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Of Princes and Fairy Tale Dreams PDF Print
Written by Brook Wayne   
Tuesday, 27 December 2005
The dream of a prince coming at last to ask your father for your hand in marriage holds a mixture of yearnings, hopes, and trepidation (as the possibility might seem so slim) and these dreams can almost be intoxicating for young women. In that time of youth before marriage, hopes of that romantic relationship can be so strong that many young women begin spending time—in fact, great quantities of time—thinking and dreaming about their “prince,” just who he will be, or what he will be like, or how he will come. At surface glance, these daydreams might seem harmless enough, but sadly, they are often tearing down the young woman’s strength to remain emotionally pure, and in fact, could be pictured as the pretty flower beds leading down the wrong path of romantic loves outside of marriage.
What is this concept of emotional purity? It is reserving the affections of romance, not giving your heart and thoughts over to another to whom you are not married (or committed to marry). It is living in each aspect of your personal and private thought life—your dreams, hopes, thoughts, eyes, conversation, with the utmost of purity before the Lord. As 1 Timothy 5:2 indicates for the young men to treat the young women as sisters, the young women should treat the young men as brothers, not as possible romantic pursuits, even if only in the mind.
Are We Being Realistic Here?

So often when the topic of emotional purity comes up, there are those who say, “Oh, well, it isn’t really possible. I mean, come on, be real!” “After all,” others argue, “it is only natural and common for young women to be dreaming and thinking about young men in their life.” Certainly it is natural, and certainly it is common, but neither of these therefore proves it right to do so, nor does it prove that purity is impossible. As you continue reading, ask yourself this question, “Is God calling me to emotional purity? And if so, do I believe He is big and good enough to make it possible for me?

Romance Of The Mind

It may be easy for young women to excuse what only happens in the mind. After all, some will reason, it isn’t as if they are openly flirting with young men. Yet, the Scriptures are very clear that what is inside the heart is what makes the person. (“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7a. Also, listen to James 1:14-16 “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.” As a side note, I find the words “carried away” quite interesting—isn’t it easy to be “carried away” by daydreaming?) Sin begins first in the mind. Beginning with lust, the downward spiral takes hold, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Holding thoughts of romantic fantasy in your heart is not only unwise, it is dangerous.

Beware! These thoughts are not a separate entity from you! They become who you are. Love and romantic affection are very powerful; more powerful than most recognize. Listen to what the Song of Solomon has to say about love: “For love is as strong as death ... Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised.” (Song of Solomon 8:6b, 7) That overwhelming strong tie of love is a beautiful cord and God-ordained bond in a committed covenant relationship. Yet outside of that one-man, one-woman union, that bond of love can have the most painful of consequences.

Be not deceived by the power of romantic emotion! “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Proverbs 13:12a. As romantic desires are fed and encouraged, the desire to taste of them will become stronger and stronger. You only weaken yourself to temptation when you allow romantic emotions to swell in your heart outside of commitment for marriage. Really, in evaluating this whole scenario—does it profit any good thing to let the thoughts wander in romantic visions? When the pull has become too much, those things that were kept only in the mind will seek expression—catching the eyes of the young men, dressing for attractiveness instead of modesty, and even for those daughters who were so committed to living under the authority and protection of their parents, rebelling and sneaking around them. My husband once said, “Love is like a car going downhill without brakes. You either have to bail out or drive it.” Remember, love is powerful. If God has opened up love to you with the person you are to marry, then you are free to drive through to marriage. But, what pain there is in the having to bail out. It makes sense not to let it happen.

Romantic Fantasizing Leads To Costly Results

We hear so often when the issue of emotional purity comes up of those now married who grieve over giving their hearts to others before their spouse. These are very real pains. They wish they could have done it differently, that they could say to the one they married—“You are the only one I have loved.” Even for those who never had actual relationships, past mental romantic fantasizing becomes a snare. Old habits don’t die very easily. Married women who spent their singlehood dreaming about so-and-so often find those same thoughts sorts of thoughts popping up later, even under “safer” lines. “Sally’s husband is so thoughtful, I wish mine were.” (Does this tend toward marriage fidelity and strength of unity, or does it, ever so slightly step toward the sin of adultery?) We shudder at the sin of adultery—of a woman lusting after, loving, (and this most certainly includes dreaming about) someone else’s husband. Jesus spoke clearly in Matthew 5:28 that lusting after another is committing adultery in the heart! This is so wrong! We see it so clearly when marriage is involved. Young women should never, ever fantasize about romance with married men. And yet, we seem to make a curious allowance when that person is unmarried—as if they were “free game.” The fact is that they are not free for you to claim and think about. Look at it this way for a moment; view each young man you meet as the future husband of some other young lady. That young man might end up marrying your sister, or a good friend of yours! Romantic daydreaming is not safe and private—it is powerful, and is a path that can lead to destruction. Young women, guard your thought life with every ounce of strength you have! (Proverbs 4:23)

Perhaps you even excuse yourself by romanticizing over someone who doesn’t really exist. Yet there can be just as much danger in placing your desires and expectations on a pedestal. When you fantasize about “your prince,” are you helping to build a solid marriage in the future? Even if that young man should fill your every wish, I wonder how wise it is, given human nature’s tendency, to take God’s gifts for granted and expect him to be that way, instead of recognizing the undeserved gift of the Lord. (I am not referring to expectations of clearly defined Biblical standards, but about more personal expectations and specifics which the Bible itself doesn’t spell out.) Suppose you imagine “Mr. Future Husband” to be tall, handsome, and always saying the most beautiful things. There can be an unGodly disappointment if your real future husband is just downright ugly. Have you given these desires over to the Lord? Does it even matter? What if the Lord blesses you with a husband shorter than you? Does it even matter? Do we have a right to be picky? And if our hearts are open to embracing fully who it is that God gives, does that kind of thing (especially externals) even matter? By dwelling on “the perfect husband” you set yourself up for criticizing the imperfect man God intends for you.

Do you know who a great percentage of the women reading romance novels are? Married women! Having not learned contentment in singlehood, marriage has become one-long disappointment as well , and the same tactics of escape are used. In the married woman’s state it seems so clear what she should do—get her heart out of those romance novels and invest herself in her husband, turning her heart toward him. It isn’t all that different for you young women, unmarried at this time—you, too, need to pull your hearts out of romance novels (along with private romantic thoughts) and turn your hearts to waiting on the Lord and investing yourself in Him. (1 Corinthians 7:34) Seriously evaluate each and every thought, book, conversation, and movie—if it hinders you from keeping your heart pure, if it gives growth to yearnings and desires, then run from it! 2 Timothy 2:22 “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (Emphasis mine). Keep the power for which love is intended, and don’t allow yourself to be swayed by what the flesh wants (for if we honestly got down to the issue, the whole reason for dwelling on romantic fantasies is to feed the flesh). What does the Word say? “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)

Investing In Holy Order

What heart condition and thought life do you suppose the Lord would want you to maintain during your singlehood? What does God desire your thoughts to be as you approach the wedding altar someday? Somehow it is hard to imagine God being pleased with those private thoughts of secret romance. The Lord isn’t opposed to romance—after all, the love of a husband and wife was His idea! Yet that love is only holy where and when He ordains it. It is, in the proper time, between the right people, a treasure most valuable and priceless indeed. Romantic fantasizing could be likened to this scenario: suppose each person was given $1000 to go and buy a valuable vase—a keepsake for a lifetime. Such a vase won’t just be in any old place. In fact, it may take a good many years to find, but once found there will be nothing quite like it. Yet, some, instead of patiently waiting for that one vase, grow fearful that it may never come across their path. So, instead of waiting, we see them hanging out at the flea market, spending $1 here and $5 there on vases. Perhaps in the collection they even throw in a pot or two, and an empty cottage cheese container, ah—and now, and then, too, a $20 vase. Now down to the last $100, with nothing really to show for it except a lot of vacant, empty vases holding dust (perhaps like dusty memories?) the right vase comes along, and alas, instead of the $1000 to invest in it, (much like love) so much as already been given away that $100 is all that is left.

Not only is there a wonderful peace that results from emotional purity, there is freedom. Giving in to romantic visions is not freedom, for freedom is not doing what our flesh wants, but what the living God wills! This peace (freedom from regrets and ability to invest a wholeness of heart into the one you marry), and true freedom (freedom from the bondage to romantic thoughts—a freedom to keep pure and holy thoughts) are valuable assets to bring to marriage. And when the day comes that the Lord confirms a marriage commitment, the joy of watching the Lord use these assets of peace and freedom built up over years of time, will be unsurpassed. You can have this beautiful treasure of emotional purity. Should your past be cluttered with those trinkets for vases, gather them up before the Lord and ask for His forgiveness—He can and will be near to those of a broken heart. (Psalm 34:18)

How Does One Live In Purity Of Thought?

How is emotional purity really accomplished? Is it a mind over matter issue? I really don’t think so. Pushing down and stifling feelings only builds them up for dealing with at a later date. Really, looking at the issue devoid of our natural pride, will open our eyes to see how utterly weak and vulnerable we really are. The famous words of the hymn “A Mighty Fortress” come to mind: “Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing.”

Nowhere in the Word do we see that God despises those who fall on their faces humbly before Him and cry out to Him for grace, strength and discipling to walk in emotional purity. In fact, it pleases Him! We are weak and tend toward sin, yet by the strength of His might it is possible to walk in righteousness concerning guarding your heart.

We need to come to Him with that kind of attitude—I am weak, Thou are strong—let me hide myself in You. We are weak, and tend toward sin, yet by the strength of His might, it is possible to walk in righteousness concerning guarding your heart. Confess to the Lord your weakness, and give yourself completely to Him. Ask Him to teach you the discipline required in protecting your heart. Ask Him to remind you each time you need to redirect your thoughts and He will give you a check. He is faithful. Learn to be disciplined in your thought life—not allowing them to run away with you! Choose the better part—a heart protected, over the fleeting pleasures of daydreaming.

Love is Really A Picture

The mighty strength of love between husband and wife is supposed to parallel an even greater love—that of our love with THE Bridegroom, Christ. That same depth and intensity that a husband and wife share should be a picture of the greater depth and intensity we have for Christ. Just as our hearts need to be guarded and protected from other romantic loves, we need to zealously guard our hearts from loves other than Christ. After all, it is only once we have come to understand the perfect love of Christ, that we can extend perfect love to imperfect human beings. As believers we are in covenant relationship with Christ. We have “forsaken all others” and our hearts are to be turned wholly upon Him as we await the great marriage supper of the Lamb. This only is our greatest need—to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls and all our might. (Deuteronomy 6:5) Part of loving God with all our hearts, souls, and might is in keeping the powerful strengths of each in holy order until He Himself says “yes.”

As young unmarried women, your calling is not to dream and envision loving a man. First Corinthians chapter 7 says you are free from the cares of this world, of meeting the needs of a husband. You are free to serve the Lord in a way unlike the married woman. This is a joy, not a drudgery of waiting ‘til life really begins. Serving the Lord in marriage is a joy, too, but it is not what you are called to today. Serve the Lord with gladness and contentment where He has placed you at this time. Should He send marriage—embrace it! It is a good gift. Should He send you singlehood—embrace it! For it is a good gift.

Brook Wayne, a homeschool graduate, and her husband Israel (also home educated), are the parents of three young children. She is a regular columnist for the HOME SCHOOL DIGEST and AN ENCOURAGING WORD magazines. www.WisdomsGate.org and www.BiblicalBetrothal.com She is the co-author, with her husband, of the story, “What God Has Joined Together”, which is the testimony of their betrothal. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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