Posts tagged Prince Charming

My child, listen to what I say…tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.

Cry out for insight, 
and ask for understanding.

Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.


Then you will understand what is right… and you will find the right way to go.

For wisdom will enter your heart,
 and knowledge will fill you with joy…

Proverbs 2:1-11 NLT

My dear girls,

Once upon a time… I thought loving a man was simple.

I was so sure of myself— certain I knew what to do, how to be. I’d read the fairy tales; admired Rapunzel’s allure, seen the Beauty love the Beast back to himself, watched in wonder as Snow White came fully alive.

I could do this too. I could love a man and keep on loving him for a lifetime. Our love would be so full and so generous and so beautiful as to wrap us up in romance forever and ever.

And I was wrong. I fumbled from the get-go. A month into our marriage I knew my methods weren’t working the way I’d thought they would. My formulas were falling apart and I didn’t know what to do... so I just did the best I could. And it wasn’t enough.

Now, thirty-five years of loving later…  I know why my loving fell short.

And it wasn’t because of lack of effort— I tried hard. I read books and watched people and did all the things I thought I ought to do.

Plain and simple, my loving fell short because of it was mostly about me. About me being loving and loveable and alluring. About me loving him so fiercely that he couldn’t help but return my love with passion and loyalty forever.

And when Phil failed to respond to all my ferocious loving the way I’d been so sure he would…

I got mean.

I got defeated.

I got mad.

I got hurt.

A lot of I messing up the romance I'd imagined. 

Here is the amazing beauty of our Redeemer in the midst of our messiness…

He let’s us fail.

He let me fail. And in that failure, He began to teach me the first lessons of brokenness, of what it means to find my hope and delight and joy in my real Prince Charming.

In Jesus.

In those days of defeated loving, I stumbled upon a jewel of a book. It’s still one of my treasured favorites, written by a man who knew what he was talking about- Roy Hession. In The Calvary Road, he wrote:

The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self is broken.  This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights,  and seeks its own glory, at last bows its head to God’s will, admits its wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory— that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all.

In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes.

As this stubborn, perfectionist, idealist, determined woman began to yield and break and die, something strange occurred in my soul.

A desire began to grow; a pulsing, driving desire to love my husband for the sake of my Savior. Not for me and what I expected to receive in return— but just for the One who was so tenderly drawing me close to Himself.

Rather than renew my self-efforts of trying so hard to love the way I thought I should, He began to teach me how to love my husband His way.

And that led me to understand why my loving had not produced the response I’d expected.

In one word: ignorance.

I didn’t have a clue how to love a man— my man— the way God had designed him to be loved. All that work and I was missing it!

And I think I’m not alone in my ignorance. I think most women are missing it— not by a mile, but by just a few millimeters of mis-done loving. We’re loving in the ways we know how and wondering why it’s not enough. Why our men don’t act and feel lavishly loved by us.

And then, as women are prone to do, we think there must be something wrong with him.

Of course.

And all this defeat over not quite getting it right, and wondering why and what’s wrong with him and with me and with us, led me to that age-old invitation imbedded in the book of James:

If any of you is deficient in wisdom,

let him ask of the giving God (who gives) to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding,

and it will be given to him.

James 1v5 Amplified Bible

That’s me!

Deficient in wisdom.

Ignorant and knowing it.

Falling far short of the kind of love I’d always imagined would wrap my man’s heart up tight.

And so I went searching. I asked this giving-God for wisdom.  I asked Him how to love my man for His sake.

And do you know, my dear girls, He just started pouring it on! Words and phrases, verses and stories, snatches of insight here and there that are opening my eyes to see the way to loving a man well. To loving my man well.

But the best discovery of all has been the simplicity of God’s way. Not as in easy to do— but as in easy to know.

Going back over and over to the Scriptures, asking Him for wisdom, searching for the treasures there, I’d hoped to find a whole long list of ways to love a man well.

I found only four.  Four ways the Creator of men specifically directs women to love their husbands.  Not 101— just four. Yet within those four ways He designed our men to be loved, are hundreds and thousands of possibilities.

And so, over the next several weeks- all summer, probably— that’s what we’ll be talking about here on Mondays. And for just a hint of what’s ahead… here are the four:

Sexuality and friendliness and help and respect…

Be his lover, be his friend, be his partner, be his admirer.

I can hardly wait to get this conversation started...because, after all these years, I’m finally understanding how my husband needs to be loved by me. And guess what? He’s eating it up! As in responding like… well, like a well-loved man.

From my heart,


Okay girls, whether you're married or still waiting for the right one and the right time, now is the time to learn how to love a man God's way. Can you tell us what you know? Or who you've seen do this well? I'm hoping for some guest posts from women who've become experts in the art of loving wisely.


A week after Phil broke up with me he proposed.

It was, he explained later, the longest week of his life. He couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, could hardly function. Even though we’d planned this break up for a month— after praying for peace and finding only worry— the intensity of his emotions took him by surprise.

And so he did what he’d been taught to do: he sought counsel. First he talked to the other pastors he worked with. Mostly they just laughed at his concerns. The age difference? No bother. The idea of marrying a partner in piano playing? Nonsense! That covered, they offered to cancel staff meeting and go buy the ring!

He began to wonder if maybe he’d made a mistake.

Next he took my dad out to lunch. Not, he assured him, to ask his permission to marry me. But if he did decide what would my dad’s response be? What did he think?

My dad just laughed and enjoyed the free lunch.

Then Phil called his parents. His mom was all for it, more than ready for her middle son to make up his mind. Her only question was, do you love her? When Phil couldn’t stop talking about how much and all the reasons why she, too started to laugh. His dad agreed. Time to ask her, son.

Still, Phil worried. What about just knowing?

I was oblivious to the drama. The breakup, as far as I could see was final. And so I spent my days trying to reimagine my life- sad, but determined to set my wobbly feet on that Solid Rock we’d sung about.

The reality for me was that practically from the day we’d started dating I’d been holding my breath, hoping to marry Phil. He was everything I wanted and then some. I loved the vision he painted for me of a life lived completely and entirely sold out to God.

Serving along side this man would be the highest honor.

There was not the slightest doubt in my mind that I loved Phil with the kind of love that happens only rarely. I knew I wanted to spend every moment of the rest of my life loving him. Sure, I had worries about certain parts of him... there was that moodiness that caught me off guard sometimes. And the pace he set for himself made me wonder how I'd keep up. But I'd looked those things square in the face of reality and decided I could deal with those glitches. Or at least I thought I could. Because my deep respect for him as a man, as a person, as a follower after God, overshadowed the rough edges that I was pretty sure would poke from time to time.

Once when he’s asked me point blank if I had any doubts, I’d wavered between my self-protective tendency to pretend and the truth. Dare I let him know how deeply I loved him? Wouldn’t that be humiliating? Shouldn’t I just act like I wasn’t sure either in order to save face?

In what was for me a great leap of faith, I told him the truth. Even now I remember that swallowing of pride, then the great rush of trust that I had done what the Father asked of me. I could sense God’s approval even as my face flamed with the admission.

No, there was no doubt whatsoever. I wanted to marry Phil.

I still don’t know what finally changed Phil’s mind. Neither does he.

Maybe we both had more surrendering to do. Maybe he had to count the cost of trusting God for the less-than-absolutely-perfect-ideal. Maybe I had to let go of him in order to begin the journey to learning that “I dare not trust the perfect frame but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.”

All I really know is that as soon as he asked, I said YES!

And do you remember what I hinted at in the first part of our story? Early on in our relationship Phil set a high standard for physical boundaries in order to protect both my purity and his own integrity.

Lots and lots of affection…

With purposeful restraint of passion.

For us, what that amounted to was no kissing. Okay, maybe a peck on the cheek from time to time— but none of that lip-locked, hot and heavy, body-entangling kind of kissing.

But when he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him, making a commitment to love and protect and cherish and lead and provide for me… that’s when he kissed me for the first time.

Magic. Beautiful, melting, magic.

And I know that sounds corny. I know that no one does that. I know its kind of… strange.

But for us… for the hope of our future… for the kind of all-in-forever romance we both craved— it was just the right way.

Tomorrow I’ll finally get us to the alter… and then we can begin this series…

Together we'll commence the conversation and the teaching and the learning about why ... and what to do... with the absolutely true fact that…

He’s Not Your Prince Charming.

From my heart,



Some time ago a young woman I am close to asked me that haunting question,

 “How do I know he’s the one?” 

She’d thought the decision to get married should have been easier or at least clearer. Here she was, after months and months of dating a really great guy, still unsure, still not knowing if he was the one.

Why didn’t she know?

Did that not knowing constitute an answer in itself?

Shouldn’t she know by now?

On and on the confusion spilled out in a frustrating and peace eluding expression of angst.

My young friend wanted to know and the not knowing had left her paralyzed, uptight, and anxious.

It strikes me that those of us who live and move in the midst of our ultra-romantic, destiny driven church culture have some really crazy ideas about marriage.

We’ve got Prince Charming standing in for this elusively named The One and we expect him to come charging into our lives on his white steed.

Crazy as it sounds, rather than feeling kidnapped, we’re supposed to miraculously know he’s HIM!

No wonder the world thinks we’re nuts- maybe we are!

A century or so ago, a wise Amish woman came up with a simple saying to help people who want to know. 

Choose your love

Love your choice.

And that, my dear friends, is reality. We get to choose. As in, make a decision.

And as with every well-made decision, we need to ask ourselves questions—lots and lots of questions. The kinds of questions that make us think and utilize that often-neglected left side of the brain God gave us.

A little less romanticizing and a lot more reasoning.

And so I went about writing down some questions for my friend. Questions meant to probe her heart and her mind.

Questions to help choose her love so that she could spend the rest of her life loving her choice.

If you’re contemplating that How do I know? Question right now, why don’t you peruse these questions? There is no such thing as two perfectly suited people, but there is such thing as two really mismatched people. These questions are designed to make you think, to force you into honesty, and to help you choose well.

From my heart,


Dear ******

These questions to ask yourself- not some sort of interview form. They are meant to probe your heart and gauge the potential for oneness in every area of your lives. And because I believe that oneness is God’s goal for marriage, these questions are intended to help you discern how easy or how difficult that might be for you and ****.

Oneness is never easy. And conflict is inevitable, no matter how hard we work to avoid it.

If the conflict is not harmful to your soul, and if both of you are softened by it, then the conflict can actually be good.

If the areas of conflict require too great of changes in your personalities and goals and in the vision you each have for your lives, then it ruins that trust-filled haven your lives together must be in order for you each to flourish.

And yet two people can be vastly different in their personalities and approaches and yet “just click” in such a way that it is as if two broken pieces come together to make a whole.

That is what a great marriage looks like— two distinctly different people fitting together to become one.

But because marriage is about more than logic, first I think you need to ask your heart a few questions…

  • Are you flat out head-over-heals, can’t live without him in love with him? As in… the rest of your life no-matter-what?
  • Are you at home with him? At rest? Able to show your whole self without shame? Confident? Real?
  • Do you trust him? To cover for you, to be faithful to you, to be transparently honest with you, to hide nothing from you?
  • Are you “more yourself” with him in his presence or do you shut down certain parts of you?
  • Do you flourish with him?

If you’re still on board, here are some real life areas where people rub up against each other on a daily basis.  Use this as more of an over all check list than a test to gauge that impossible ideal of perfection.


  • Does he have some sort of vision for his life? If not, is he on the way to discovering that vision by actively seeking God and asking people and looking at his strengths and passions?
  • Can you embrace that vision? Pouring all of who you are into it?
  • Can you see yourself as a help to him? Can he?
  • How much involvement will he want of you in his career/calling?
  • Are you okay with that? Excited?
  • Would you be willing to lay aside your own ambitions to help him succeed?
  • Would he respect and value your part in God’s plan for his future?


  • Do you track with his insights?
  • Does he understand yours?
  • Do you love to pray with him?
  • Does he bring out the best in you spiritually?
  • Encourage you?
  • Remind you of the Truth and right thinking?
  • Does he know more about doctrine (Truth) and theology (who God is and how He works) than you do?
  • If not, is he learning so ferociously that he will soon by-pass you in knowledge?
  • Does he take from his storehouse of Scriptural truth and apply it to problems, concerns, and purposes?
  • Are his goals Scripturally based?
  • Are you excited at the prospect of throwing yourself behind his goals and helping him with all your intelligence and creativity and gifts?
  • Does he respect your viewpoint? Welcome your input? Listen to you?
  • Will you have a common goal? What is it?


  • What are his financial aims? Is he taking steps now to achieve those aims?
  • Do you trust him to lead in the financial/budget area?
  • Do you trust him to put you and your children’s financial well-being above his own personal needs? To lay down his life for you?
  • Do you trust him to do whatever it takes to provide for you so that you can pour every effort into caring for your family while your children need you at home?
  • Or will he view you as necessary to produce income for your family? Are you okay with that?
  • Does he see his paycheck as both of yours? Making all financial decisions together no matter what?
  • Would he abstain from making a financial decision without your support?
  • Does he see himself as a steward of all that God provides?
  • Can the two of you blend your ideas of an ideal standard of living?


  • What does he do when he gets upset? When he’s under intense pressure? When he’s tired?
  • How does he handle defeat? Discouragement? Obstacles? Disappointments?
  • Can you live with those responses without being hurt/rejected/defensive or brought low by them?
  • Can you live with his flaws without trying to change him?
  • Can you allow him to be fully himself?
  • Can he live with who you really are? Or does he pressure you to be more______ or less ______?
  • Does your way of expressing yourself delight him or does he try to shut you down?
  • Does he humble himself and apologize?
  • Does he freely forgive you when you apologize?
  • Is he transparent with you?
  • Does he admit need?
  • Does he allow you to carefully and respectfully correct him?
  • Does he correct you with gentleness?


  • Are you proud of him?
  • In social settings do you feel the need to prompt him, lead him, explain him?
  • Do you relax in similar ways?
  • Can you allow each other to be different?
  • Do you enjoy the way he celebrates the highs? Can you enter into his joy?
  • Can he enter into your joys?


  • Can you solve problems together in a satisfying way?
  • Can you make decisions together in a satisfying way?


  • Are you attracted to him? Do you find him appealing?
  • Are you drawn to the way he is made-the way he smells, the way he looks, the way he expresses affection?
  • Could you give your body freely to him?
  • Could you delight in him? Could he delight in you?
  • Is there anything about him that repels you?
  • Is he affectionate enough for you? (I’m not talking about passion here, but that day-to-day affection most women crave)
  • Do you feel free and confident in his view of your beauty?
  • Could you grow old with this man and still find him compellingly attractive?
  • Could you grow old with this man and still feel absolutely lovely?

Random considerations:

  • Does he share or at least encourage your kind of learning?
  • Will he continue to educate himself? To learn and grow?
  • Does he look forward to having children?
  • Do you share common goals for what you want to see happen in your children’s lives?
  • Does he have a burning conviction to raise his sons and daughters to love God with passion?
  • Do you have similar ideas about discipline?