Prince Charming’s Not a Fairytale; He’s a Myth (Guest Post)


The lovely and talented  Lisa-Jo  (The Gypsy Mama) offered to write a post for me during my whatever-the-heck-aches-and-pains-headache-thing I have going on.  She’s great.  Here it is, enjoy…

When my husband grabs our sons amidst shrieks of delight and tackles them with love and outlandish wrestling maneuvers en route to bed my heart wants to jump out of my body and do the happy dance.

He is their hero. I love that they get that. But he was mine first, even if it took me a while to figure that out.

My husband is not tall. He is, however, dark and handsome. But that’s where his resemblance to the Prince Charming of my favorite books and movies ends. It’s not that I expected him to swashbuckle, ride a horse or sport a suit of armor.  My newly-married Prince Charming expectations were more subtle than that.

It’s taken me years to unravel and escape them.

I expected that a husband would intuitively know what I was thinking without needing to be told. I sulked when he couldn’t figure out what I wanted him to do and then sulked some more when he didn’t understand why I was sulking. I resented his inability to understand my whims. And no matter what his own day was like, I expected he would arrive home when the mood occurred to me just in time to sweep me off my feet with flowers and candlelight.

I did not expect all the extra dirty socks and dishes.

Because I had unwittingly bought what the movies were selling – silver screen romantic perfection wrapped up in the ability to please every unspoken desire in a neat 120 minute package – I was disappointed. I was also blind to the fact that I had reduced my husband to a means for accomplishing my own ends; whether those were candlelight dinners or simply involved a thorough cleaning of the bathroom. Either way, my happily ever after was not going as smoothly as expected.

My wake up call came in the midst of a loud and familiar argument about his failure to understand me when he yelled, “Well if that’s what you wanted me to do, why didn’t you just SAY SO in the first place.”

“Because that’s NOT ROMANTIC!” I yelled back.

And there it was staring me in the face. The choice. To be real or to be movie grade mysterious. The choice to be direct or to manipulate. The choice to come down from my tower, stop feigning distress, and meet him as an equal participant in our story. Or to make us both unhappy.

Slowly, grudgingly, I chose to share. I opened up my stash of secret wishes and spelled them out for him. And under his scrutiny, they did not melt. No, in his hands they became real. Suddenly, he didn’t have to imagine what I was thinking or feeling, what I hoped about our future or wanted him to say to me when I was sad. He had a roadmap. And so he could come to my rescue so much quicker and more efficiently than before.

It embarrassed me at first to be so open and direct. It made me feel vulnerable. But all I lost in the process was some of the weight of my pride – and let’s face it, who can’t stand to lose a few of those pounds. Don’t let the books put one over on you, happily ever after is a heck of a lot of work. And marriage is the equivalent of The Shred for getting your faith in shape.

But when you do the work you wake up one day and find despite (or perhaps because of) the aches and pains that the man you married has grown into the man who makes your heart want to do the happy dance. He understands you because you worked hard to let him. He cherishes you because you’ve shared how much that matters. He unpacks the dishwasher because he knows it’s your least favorite chore. And right there, that’s what I now recognize as romance. And I discovered that it’s only when you’re not demanding it, that you find it staring you right in the face.


Lisa-Jo is South African by birth and American by marriage. She writes about life lived in between countries, callings and kids at She and her husband have two young sons who color their lives and complicate their frequent travel.  You can follow her on Twitter @thegypsymama and subscribe to her blog here.

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37 Coffee Talks on “Prince Charming’s Not a Fairytale; He’s a Myth (Guest Post)”

  1. bmolavi says:

    Thanks for sharing! I really like the way you put it. . .
    and this is something I have to work really hard because i'm not a very open person. . .
    thinking that the other people read my mind runs in the family :D

  2. Larie says:

    I agree with the embarrassing thing about saying what you want. It's hard because I sometimes think that I don't deserve to make requests. Not by my husband's doing, but just by something in me.

    .-= Larie´s last blog post … …of released, but not free =-.

  3. Jann says:

    I never post a comment on a site but was compelled to after reading this post. I feel as though you wrote this especially for me. Just today I had that same argument you spoke of and now here I am getting the advice that I needed. THANK YOU for sharing your words and your life experience. I'm sure there are many of us women who can relate. I just love the sisterhood and comfort of visiting this website and being among women speaking to women, sharing their life experiences and instead of judging each other listening and learning.

    God Bless!

  4. Debbie says:

    Oh how sweet! Thank you for writing it out loud – I can SO relate to it – felt like you were peeking in on my life. What a great reminder – example – exhortation! "Prince Charming" must die… =)
    .-= Debbie´s last blog post … The Work of Your Hands =-.

  5. Meegs says:

    I can totally relate to the "romantic" view! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights. You write SO beautifully and I always look forward to your posts!

  6. Heather says:

    What a wonderful post! Exactly what I have been learning for awhile, and it's so freeing! :)

  7. Terra says:

    oh this was wonderful and how wonderful that when you opened up he let you in, he listened and he acted…he is a prince in my book.
    .-= Terra´s last blog post … Wordless Wednesday (kind of) =-.

  8. Brooke4Him says:

    This isn't a discussion unfortunately but something I need some help with. Is anyone else seeing 2 "Like a Warm Cup of Coffee" heading on the main page with the pictures and links and everything? I can't read the top of the text because of the extra graphic. Any help would be great! I'd love to chime in on the discussions. Blessings.

    • SarahMae says:

      Click on “Compatibility View” (an icon right after the URL that looks like a piece of paper ripped in half) and that should fix it immediately. It’s an Internet Explorer (IE) issue (seriously, why are you still on IE anyway? Firefox baby!).

  9. Corinne says:

    This is fantastic :) I giggled when I read your "But it's not romantic!" line. We've all been there! I still struggle with the prince charming phenomenon. But you're right, when we're more honest with each other our relationships really then start to flourish.
    Great post!
    .-= Corinne´s last blog post … Our Graceland =-.

  10. HisFireFly says:

    Well said, well said!!

    How did we ever come to believe that we would marry mind readers? We have tended to put our men into no win situations time and time again. They can not give us what they have no way of knowing we want.

    Thanks for sharing.
    .-= HisFireFly´s last blog post … Tuesdays Unwrapped – Lingering =-.

  11. LeAnna says:

    Oh, this was excellent! I think every newly married young woman should read this, because it is SO true. We women can be quite selfish with our ideals, and far from realistic. Part of the learning process, though not always a fun one, very rewarding none the less. :)

  12. I am also guilty of not asking for what I want, then sulking when he doesn't understand. And yes, sadly. Sulking more when he doesn't understand why I'm sulking. *LOL*

    This is such a great piece, and I think it can give many of us some insight into our marriages.
    .-= Jac @ Wuzzlemakesthree´s last blog post … With Love From Lil Fingers =-.

  13. Lisa Grace says:

    I have been working on this very thing! It's so true that it makes us vulnerable. It opens us up to all kind of disappointments and hurts … but that openness also creates the beautiful potential to receive more than we ever have and to pour out more freely than ever before.
    .-= Lisa Grace´s last blog post … Robbing People: A Past Time of the Christian Woman? =-.

  14. Tyra says:

    I totally agree that the whole "prince charming" idea can get taken to far and cause us to expect too much alot of times. But I would also like to point out from experience that I have felt what it's like to be on the other side of that and be the person who shares everything only to have it trampled on and the husband take sides with others outside of the marriage.(in my case, in-laws who were seeking to destroy it) We are thankfully working on some of those problems now but it's a long, hard road and I just wanted to be honest and point out that it can happen that way as well in case others who are reading are thinking, 'I've tried that and my husband didn't respond that way.'
    I hope this doesn't sound like I'm just trying to be disagreeable because that's definitely not my intention and I did enjoy reading your post very much! And what you said about re-adjusting your expectations is still true, even in our circumstances……it just has taken longer for us to get through some things. :-)
    .-= Tyra´s last blog post … Working For Good? =-.

  15. Kathy says:

    Excellent post, LisaJo. Your writing touches and inspires me.

  16. Lisa-Jo, I love this post! It took me almost 10 years of marriage to figure some of these things out – and it has made all the difference in the world!!

  17. thegypsymama says:

    Thanks for the feedback ladies; there's nothing better than sharing fellowship over a cup of coffee. Thanks to Sarah Mae for the chance to join in with you all.

    Ok, a few more thoughts:

    Jann – I'm so glad this post spoke to you. Because when I was hesitating last night about whether or not to share, I figured if just one other woman could relate it would have been worth it. You are SO my one, today!

    Debbie – "Prince Charming must die" is now my favorite comment of the day! LOL!

    Terra – You're sweet. Actually he pointed out to me that when I came to share the post with him he was actually folding laundry. Now there's the definition of romantic in my book!

    Corrine – Yea, "romance" is such an artificially generated idea these days – I blame the movies!

    Jac – Early on in my marriage I could have won the olympic gold medal in sulking!

    Tyra – Thanks so much for sharing your perspective. Coffee talk is no good without hearing from many different voices. And you are right – there's no "one-size-fits-all" marriage advice. So community is so wonderful – it gives us a chance to learn from many who have traveled the same road at different times.
    .-= thegypsymama´s last blog post … Prince Charming’s Not a Fairytale; He’s a Myth =-.

  18. Brooke4Him says:

    I loved this post too and loved the part about feeling embarassed about communicating your needs / thoughts. I know for me, sometimes I feel silly because the things I'm upset about make a lot of sense to me until they come out of my mouth and that's when I realize how unfair or lofty they can be. (Not always but sometimes) Asking myself, "How would this sound if I said it out loud?" is a great way to catch myself in a bad thinking patter before it gets to my husband. Thanks!!

  19. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sarah Mae, Lisa-Jo. Lisa-Jo said: Prince Charming is my nemesis! Guest post over at the lovely @sarahmaeblogs Come hang with me there [...]

  20. So beautifully written and expressed. The older I get the more I realize my experiences, feelings, and expectations as a newly married woman were not so different from so many others.

    What you have expressed is so true. So many women don't take the time to dismantle the myths to discover the treasured husband hidden beneath. I'm so glad you did.
    .-= Kristine McGuire´s last blog post … I See Dead People =-.

  21. Lisa-Jo – what a great post! yes, the real drama begins at home, off the silver screen. It is still hard to verbalize, esp. when a perfectly romantic moment hits me, but it's darting past my Prince Charming. ;) But, I figure, he'll learn over time. And he has. slowly… LOL.
    .-= Bonnie Gray | FaithBarista´s last blog post … Movie Magic: The Hand Of Life =-.

  22. thegypsymama says:

    Larie and Brooke4him – I was even embarrassed to admit in this post that I had been embarrassed!

    Mary – Ten years has been the magic number for us as well!

    bmolavi and HisFireFly – I think that thinking other people can read our minds is also a big part of being a woman! It's hard to kick it to the curb and give a prince the benefit of the doubt!

    Kristine – "Dismantle the myths" I love that. Beautiful image. Thanks.
    .-= thegypsymama´s last blog post … Prince Charming’s Not a Fairytale; He’s a Myth =-.

  23. Great Post! This is so true and so important to learn and relearn and learn again!!!!!!!! It is hard to get over that initial "…but if I tell him, then it won't be romantic" thought. The sad part is that by not letting him into your desires you deprive yourself of the blessings that could come if you would just be open! I completely relate.
    .-= Desiring Virtue´s last blog post … Willing to Be Weak =-.

  24. Cassandra says:

    My hubby and I also struggle with this because I read a lot of romance novels when I was younger. It really distorts women's expectations of men!
    .-= Cassandra´s last blog post … 5 days until the craziness begins… =-.

  25. Traci says:

    I TOTALLY agree and LOVED this post! You had me laughing, nodding my head, crying, laughing some more, crying some more!

    Oh how women need to hear this!

    .-= Traci´s last blog post … Alcohol And The Believer; Should They Mix? =-.

  26. Allie Z says:

    Expectations that go unsaid will go unmet. That's our household quote that I constantly have to remind myself of! I regularly don't speak up as I'm too busy taking care of the hubby and kiddos. Who has time to speak up? :) Well sometimes I just have to make it happen, find the words, and then find the right time to chat about it- like at 1/2 time, not during kick off!

    Lisa-Jo, thanks for a great article. It's also nice to see you perusing the comments and responding. Very cool.


  27. Such wisdom!! Thanks for illustrating so beautifully that Prince Charming is just the cardboard cutout, and our husbands are the living, breathing, flesh-and-blood REAL THING! We got the better deal!! Cinderella can have the handsome prince–I'll keep my very own handsome love-of-my-life who is not "easy" in the Prince Charming way, but is so powerfully pursuing God and who is SO on my side it takes my breath away! He is a son of the King, which is infinitely better than any fairytale prince!!
    .-= Shaunie Friday´s last blog post … Living Color in a Greyscale World =-.

  28. Shelley Zebrowski says:

    Thank you for sharing, I could not have put it so eloquently.

  29. wendylu says:

    Oh my, isn't this a timely reminder of how easy it is to blame, blame, blame (and negatively compare) while ignoring the log in my eye! :-)

  30. Shannon says:

    This is FABULOUS!! Here's a thought I would love some feedback on: I have an almost 3 year old who is in LOVE with Disney princesses (she has only heard me tell her the stories, hasn't even seen all the movies!) which launched our "you can pray for your prince to come someday – right now"-talk. But how can we de-mystify and simplify our role in discovering and allowing our Prince Charming's to be who God created them to be for us? It's hard enough for me to unwrap myself from society's yarn about Prince Charming- let alone for me to figure out how to teach it to my little one. Thoughts? Applications? Let me have 'em! =) Thanks!

    • SarahMae says:

      Shannon – great question! I would (personally) start by cutting out any Disney princess movies – they feed the myth. I would read/tell her stories about Ruth and Boaz, Esther and Xerxes, Abraham and Sarah, etc. Tell her that we are all sinners, and her husband will be too, but we can pray for a good man. As she gets older, have her search out the things that make a good man – a good work ethic, a leader, compassionate, gentle, strong, etc. Point out these things in her daddy. Have her daddy talk to her about a good man. In fact, the more time and discipleship her own daddy gives her, the more she will want to choose a good, real man. :)

  31. Excellent post and so so true!! It has taken years of marriage to finally realize that hubs cannot read my mind! And I have that sulking thing down! I have to get over myself and let hubby know what I want – he wants me to be happy. But I have also had to ask him to clearly spell out what he thinks and expects. Sometimes I find that I haven't been "reading his mind" quite as well as I thought! :)
    .-= Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates´s last blog post … Works-For-Me-Wednesday: Hosting Holiday Meals =-.

  32. Encantada de la vida says:

    Shannon, I just wanted to share a little in regards to your comment about Disney princesses. I think one of the reasons we want so much to be a princess, is because deep inside we are really looking forward to the day we will meet our True Prince, Jesus. I've recently been studying Esther in a Beth Moore study at my church. In the areas Xerxes falls short as Esther's king, the Lord powerfully and overwhelming fills that void. There are multiple references throughout scripture of how we are a "royal priesthood, a holy nation"(I Peter 2:9-10). Revelation 1:6 says, "(He) has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever.." Sister, we do have royalty in our blood, through Christ…and we just need to point our favor in the right direction. Wouldn't it be sweet to see your daughter's devotion to Prince Charming someday be turned towards her devotion to King Jesus?

  33. thegypsymama says:

    Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you Encantada de la vida for so beautifully putting into words what I have been having a hard time expressing. I wanted to respond to Shannon too – but you have done it much more gracefully and profoundly. I am writing down those references for myself now! Thanks!

    .-= thegypsymama´s last blog post … Message in a Bottle =-.

  34. This is exactly what I needed to hear at this exact moment! Bless you, Lisa-Jo!

  35. [...] Prince Charming’s Not a Fairy Tale, He’s a Myth @ Like A Warm Cup of Coffee had some interesting thoughts as well. I love romance movies and fiction, especially Christian historical fiction and even before my reading time dwindled due to children, I had been cutting back because I found that I was getting unrealistic expectations and ideas. [...]

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