Relationships: Fairy Tale vs. Fact

Old-school Disney movies make me smile.
I occasionally ‘wish upon a star’, and I think the world could use a little more sparkle.
It’s true… I love a good fairy tale!

Fairy tales can be fun in the right context, but I believe our culture has played a huge role in confusing fantasy with fact; especially when it comes to relationships and marriage. An enchanting idea can turn into the biggest disenchantment of a lifetime when unrealistic expectations creep onto the scene of your current or future relationship.

But… all is not lost…. *cue dramatic medieval music*

Come one and all, royals and peasants, for it is time for an epic showdown between
Fairy Tale and Fact!

Shall Truth prevail?!
Shall we slay the mythological dragon of faulty expectations?!

….Ok I’m done. We’ll get serious now. Maybe. Here we go!

Fairy Tale vs. FACT

Fairy Tale:  Blissfully daydream over the list of characteristics you’re looking for in a future partner.

Fact: Your ‘dream guy/girl’ also has a list.

It’s good to have standards- go ahead and make your list! But it’s just as important to realize that your ‘dream guy/girl’ also has a list of things they are looking for in a relationship. So, instead of ONLY focusing on looking for the person worth finding, ask yourself- what are you doing to become the kind of person worth being found?

Fairy Tale: My significant other ‘completes’ me.

Fact: A healthy relationship isn’t about ‘completing’ one another.

I wasn’t only ‘half a person’ before I started dating, or before I got married.  Being single doesn’t make you ‘incomplete’, and neither does being in a relationship make you ‘whole’.   I was single for 23 years, and I wasn’t less of a person because of it. Can I get an ‘AMEN!‘ from my single friends!?  My husband doesn’t “complete” me, and I don’t expect him to meet my every desire, secure my identity, and fulfill my every need.
After all, that’s WAY too much pressure to put on another imperfect human being!
A healthy relationship should consist of two complete people, coming together to inspire and challenge one another in love and respect.

Fairy Tale:  Follow your heart. When you find the right one, you ‘just know’.

Fact:  The heart can be deceitful.  You need more than just a ‘feeling’.

“The heart is deceitful above all things”(Jer.17:9). What a buzzkill for the ‘follow your heart’ crowd!  Having a “feeling” about someone isn’t enough to make a wise decision about whether or not it is wise to commit to them.  Emotions can be a huge blessing, and it’s GOOD to feel love and affection for the person you’re with. However, infatuation comes and goes, so how will you make a commitment based on wisdom?
A decision that will last, regardless of how you ‘feel’ in the moment?
Culture says “follow your heart, but the Lord says ‘follow me’.
How do you know you’re with the right person?  Put Christ first in your relationship, share similar values, pursue a deeper emotional maturity, and receive wise advice from those who have your best interests at heart. That’s a great place to start. Unless, of course, you’d prefer to consult with the butterflies in your tummy.

Fairy Tale:  Spare no expense; you deserve the wedding of your dreams!

Fact:  Being happy on your wedding day has nothing to do with how much money is spent.

Come on, who doesn’t want to make their wedding day $uper $pecial? The average American wedding costs $30,000. Do some research, and you’ll find the average costs of weddings have been increasing. What! Go ahead and call me a penny-pincher, but that is just CRAZY to me! Of course, every couple has a different budget and different goals, but going into debt doesn’t have to be part of the picture.

I’ve seen a miserable bride at her $20,000 wedding, and I’ve seen a bride glowing with happiness at a wedding that cost less than $1,000. Could it be that the biggest diamond doesn’t guarantee the greatest joy? Is it possible that the purpose of a wedding is to celebrate your covenant commitment, not just to impress people for an evening?

I’m not saying it’s wrong to splurge on your wedding day, but I encourage you to make sure your priorities are in check. While planning my own wedding, I received the wise advice to ask myself the following question: “Am I spending more time/money/effort on this wedding than I am on building a solid foundation to this marriage?”  A wonderful wedding day doesn’t happen by accident, and neither does a wonderful marriage. As you plan ahead for ‘the day’, make sure you don’t neglect to plan ahead for ‘the lifetime’.

Fairy Tale: We’ll live happily ever after.

Fact: Happiness is a decision. Love is spelled W-O-R-K.

Story time: I remember the first time I went to IKEA. It was a magical place- the only place in the world where you can buy an uncomfortable futon AND eat Swedish meatballs all under one roof. Welcome to the 21st century. 😉 My parents were buying some new furniture, and I was so excited to have my new loft bed delivered! But when the bed arrived, it didn’t look like a bed at all. It was just a long, skinny cardboard box with a bunch of boards and screws. Bummer! I was so excited about my new bed, but I never realized that beds don’t just magically appear in your bedroom. You have to actually assemble it. Without putting any work into building it, my bed wouldn’t ever really be a bed at all.  Beginning a relationship or a marriage is kind of like taking that trip to IKEA. You might have the image of an ideal marriage in your mind, but there is ‘some assembly required’ to get there.  (…Actually, there’s a LOT of assembly required!)
When two people join together, with their own unique personalities, goals, dreams, and ideas, it’s not always easy. The building blocks are there- two people who love each other and who are committed to faithfulness.  But the “happily” is a choice, and the “ever after” is a work in progress. Love isn’t a single big decision; it’s also a thousand smaller decisions made every single day; having FUN even in the simple things, keeping no record of wrongs, searching for new ways to put the other person’s needs before your own.

What’s one thing you can do right “now” to impact the outcome of your “ever after”?
It’s pretty empowering to realize that you don’t have to be a victim of your emotions or circumstances; you can choose happiness.

And now this epic battle between fantasy and reality has come to a close! Myths were slayed, Truth prevailed, and fairy tales have been banished from relationships and back on the bookshelves where they belong! 😉  (…If only it was that easy, right?)

Thank you for reading! 🙂






  1. I totally love this! I’m a huge fan of the fairy tale, thanks to Disney. But these truth pills are really important (though hard to swallow) 🙂 Thanks for sharing!


  2. Absolutely fantastic read…I love the angle you came at your points from….I, too, love Disney movies, but, absent a healthy dose of reality, they can steer us in completely the wrong direction. So thoughtful of you to share your wisdom…thank you 🙂


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