actuality, doesn't require modifiers, filters or the illusive condition of "perfection".
It is simply that you learn and be curious, be passionate and don't have to apologize for it, fail and succeed, laugh and cry, shine and fly, but mostly be completely unalterably unapologetically REAL. Because anything less I just can't see being worth it.
Disclaimer: If I'm being absolutely honest my first stirrings of romantic feelings were for a prehistoric sloth. Sid the Sloth, from Ice Age. Maybe it was those comically wide spread eyes, or more likely the endearing kicked to the side underdog persona- either way there was just something about him that made eight year old me go crazy. Plus I've never actually been in love, and 9/10 times will probably laugh in a moment that is supposed to be romantic. So maybe you shouldn't listen to a word I have to say. But I can say this. Like so many others I've experienced people giving up on one another and that love turns into something ugly, and because of that toxicity it's sometimes easy to have this distorted view on marriage and relationships. But I've also seen how different it is when that connection is there, and I know that all of those love songs and pieces of art had to have been shaped with meaning. And that meaning has got to be worth it.
Until I figure it all out I'll be happy holding on tight to the people that I do have. :)