kissing frogs

From the time a little girl is about five years old (and actively devouring every Disney fairytale she can get her little hands on), she starts thinking about her “Prince Charming”. In the age of innocence, imagination and dreams run wild. We dreamt of tall, dark, and handsome – riding in at sunset on a noble steed. (I’m not sure any of us actually let go of this vision, I mean a girl can dream right?)

Then the inevitable happened. We passed notes urging each other to “check yes or no,” spent fifteen minutes a night talking on the (landline) telephone, and played together at recess. Those little moments turned into semi-formals and first kisses, “real dates” and proms. We found solace in Taylor Swift breakup ballads, and with each heartache found ourselves updating that list we had for our “Prince Charming.” The things we used to like about boys (like what kind of gummy snacks they had to share at lunch time) turned into more tangible qualities – does he have a car? Is he an athlete? How old is he?

Now for those of us who have done our fair share of kissing frogs and dealing with the subsequent fallouts when they turn out to really be just frogs, the perspective has taken a rather distinct shift. For me, that “checklist” i used to find myself checking off? It has been tucked safely away in a box of labeled “nostalgia”. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that the best things often come in the most unexpected packages. I’ve never really had what one might consider a type, although my friends would argue that my “type” is not good enough, jerks, waste of time – but I digress.

In any case, I’ve realized that the traits I used to think were important… Not so much. If we’re being honest with ourselves, there’s a lot more that makes a good man than what kind of car he drives, what his job is (unless he’s like into organized crime or a pimp or something – in that case, think long and hard about that one), or if he has ______ colored hair or is ____ feet tall. I’ve come to realize that the things that make a man aren’t always the lines we read, but rather what is found between them.

I love to joke with my friends that I will be that “aunt” at Christmas who travels the world alone, drinks way too much bourbon, and tells crazy stories. I also {l o v e} to joke that I’m going to marry myself – and remind people that it will be the party of the century. While living alone in a nice house with a golden retriever and an English bulldog does sound like an enticing life… If I ever decide to take the plunge into marriage, I have a few conditions for what I expect my Prince Charming will be like.

My Prince Charming likely won’t be a prince, or probably even really “charming.” I don’t want charming, and I don’t need a prince. I believe in fairy tales, but I believe in writing my own.

My Prince Charming would be a man who makes me forget about the checklist of my younger years. He would be a man who challenges me, pushes me to be better, questions me for my beliefs. He would be a man who knows I don’t need him to hold my hand on every step I take, but will be there to pick my up when I inevitably stumble and lose my footing along the way. My Prince Charming would be my biggest fan, but also my most honest critic. He would be a partner in crime, a confidant, my best friend.

It’s a funny thing though, this whole “growing up” nonsense. We grow up and continue to shift our “list” of expectations of a dream man. The list grows smaller and smaller, but not because our expectations are shrinking… If anything our expectations continue to grow – our willingness to settle is what shrinks. I’ve always been an advocate of falling in love with yourself first When you know yourself you are empowered, but when you accept yourself you are invincible. When you know your worth, you know you are not meant to be anyone’s half-time, down-time, spare-time, or sometimes. You learn to trust in God’s timing, that he has a bigger plan for you. (And probably read and reread Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Is it always easy? Hell no. If someone tries to convince you that they never question if they will find “the one” are they lying? Most likely. But there comes a time we have to make the choice between being in control and settling, or letting go and taking life as it comes. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather take the risks and fall down from time to time than live a life wondering “what if.” 

Besides, Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress.