Disney movies, fairy tales and romantic flicks have always been popular among young people. The idea of a knight in shining armor come to ride them off into the sunset has stuck in the mind of many little girls. Almost every little girl pretends to be a princess and almost every teen girl dreams of her wedding day. These stories and movies have enchanted whole families for decades.
These days, however, they have begun to get a bad rap and it seems to me that this is especially true in Christian circles.
Adults are seeking to convince everyone that fairy tales are nothing more than deluded lies. They are convincing their teens that the idea of a prince and a princess or any hope of a happily ever after is harmful. There are so many blog posts about how love is nothing like the movies.
They say that fairy tales trick us in three main ways:
1. They make us think that we are not whole unless we have found our prince or princess.
2. They make us think that love is all romance and no work.
3. They make us think the person who loves us will be perfect.
While these may be true I do not think it is fair to say that fairy tales are dangerous for us to believe in. I don’t think we should boycot prince charming or stop dreaming of finding true love.
I think fairy tales do much more good than harm. I think fairy tales help us to keep believing when as single adults we give up hope.
Yesterday I was watching Ella Enchanted again which was a favorite book of mine as a young teen girl. I hadn’t seen the movie in a very long time and so like many times when you rewatch a favorite movie you notice things you never noticed before. I noticed a few quips about Botox and the Grimm brothers, but more than that I noticed how much truth was in the story.
The love that Ella and Char had for each other is the kind of love one should hope to have not pass off as impossible or hopeless.
Ella Enchanted and some other romantic movies show that:
1. Throughout Ella Enchanted Ella helps Char become a better man. She aides him in going from weakness to strength. While she stops him from following the crowd and makes him a leader she does so with understanding and grace. In a loving relationship helping the other person become who they are meant to be is a key focus to have.
2. It shows that we don’t always fall in love with who we think we will fall in love with. Many of us have these expectations and prejudices and think we know what type of people we will fall for. When Ella met the prince she literally fell for someone that she never would have imagined loving.
This shows us that love comes when we least expect it and teaches us to keep our eyes open to Gods plan and not just our own.
3. Obviously Ella wasn’t the perfect candidate for queen, nevertheless she was prince Charmonts choice. This shows us that the person we love doesn’t have to be perfect – in fact that they can’t be. Rather it shows us that love covers our imperfections. Just as the perfect love of Jesus covered our sins and saved us so should his love flowing through us forgive the people in our lives.
4. Not everything works out as planned, but in the end it is all beautiful and all part of your love story.
“These last few days have been perfect – well except for the part where we almost got eaten by ogers, and you wrote me that letter that ripped my heart out, and I had to dance with Hattie.” – Prince Char.
5. It is okay to disagree and have an argument. You are two different people with two different sets of thoughts and feelings and will not completely agree all the time. This is super important to realize.
6. Fears are to be concurred not run from. This is obviously a key truth in every fairy tale whether it features love or not. There is always a great battle to be fought and in that battle a great fear to overcome. Sometimes love itself is scary. Ella and Char faced that together. When you love someone you should always be there to face their fears with them.
7. This one is one of my favorites. You never force the person you love to do something they do not want to do or become someone that they are not. Char pulled this off beautifully and because of the curse it meant so very much to Ella. He was always making sure that she was doing what she felt was right, that she was happy and that she felt respected. That is important for both parties to do, but just a quick tip for the guys – doing that makes a girl MELT.
8. Sacrifice. In every love story there is a common theme and that is sacrifice. Somebody gives something up or goes through great challenges for the sake of their lover. Sacrifice is the base of love and has been illustrated in so many different ways in different stories. Ella gives up her own desires to marry Prince Charmont to save his life and the kingdom, Maid Marian gave up her life of ease to live with Robin Hood in the woods, Ariel gave up her beloved Prince Eric to save her people, Bell and Prince Adam both stepped out of their comfort zone in order to bless the other, Hercules risked his life to save Meg from the pool of the dead, Flynn gave up the riches he so desperately wanted in order to love Rapunzel. Sacrifice is the greatest lesson one could learn and it is also the basis of what real life love should be.
In 1 Cor 13 it details what God says love should look like:
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all thing, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
This might seem like a high standard to reach, but remember this: you can’t hit the target if you never aim for it.
Sure there are fairy tales that give us a warped view of what love is, but I don’t think we should give up on fairy tales all together or tell our children that it is hopeless to believe in them.
Prince Char wasn’t perfect, but he was still a prince.
Ellas life was hard, but she never stopped fighting.
When they came together it was beautiful.
And that should never be too much to hope for.
Fairy tales help us keep our heads up and they remind us that the sky is the limit.
Never stop believing in your own real life fairy tale.