Prince Charming Cardboard Cutouts

The Notebook Rain Scene

“He’s just not who I pictured myself marrying” a friend recently told me after she just told me all the reasons her man was marriage material.

“Wait—why? What do you mean?” I asked confused.

“Well, I just keep trying to find flaws in him and poke holes in our relationship. He’s just not tall and blonde like I pictured. And we don’t have that can’t-keep-our-hands-off each other chemistry . . . and I’ve had that with other guys.”

We talked for a while and through some verbal processing she was able to recognize she was comparing her boyfriend to, in her words,  a cardboard cutout of Prince Charming. Clearly, he could never win next to this fake, Hollywood icon of husband material. He didn’t sweep in white horses and  save her from all our problems nor did he say, “I wrote you every day for seven years. It wasn’t over for me. It still isn’t over” in the pouring rain (name that movie). She knew she had unrealistic expectations for what marriage should feel like and look like, but this knowledge did nothing to stop her from picking her boyfriend apart.

What is your standard for husband material? Do you have a two-dimensional prince that you compare every shorter, not-so-funny, not-so-rich, and not McDreamy lookalike to? I remember turning down a date with a guy because he had blonde hair! Really? As women, we have a tendency to major on the minors—and overlook the glaring red lights that tell us to run in the other direction.

A good marriage isn’t made by a paycheck, a hair color, a certain height, a ‘funny personality’, or even passionate chemistry. A good marriage isn’t a man who checks all your boxes and has all his ducks in a row (think: 401K, volunteers on the weekends).

A good marriage is a prayer in the middle of the night because you can’t sleep.

A good marriage is someone you can trust with your heart, who will keep the ‘sweet nothings’ between you. And who you can trust with your body.

A good man has a willing heart to admit he’s broken and needs Jesus, instead of huffing and puffing and blowing your house down.

A man with a kind heart to know your wardrobe crisis really has nothing to do with your wardrobe. A man to consider marrying is one you know will look into your daughter’s eyes and affirm them daily of love and beauty, so they don’t run to other men to find that affirmation.

The man you want to marry is one who will tell your son it’s ok to cry, that daddy cries too, and lay a hand on his tiny back to cast away shame.

You want a man who will challenge you to soar to the heights and hold you tight when you scrape against rocky terrain.

I read this on the Good Women Project last week:

“The proverbial “One” is someone who will help me be holier and more human than I am on my own. Not a white knight to rescue me, but a broken, lonely wanderer to come alongside and teach my pride to die. Someone not to mold me in his image or make me feel good, but who will love me enough to let me be myself and challenge me to be more than I am.”

How true that we don’t need rescuing, we need refining. We long for companionship. I cannot tell you how small and inconsequential Michael’s hair color and height are for our marriage. Granted, I did marry my dream of tall, dark and handsome—but isn’t it easy as women to major on the minors? And to completely ignore flashing red lights in a relationship because we’re so caught up in the feelings of it all?

You see the dangers of having a cut-out stowed away of Prince Charming is you might not be able to recognize your prince when he asks you for a date-or even asks for your hand in marriage.

Do you tend to focus on the small things in dating versus the big picture things that make up a good marriage? Share your stories so the group can learn! Has anyone married someone who weren’t particularly attracted to at first or that wasn’t who you pictured marrying? Do share! 

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6 Responses to “Prince Charming Cardboard Cutouts”
  1. Ana Sofia says:

    Please pray for me. I’ve been bummed out on the whole marriage thing lately. Honestly, I feel like it will never happen. Also, if by the grace of Jesus it does, I want to marry someone who is handsome. Just keepin’ it real. :)

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      I will! It can be hard to not get frustrated when it seems like marriage will never happen. Stay strong, sista. You’ll look back on this time and be thankful you had time to yourself:)

  2. Jen says:

    Oh, this is wise. Thanks. And I happened to come across this via Good Women Project…. thanks for reading and linking back to my article! :)

  3. Wairimu says:

    It’s so true about the cardboard cut-out :-) I’m marrying the proverbial the last man left on earth, the most unlikely person in my entire sphere. Yet we have been together for over three years, and even through all the temptests, I am 90% sure that I want to spend the rest of our lives with him.

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