Someone You Can’t Live Without

Perhaps DragonHeart isn’t what you think of when someone says the word “fairytale,” but when you grow up with three brothers, you are just as familiar with it as you are with Cinderella. And since it has all the fantastical qualities of a fairytale (an evil king, a dragon that sounds like Sean Connery, and a knight in shining armor who beats Prince Charming any day), we’re going to learn a few things from this masculine fairytale.

The story begins with a battle in which the young prince Einon is critically injured. The queen’s longstanding family history of peace and friendship with the dragon race is the only thing that can save her son.  She swears that her son will not follow in the footsteps of his wicked father, but be trained in justice. Because of her promise, the dragon agrees to give half of his heart to the dying prince. His heart keeps Einon alive. The prince’s life depends on that dragon, not only in the moment when he receives the heart, but throughout the rest of his life. When Einon hurts, the dragon hurts. Einon cannot live without the dragon, nor can he die until the dragon is destroyed. Their lives are intertwined, and their deaths are likewise.

The one quote that has struck me most strongly regarding singleness/dating is the statement made by Shannon Kubiak Primicerio in her book The Divine Dance. “Don’t look for someone you can live with; look for someone you cannot live without.” The thing I find most fascinating about the idea of marriage is the mystery of two people becoming one. They are still two separate people with two different personalities, yet somehow they are as one. When he hurts, she hurts; when’s he’s happy, she’s happy. Their lives are intricately connected in a way that I suppose I will never understand until I’m married.

I’m one of those people who believe that God created me with a certain man in mind. And while He gave me my own heart and own passions, one day, my heart is going to mold perfectly into the heart of another. I’m holding out for that one somebody whose heartbeat matches mine, who hurts when I hurt, and sings when I sing. I’m holding out for the man whose passions compliment mine, who values the things I value, and whose vision comes into alignment with my own. And while I’ve met many guys who I’ve figured I could live with, I’m not settling for something as simple as that. I’m holding out for the man I was created to become one with – the man I cannot live without.

Once Upon a Dream

Flashback into a Disney scene in Sleeping Beauty: It’s a typical fairytale set-up including the woodland creatures skittering about the beautiful forest. Lost in a world that is entirely her own, our fairytale heroine reflects on a dream she had recently experienced. And since this is a Disney film, of course it came out in the form of a song.

I know you
I walked with you once upon a dream
I know you
The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam
Yes, I know it’s true
that visions are seldom all they seem
But if I know you, I know what you’ll do
You’ll love me at once
the way you did once upon a dream

As she’s vocalizing and dancing about to the memory of a dream, her song is suddenly joined by a masculine voice, strong arms wrapping around her waist as her Prince materializes before her eyes. She melts into his embrace and they dance as one, both enraptured by the same dream. It’s so charming, so romantic, so… perfect. This is one of those scenes that elicits the statement: “Walt Disney gave me unrealistic expectations of men.”

Now, I’m pretty sure Walt Disney didn’t set out to crush the hopes of young women everywhere. I know he was an advocate of dreaming big, but I don’t think his intention was to set us up for disappointment. I think it’s our own skewed perspectives that are breaking our hearts. Fairytales weren’t meant to be realistic. I mean, come on, Sleeping Beauty, fairies, magic spells… When’s the last time you pricked your finger on a spindle and fell asleep for a hundred years? And would you really want to watch the movie if Prince Charming had simply walked up to her in that moment and said, “Hey, you’re kind of cute. Want to go out?” Whoo. Exciting.

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute. We’ve taken fairytales to a level they were never meant to achieve. Stop blaming Disney for your heartaches, leave Prince Charming in your dreams, and live as if you believed your life was meant for something far greater.

Bippity, Boppity, Boo

When I say the word “fairytale,” what story pops into your mind? For me, it’s Cinderella. I think that one is the most epic fairytale of all time. There’s just something about that girl who rises from servitude to royalty because of one glorious night at the ball. And we all know where that moment of magic began…

Follow me to a scene in the Walt Disney movie, Cinderella. Her dress has been torn, her dreams have been crushed. We find her sobbing in the garden when her fairy godmother appears. With a few encouraging words, a cheerful tune, and a wave of a wand, Cinderella’s entire world is transformed. For Cinderella, this was the beginning of her happily ever after, and the start of a brand new once-upon-a-time. For the rest of us, it began the fairy godmother fallacy.   

“Where’s my fairy godmother? Wouldn’t it be great if some lady with a wand would come out of the woodwork and help me out a little?” This question is pondered by fairytale characters too.  Have you ever watched the musical Once Upon a Mattress? Princess Winifred stews over the idea of living “happily, happily, happily ever after” while exclaiming that Cinderella had outside help and Snow White had “practically a legion” of dwarves. I think we can all relate with Princess Winifred when she sings, “I wish that happily ever after would happen to me.”  

I just want to take a minute to point out that Cinderella wasn’t looking for her fairy godmother; she was sobbing over a pile of broken dreams. The fairy godmother appeared when the timing was right. Likewise, you don’t have to search for happily ever after. When the timing is right, and only when the timing is right, your dream of Prince Charming will be realized.

It probably won’t come in the form of a fairy godmother, but the fairy godmother from the story is nothing but a personification of a turning in Cinderella’s life. Perhaps it won’t be that blatantly obvious that this is the start of happily ever after, but that point in your life will come nonetheless.

You don’t have to look for it, and you don’t have to spend your life trying to find Prince Charming. When the timing is right, it will suddenly become perfectly clear that happily ever after is happening to you.

Prince Charming: Fact or Fantasy?

Prince Charming. Does that name elicit a romantic sigh or a frustrated grunt from your throat? He’s so charming, so handsome, so perfect, so… not real. Am I right? While Prince Charming is a supremely romantic idea, he never turns out so well in real life. Remember that scene in A Cinderella Story where Hilary Duff tells Chad Michael Murray,

Waiting for you is like waiting for rain in this drought: useless and disappointing.

I think she basically summed it up perfectly. Do you ever feel like the wait is useless? Are you disappointed that your prince hasn’t come yet? Well, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Chad Michael Murray because, unlike in the movie, he’s probably not going to come running after you. Of course, you already know that. After all, Prince Charming is a myth, right? He is nothing but a bedtime story designed to give little girls sweet dreams. In a way, he’s like Santa Claus – all fun and magical… until the day you find out he’s not real. I’ve heard that moment in a child’s life can be pretty devastating. (I can’t talk from personal experience here because my mom had been so disappointed to find out that her parents had lied to her that she never passed this tradition down to her kids.) Truth can be tragic at times.

I truly do believe that Prince Charming is a lot like Santa Claus – a blown-out-of-proportion-bedtime-story fantasy that was originally based on fact. St. Nicholas was real; Santa Claus is not. So what about Prince Charming? Who’s he supposed to be? Could such a magnificent man have ever existed? Continue reading