Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl who dreamed of becoming a princess. She had a good heart and was kind to all. As fate would have it, she unexpectedly discovered a handsome prince. Upon meeting, they fell in love and lived happily ever after. The end.
I am the mother of two beautiful little girls. Needless to say, our home is filled with all things princess. They know these stories forwards and backwards. On the surface, the fairy tales seem pretty innocent. They can even be empowering. They teach young girls that kindness and love pay off in the end, that true beauty comes from within, and that every girl can indeed become a princess. These are all good things – right?
Unfortunately, there’s another message being taught to my daughters. It’s the one that suggests prince charming is the source of true happiness. Prince charming is the one thing who can make you whole and complete. Without him, you can’t live happily ever after…
In most of these princess stories, the wedding day is the end of the story. It’s almost as if they’re saying, “I found my one true love, so now I will be happy forever. The difficult or unhappy days are over.”
In real life, however, we know that marriage is hard. It’s not always happy. No couple in history has lived “happily ever after” each and every day of their lives. Yes, there are happy marriages; but marriages grow and change. They go through difficult times. If you go into a marriage believing you’ve found your prince charming or your “happily ever after,” you are going to be sorely disappointed.
Many of these princess stories are teaching young children that their spouse will one day be the source of true happiness. So what happens when their marriages don’t make them happy?
In today’s world, they probably walk away. They begin to say things like, “I need to do what makes me happy” Or “Maybe he/she wasn’t ‘the one’ after all.” Since when did happiness take over as the purpose of marriage?
We want the romance, the emotions, the intensity…and we want these things to never change or go away.
God’s Word outlines three purposes to marriage:
- We are called to work together and complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses. When marriage was instituted in the Garden of Eden, it was because Adam needed a “helper.” Genesis tells us that Adam’s helper was created to be “just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18)
- A strong marriage is the building block to a strong family. God blessed the marriage of Adam and Eve and commanded them to be “fruitful and multiply.” God desired for Adam and Eve to train up sons and daughters who would serve Him. (Genesis 1:28 & Psalm 78:5-7)
- Marriage was designed to reflect the relationship between Christ and His church. For husbands, this involves a sacrificial love – one that presents his wife as holy and blameless before others. Wives are called to submit to their husbands – to honor and obey him as he serves the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22-33 & Isaiah 62:5)
Our happiness and fulfillment were never meant to come from other people. Our spouse will never be able to meet that kind of expectation. God’s Word is clear: our joy comes from Him alone. He is the only one that can meet all of our needs and make us whole.
So how will I handle my daughters’ obsession with all things princess? I will tell them the truth. They are princesses. Just like Cinderella, they were once slaves to this world of darkness and sin. But Jesus (also known as the real Prince Charming) made a way for them to become daughters of the one true King. All they have to do is accept His invitation…
…and they will live happily ever after.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. – Ephesians 1:4-7 (NLT)