As little girls, we all dreamed of our future husbands. We pictured ourselves in a Cinderella or Snow White costume, waiting patiently for Prince Charming to come galloping up on a white stallion. There didn’t even have to be a reason for him to “rescue” us. In our dreams, it was enough for him just to find us.
Young boys didn’t usually dream about being Prince Charming, but most entertained thoughts and acted out fantasies of being the “hero”. They wielded swords made of cardboard and wore capes that had worried mothers insisting the piece of cloth didn’t really give them the ability to fly. These male/female instincts are God-given and natural. But left in an unrealistic, fairytale world perspective, they can cause many dangers to a marriage.
Prince or Toad?
Too often as married couples, we blame our spouses for not being what we dreamed of all those years ago. At some point, even subconsciously, we will realize that the man who blanched at our latest cooking attempt and “forgot” to help fold the laundry isn’t Prince Charming after all. There is no white horse to admire, just muddy paw prints left on the carpet from the dog. There is no handcrafted sword for protection, just the rifles on the gun rack, waiting for hunting season. There is no fancy costume, just the same clearance rack items from last season.
The reality check is shocking as we realize things will go wrong in life. The plumbing will go haywire, the in-laws will stir up drama, and your job will stress you out. These situations, and others, are guarantees in our lives. Patience runs short and money runs out. This is marriage! This is what you signed up for when you claimed your vows before God and witnesses.
Couples today believe their lives should be a fairytale, and are thoroughly disappointed when they realize they are wrong. When the surprise wears off, they have a simple choice: stay or leave. Some choose to take the easy way out. They say, “Maybe Prince Charming is waiting for me at the ball” and bail out of their marriage. They think, “Perhaps there is a Princess who actually needs me down at the local bar” and abandon their families. But they are in for an even ruder awakening.
The Other Side of the Fence
It’s not that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side – it’s NEVER greener. I’ve learned from watching those close to me that the problems you leave in your first marriage will follow you to your next. Why is this? Because you’re still the same person. You don’t get to leave your baggage in the form of a suitcase at your old house. It’s delivered priority to your next relationship and usually becomes heavier along the way. We look up in surprise in the middle of our new choice and think, “hmm, this wasn’t what I had in mind, either.”
This type of discontent comes from the heart. A human soul not in fellowship with God will never be happy. One might be able to fool themselves temporarily, pretending that they’re satisfied with their new boyfriend, new wife, even their new car or house. But without a living, breathing, soul-deep relationship with God, they will never find true joy and contentment.
It is painful to watch those close to you make bad choices -- decisions that you instinctively know will come back to haunt them. We can’t change what others do, but we can make positive examples of our own lives and marriages. How? By not leaving. By staying when times get tough. By arguing and having fights but not walking out of the house. By being real and honest and not worrying about the public mask of “yes-we’re-doing-great-thanks.”
If you and your spouse are having problems, get help. Forget what others might think and take care of your marriage. A healthy relationship with your mate is more important than your reputation in the church or at work. Don’t let pride keep you from getting counseling or talking with an older, wiser couple. Learn from your mistakes and those of others and try not to repeat them. But most importantly, spend time developing your own walk with Christ. Without God in your life and in the center of your relationships, you have zero chances of a healthy, happy marriage.
So next time your Prince Charming “ribbits,” kiss him anyway. Know that the way you see your spouse is up to you. Put on the rose colored Princess glasses, realizing that no one is perfect, but that it sure makes things easier if we overlook a few faults. You might not always feel like a Princess, and your life might be far from a fairytale, but a thriving relationship with God, our true King, will make our lives, and marriage, much sweeter than any happily ever after you could find in a book.
Betsy Ann St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. Betsy has a bachelor's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. Her first published Christian Fiction novel, Midnight Angel, is now available on amazon.com. You can contact her at [email protected].