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Relationships Are Not Fairy Tales

I have always loved fairy tales. But not for the reason most seem to like them. I have always thought the fairy tale cliches of love at first sight, dreams do come true, and being saved from a hard life by a handsome Prince were stupid.

"But isn't that what fairy tales are all about? A magical way to dream of true love?"

I like real fairy tales because I see them a stories full of virtue and lessons.

I don't see a story fascinating when it's about a girl falling in love because she finds her heart unable to beat steady because she just saw wind whip over a rugged face and deep blue eyes.

To me, that's not a real fairy tale, but something that Disney has made us think is the real deal. To me a fairy tale is synonymous for a moral tale — a short story about people learning lesson in a radical, shocking way often with a touch of fantasy to thrill us as we learn something valuable. Often where one would expect magic there will be gruesome horror. But the darkness isn't what fascinates me — it's the truth pulled out of the darkness that has me reading whole volumes of original fairy tales by George MacDonald, The Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Anderson.

But why is it so important what we think of fairy tales. "Why can't I just enjoy a silly story about a girl falling in love at first sight? And what's so bad if I do believe that's possible?"

Because everything matters.

I say I write contemporary and fairy tale, that I write about real people dealing with hard things and the solution lie in answers wrapped around bitterness or hope.

I want to break the idea that fairy tales are about romance. Because they aren't. Fairy tales are a search to find something crucial while being buried under a fantastical tale. These sort of stories leave one inspired to live in real life. To be noble and virtuous.

But modern Disney fairy tales are dangerous because it promotes dreaming of the impossible to such an extent that one loses all touch with reality. They promote selfishness over virtue. They promote lust over love.

It leads girls to thinking, "If only my prince would find me — He'd love me always and we'd live happily ever after." 

But . . . a guy can't make a girl happy any more than a girl can change a bad boy into a good man.

These lies that are in modern fairy tales are ruining girls' minds. "If only . . . but dreams do come true. So I'll keep dreaming. Someday I'll find happiness, I'll never stop dreaming." 

Dreaming is fine as long it's not an excuse to escape the present. 

Dreams are dangerous when you finally marry and you find they have distorted reality. For not only is your husband not a valiant Prince brandishing shining armor and always favoring you with deep, adoring eyes, he's a man that needs a help meet. He needs you to love him, too. And he's human. And loving is suddenly so much harder when you'd rather be alone to read a good romance.

Biblically speaking, hoping for a man to sweep you off your feet isn't realistic. Not that romance isn't biblical. But fairy tale romance isn't.

Real romance goes deeper than attraction. It doesn't start with an intense gaze between two pairs of riveting eyes. It starts with a choice to love and serve another person over oneself.

Real romance isn't about a guy saving a girl or a girl saving a guy — only God can save us. 

It's good to want a good guy. Desires for a good romance are healthy. But none of this is an excuse to pine away for TOMORROW. Modern fairy tales lie to women by telling them they can't live life completely until they find their "other half".

But that's not true. Girls, we are supposed to live every moment full. NOW is when we can be content. NOW is when we can be happy, do good, give love.

It is completely possible to be fully happy TODAY as we hope for SOMEDAY

It is possible to love life now as you dream of a future marriage. Just make sure that you are firmly rooted in TODAY so that when SOMEDAY comes it isn't pushed away by misconceptions.

I write fairy tales to show what a real romance is like, with hard choices, and lessons, and self-sacrifice, and morals. I don't show a girl and a guy lusting as admirable. Sometimes my fairy tales don't even have marriage — because maybe that girl or guy I'm writing about have to find contentment in another area of life. And maybe that contentment is realizing that God doesn't have "a better half" for them because God is what makes all of us whole, and He has a mission for that person that leads them beyond the flesh to something eternal.

But maybe, sometimes that path intersects with marriage.

Yet, if it doesn't . . . that's fine. Because life and relationships are so much more than kissing and "living happily ever after."

Relationships are more than modern fairy tales. Just as in friendships, girl-guy relationships are hard. You aren't always best friends. Sometimes you have to choose to keep being attracted. Sometimes you have to choose to love. Over and over and over. Just like with a best friend, any relationship is hard.

Relationships aren't fairy tales — they are a struggle to put down oneself to love another more even when their eyes aren't speaking love back to you.

Do you like fairy tales? Tell me what you think makes any sort of relationship, platonic or romantic, last? Think of your own best friends — how do you remain friends even in the hard times? 


  1. I've never been one for romance, but I've always liked Fairy tales.

    1. Same! Fairy tales are just awesome, though ;D

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks! I always love it when we agree, hahahaha ;D

  3. Excellent post. When I was younger (ok, so maybe just a year or two ago ;) I idealised fairytale romances and I always wanted one. Now, I still love fairytales, but for different reasons. So many of those so-called "romantic" relationships are just downright sexist and disturbing (Sleeping Beauty anyone?!) so I've definitely learnt a bit about being discerning.

    1. Haha, it's so easy to idealize those fairy tales when we are young ;) I mean who doesn't want to be like Cinderella ... wait, that means scrubbing other people's dirt all day. Which is what I do with my current occupation of cleaning houses. haha. But yes, Sleeping Beauty is a bit disturbing haha! Discernment is key ;D

  4. Great post, Keturah! I agree so much about commitment being the important thing in a relationship and love being a choice. Sure, there's a passion component, but it's crucially unimportant in the long run.

    I adore fairy tales. :) Not only for the moral lessons, but for the sense of wonder in them--the ideas about truth and beauty (and sin!) conveyed in fantastic ways, the touch of otherworldliness, the reminder that life is magical. Chesterton's fairy tale philosophy, y'know...heh.

    And George MacDonald is the best. Also Anderson. :) (Have you read The Wild Swans? That's possibly my favorite.)

    1. Thanks, Megan!

      I love fairy tale for all those same reasons! I think the touch of philosophy wrapped in wonder is why I like them most.

      Oh, I think I've read that story, because I've read most of Anderson's tales, but I need to read it again to know the full story well! I really love his story about the wine bottle, called the Bottle Neck, I think.

  5. Wow, this was so good, and super helpful to remember. Thank you for it!

    Emily |

    1. You're welcome—and thanks! So glad you found it so :)

  6. Yes! This post is so true and so important.

    1. Thanks! Glad you think it's important, too ;D

  7. YESSS I love this so much! I have such strong feelings about this, and you took some of the words right out of my mouth.

    I mean, I love a good fairytale just as much as the next person, even the cliché romance part of it. But in real life, we don't need to sit around and hope for love to find us. It's okay to want to be married, and it's okay to hope to find that special person to spend your life with. But you should desire God first, and be content in Him before you even think about spending your life with another person.

    "Real romance isn't about a guy saving a girl or a girl saving a guy — only God can save us." I LOVE this.

    I could say much about this, but then I'll just start rambling, haha. But I love this post. <3

    1. Yes, to everything you said! Fairy tales are the best, especially when they have those cliches. But, yeah, real life is much more ;D

      haha, love rambling!

      Thanks for your lovely comment and thoughts!

  8. Life is never easy no matter what it is, including love, relationship, and marriage. Love should be perfect but is not always. I don't expect life to be a fairy tale but Got always has a plan for everyone of us.
    just my thoughts.;)

    1. You're so right, Rakayle! Relationships aren't a unique difficulty to life. Those are some good thoughts!

  9. Amen, sister. <3 I've definitely seen and heard enough to know that a relationship doesn't cause life to become suddenly magical and perfect. A relationship doesn't bring life fulfillment. Yes, marriage is so, so beautiful, but it's not without difficult trials and challenges, and a relationship/marriage without Jesus at the center of it is in danger. Maybe the sad fact that divorce is so common points back to a problematic and disappointing view or expectation of what a relationship should produce.

    Great post! :D

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

    1. Yes, marriage should be beautiful, but sadly the sin of the worlds and the fantasy behind unrealistic ideals do lead toward divorces, I believe . Thank you, Lila!

  10. Reading this made me realise why, when I was little, I loved fairy-tales but generally didn't care much about /Disney/ fairy-tales. (And writing that sentence made me realise that I was a weird little girl.) And why I've never been all that into romance.

    These are all such good points, though. Especially that love is about choices and hard work. I think what makes relationships last is commitment. Like, you decide someone's important enough to stick with them, and then you do it. Whether it's hard, whether it's fun, whether it's whatever. You honour your commitment. And I think being committed helps you love people in the feelings-y way better too, because when you stick around people, you get to know how gloriously, sweetly, unexpectedly, frailly, humanly precious they are. Loving people disinterestedly helps you see them through God's eyes a little, I guess, since that's how God loves. Or at least those are my long and disjointed thoughts. ;) Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    1. Ok, so I have a love/hate relationship with Disney movies/ fairy tales. I love them because I love animation. But I usually cringe at the messages. But along came Pixar and I hardly watch Disney now anyways ;D

      I so agree! Some people believe commitment and loyalty stifle one's feelings. I mean, if you /have/ to love someone, doesn't that make you love them less? But no! Loving someone sometimes feels forced at times ... but makes the other times much more secure in it's beauty :) Love your long thoughts! They aren't at all disjointed.

  11. I'm grateful for this post!

    I have switched back and forth on whether I should get into a relationship or not and now I'm sure that I'll eventually get married though I don't necessarily want a relationship now. I'm working on building friendships.

    I've seen a thread on Twitter on how guys are expected to do everything for the girl when it comes to romance (portrayed in the media but the media influences real life of course). And yeah, that's kind of sad. As well as having a Christ centred relationship as a Christian couple, the couple both has to work together when it comes to the romance aspect, right? I mean, I want the guy to take the lead but also want to give him gifts and stuff that will make him happy, not just him spoiling me all the time.

    And do I like fairytales? I don't really like nor dislike them. Never really got the hype about Disney. About best friends... it's been a while since I've had any so I'm not too sure about that question xD

    1. Hey, I totally get the "switching back and forth on whether I should be in a relationship or not". It's tough ... but I think it's best to not really focus on acquiring a relationship, but developing all sorts of relationships around us and working on ourselves to become Christ-like. It's very good to be content while single. But at times even I can love being single too much, so I have to guard against complacency and be open to whatever God brings, be that a husband or not.

      I so agree! Relationships should involve giving on both sides.

      Haha, fairy tales might be an acquired taste. But Disney .... is so far from the real deal I wouldn't base my tastes on them ;D I'm sorry about not having best friends — I /really/ hope God gives you one of those, because everyone needs a best friend.

  12. I think as a kid I loved fairy tales but to me they don't invoke nostalgia or anything because once i could think for myself, I only found them disturbing! Sleeping Beauty for one creeps me out. (So much that I decided I had to write my own version so I'm currently working on a genderbent sleeping beauty retelling that doesn't have any romance haha)

    1. haha, that story always gets reference as the awful one and for good reason. But there are soooo many other original old fairy tales that are worth having nostalgia. Most of the best tales aren't the popular ones. But your genderbent sounds so fun, because a fairy tale without romance is AMAZING ;d

  13. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work How to be happy in life

    1. Thanks for stopping by and for your lovely comment! I do have come fun discussions here :)


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