Romantic Nonsense

A few months ago I ran across some of my old journals from the early days in my marriage. As I scanned over the many pages, I found a statement that reflected something of a watershed moment in my young marriage. I wrote . . .  

“I thought love was supposed to be easy—to brim up from inside and flow out without effort. In fact, it should take effort to hold it back! It’s never that way anymore it seems. All those old fairy tales are lies. They are just a pretty package with a beautiful bow and nothing inside. I’m not Cinderella and I didn’t marry Prince Charming or even Prince Nice!”
Obviously, I had a very unrealistic or romanticized view of how marriage should be. Whenever my husband and I had a conflict, in fact, whenever he said or did something that hurt my feelings, my trust in him as my “knight in shining armor” began to tarnish. This left me feeling disillusioned and dissatisfied with my husband. Over time, I began to believe that he was to blame for this dissatisfaction.
The only problem with that calculation was that he wasn’t and isn’t responsible for my satisfaction.
I say that because of two significant facts:
 
1. I am the only one responsible for how I feel.
No one can make me feel dissatisfied. When I choose to dwell on the negative, on what I feel I deserve, then I will naturally feel dissatisfied. And just as I can make the choice to dwell on the negative, I can choose to focus on the positive as well. The positive may not always be about my husband or my circumstances. The positive often has to do with the second significant fact . . .

2. Christ is the only One who can truly satisfy my soul longings.
Actually, I had realized that in my journal writings because the very next line read . . .

“Lord, help me to accept that fact. Help me to see that there is no Prince Charming—only the Prince of Peace.”
That was the beginning of an important turning point for me in my marriage. I was finally waking up to the truth that my husband should never be my knight in shining armor idol.*
I may have quit believing that lie way back when, but I still feel almost daily the temptation to look to Gary (or for that matter at a myriad of things) for my soul satisfaction. Thankfully, God also reminds me daily that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

In other words, I’ve found the best way—the only way—to fill that heart hunger is in Christ alone.
“…And I pray that you, being rooted established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV)
“The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.’” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)
*By the way, wishing for a “knight in shining armor” is not limited to women only. Men do their fair share of looking to a woman or two to fill the void. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger!


  • Oh Beth, I LOVE this post! The best part about focusing on Christ as our soul satisfaction is that it frees our husbands from the restrictions that expectations put on them. When I release Bryan from my expectations, he surprises me over and over! Of course, it is an ongoing process for me – sometimes I find myself looking to Bryan when I should be looking to Christ. But, that doesn’t last long before the dissatisfaction reminds me that I am being unreasonable….. Thanks so much for this very important post!!! 🙂 *hugs*

  • Thanks, Stacey! You’re right about how having our focus on Christ frees our spouses from unreasonable expectations. When we don’t we usually end up in a very messy marriage or…divorce!

  • What great thoughts!! So true, and I’ve found that it’s by realizing these truths that real peace comes. Thanks for the post. I really needed it today…even if my man hasn’t been acting like a prince b/c he’s under so much stress right now, I need to go beyond my feelings and treat him like one…or at least try. 🙂

  • I LOVE this post!!! Number two is one that I wish I could get through my own brain. Why do i constantly think that others can play that part that was made for only HIM to fill?!

  • It is hard isn’t it? When you are completely deflated from your old ways of thinking and realize that love in itself is false. The only way to truly live and show love is to do it through Him.

    I love my husband…it is more than the physical, it is my complete being intertwined with him.

    Thank you for your words…I don’t believe it was nonsense – just insightful.

    Embrace His blessings,

    Mrs. M.

  • A daily lesson to learn over and over and over again, huh?! 🙂 Thank you for the reminder.

  • amen and amen!

  • So so so true. So often I need to get on my knees and let the Lord fill my empty spots and not look to my husband for that. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  • “no Prince Charming—only the Prince of Peace.”

    nice, very nice phrase and needed epiphany

  • so many women need to read this, friend… well said. xo

  • beautiful post!:)
    well done:)

  • Anonymous

    Bravo! You learned this early on in your marriage. I was blessed to have a mom who talked to me about marriage from a realistic point of view. I never expect my hubbie to be a prince. We have been married 45 years and I contribute part of our longevity to my mom. Part of our responsibility as parents is to prepare our kids for this Godly union. We can talk to them about marriage but best of all is to just live it. It is ok for our kids to see the mess in our marriage and how we manage it as long as we are prayerfully honest about our own part in the mess. Our daughter has been married 20 years and our son has been married 10 years. We are a family of messy marriages and with God’s help we hang in there.

    45 Years and counting…DS

  • Beth, I just LOVE how your passion for marriage is expressed through such honesty and love for working out faith. Thank you Jesus for Beth’s love for you, her husband and for us sisters!

  • beautiful post!:)
    well done:)

  • “no Prince Charming—only the Prince of Peace.”

    nice, very nice phrase and needed epiphany

  • A daily lesson to learn over and over and over again, huh?! 🙂 Thank you for the reminder.

  • Goldsmith

    Hate to break it to you, darl, but God’s love is every bit as fake and self-delusional as romantic love – both religion and romance are myths. In fact, religion and romantic love are the two dominant cultural myths of Western civilisation. Hope you wake up to the phoniness of spirituality too – then you’ll truly be set free!

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