Fictitious Ideals: A Letter To Dreamers of Marriage

2:57 PM

This is directed mostly towards Christian single women and Christian single men. Trust me this is for your benefit too. :) Married people, do share with your single friends and family if you're so inclined.
Anyone else, this is from the perspective of my faith.

I'm sure others have written on this topic, but it's helpful to throw one more in the mix as this subject needs to be pounded out.

For years now I have watched my generation wade through the pools of relationship struggles. Some examples are the challenge of finding "the one". They just seem to not exist right? Or living life waiting for the "the one" to come along. This could look like staying at home or living a full single life of busyness till you run into "the one" when you least expect it! It could also be in the form of being criticized of the choice you made for a spouse when you finally get around to either finding one or choosing one! 

Not everyone is meant to be married. Being married is not something that is a must once you come of the age. Our goal shouldn't be to pursue marriage as if the world is going to fall apart if you aren't married within a certain time frame. However, I have noticed that with the decline of marriages and relationships, the push for choosing relationships and marriage later in life, and even the divorce and separation rates we are currently experiencing, we are doing something wrong. 
If you desire for marriage, "someday", keep reading. 

There is a mass push in our society to label people. We have the ideal man. The ideal woman. Anything in between should not even be considered. That is what we are told. 

It wouldn't take ladies and maybe even men (with sisters :P) long enough to know who these iconic characters are:
Oh so dreamy right? I mean look at em! They have such poise, such pampered skin, almost perfect masculine facial features, and check out that head of hair! Overall gentlemanly mancrushiness!! Not to mention their character. 

Swooning yet? If not, you will...

Men, stay with me. 

I have watched all the Jane Austen movies. I have friends who are in love with them and in love with the men in them. In doing research for this post, I typed in the character names of each of these men to gather some pictures. When I typed in one of the top most spoken about characters in the Jane Austen realm of all time, I was met with pages and pages of links, memes, photos, twitters, blogs, fan clubs, websites, and quotes all devoted to one person. I present to you the elusive,

Mr. Darcy
       
     *Listens to all the ladies swoon*

Okay so why am I posting Jane Austen character pictures? What's the point? I thought we were talking about marriage rate decline and an increase in divorce. 
Getting there...

We have a HUGE problem. If it can't be admitted, then you might as well stop right here because what I'm about to say could be very controversial to many and may even pop some grand bubbles in the hearts of ladies all around. Just know, when I write, I write from my heart, my experiences, and I always aim to speak truth. 

When I was growing up, I was in love with fiction. I would be found first in line at the library for our summer reading program with books of fantasy, classics, and romantic novels, stacked in front of me passed my head every week. Talk about a bookworm. 

It was so easy to get home, run to my room, jump in my bed, and read for hours, whipping through every book till the week was over and I'd start all over again. It would inspire me to write my own tales and novels with characters of my own creation. Alongside writing, I read so many Christian romance novels because my inner heart desired that kind of romantic love. 

I found myself pining after the irresistible male protagonists in movies and books that are meant to give you shivers and tingles with their words and the touches of another. It introduced me to an association of emotions and feelings that I was certain I'd have when it was my turn to meet my Prince.

As I grew older, I began to search for those "tingle" feelings. I was old enough. I wasn't allowed to date, but even having friends that were male with decent good looks was enough for a hormonally raging teenager to catch notice. 
When I was out on my own, I ran into people who on the outside seemed like great guys, but their hearts and personalities lacked so much. It didn't make sense. Weren't these the guys that are supposed to be my hero? My gentleman? My knight in shining armor?

It didn't take me long to realize how wrong that was so then I had to search deeper. I had never read Jane Austen. The most memorable book and movie series of my day was Anne of Green Gables. The adorable, dark haired, dimpled, and charming personality of Gilbert Blythe was MY teenage crush:

I remember the "flutters" he would give me when I'd watch him act and watch him captivate and eventually romantically capture Anne.

In my late teens/early 20's I ran into a circle of the Jane Austen women as I call them where I was introduced to everything Jane Austen. Frequent conversation buzzed around the heroes and heroines. I was told how much I needed to aspire after them as models because they were so full of propriety, decency, and femininity. 

That good gentlemanly men would notice me if I were like them. I played into this scene for a little while, but then realized something. The men these women are pining after are those that I have read in books, seen in movies, and I would create from my Imagination. I have seen men do this also over fictional women. It then hit me.

Watching from the sidelines I noticed how much men talk about women not being good enough and how much women talk about men not being good enough for them. What is causing this?

I think it very much has to do with what we have been portrayed what gentleman and ladies should be. 

The Ideal Man

Besides our desire to wed a Godly man, society says they must have the best looks. They must have just the right amount of hair on their head, they must be tall, maybe even buff, they must be fit and work out at the gym to maintain a fit appearance, they can't be nerdy because that's just embarrassing. Does he have a good clothing style? Does he like coffee? Does he share your interests and hobbies? He should treat you like a princess and tell you everything you want to hear, speak romantic words to you of eloquence, flowing from his tongue...
Guess what? If he doesn't, he's NOT FOR YOU. He should know what you're thinking because that shows how well he knows you. If he can't tell you what you're thinking or give you what you need in the moment you need it, and figure these things out on his own, then he must be a jerk and really not love you or be "the one". 

I would even go to an extreme because I have heard and seen this happen amongst Christian circles. Ladies, you don't want a guy who has dated someone else before. You don't want a guy who may have made sexual mistakes in the past. You really shouldn't pick him because he struggled with sin at a time in his life. Even if he no longer is living in it. 

Why? Because you'd never do anything like that. Ignore the times when you have been dishonest, given into temptation, murdered someone in your heart, gossiped, or slandered. Since when did Jesus say sexual sin is worse than any other sin?

The Ideal Woman

Besides our desire to wed a Godly woman, our society insists they must be bangin'! Who wants an ugly woman? Who wants a woman with flaws on their body? Don't even think about considering that lady who is shorter than average or taller than average. Don't go for the one who doesn't have the body of a model because you know that is the best woman out there for you. 

The woman who lets you spend all the time you want in front of the tv watching your sports, or lets you go out and spend time with your friends anytime you wish. Who doesn't mess with your system or change things the way you're used to. THAT is the perfect woman. 

Brings you what you want, does things for you when you want them done. Communicates perfection. Gives you sex WHENEVER you want with no ifs ands, or buts. Has everything ready for you when you come home from a long day's work, just knows exactly what you need and makes it happen. And again, don't go for that girl who sexually failed at a point in her life. She is not worthy of you and how you kept yourself pure for so long. 

Even if she is not currently living in it any longer. Someone else can have her, but she just won't do it for you despite the fact you lied to your boss last week, struggled with sexual temptation and maybe even gave in even if it was just for a few seconds or minutes, yelled some kind of profanity in your mind or heart towards someone, or had an impure thought. Since when did Jesus say sexual sin is worse than any other sin?

Of course this all sounds pretty shallow laid out, right? But how much of it goes through our head when we are considering a spouse? How many people have we turned down because of requirements like these? How many have we aligned with these standards and chosen to pass up because they didn't meet them?

As Christians, shouldn't we be going to the Word for what is best? Shouldn't we silence the voice of the world and its opinions?
I used to believe these things. I used to look for men like this because it's all I knew to look for. But as I have grown deeper in the Lord, and been open minded to something different, something radical, I no longer have these views. 

A True Gentleman

When I think of a gentleman, I think of one who loves Jesus and who is willing to grow into Christlike character. One who strives to put himself last and you first. One who lives a life of integrity. One who though he may make a million mistakes in his lifetime, apologizes from the heart and though you may make a million mistakes as you will, he forgives. One who values a woman as a person and sees you as a treasure to his life not just an addition to his. One who works hard and diligently. Lastly, one who leads you and your family towards the Lord.

A True Lady

When I think of a lady, I think of one who loves Jesus and who is willing to grow in Christlike character. One who strives to put herself last and you first. One who lives a life of integrity. One who though she make a million mistakes in her lifetime, apologizes from the heart and though you may make a million mistakes as you will, she forgives. One who values a man, develops trust in you, supports and encourages you, and sees you as a gem to her life not just as an addition to hers. One who is industrious, hard working, willing to learn new things in life. Who models after the Proverbs 31 woman practically. One who submits to your leading in the home.

Sounds like the lady and the gentleman have a lot in common and are a perfect match. Notice, we have not mentioned one thing about appearance or hobbies, or interests. Those are all preferences. 

I encourage anyone reading this who is single and waiting for "the one" to come along. Though fantasy, movies, and books are entertaining to read and watch, they are just that. They are fiction. They are fantasy. They are perfection designed from the imagination.

Mr. Darcy in all of his glory does not exist

Instead we have sinners saved by grace. We have men who are not perfect, who are not going to instantly come as gentleman with every trait lined up beautifully. It can take a lifetime for a man to become a gentleman in its fullness. They WILL make mistakes, they WILL mess up, they WILL NOT be everything we hope and dream and expect. 

Most likely they will not have the perfect romantic words to whisper in our ears either because frankly hate to break it to you, those are things some men have naturally and others don't and if he doesn't, don't throw him out because of it. 
"We need to give men grace."

Ladies, we need to stop trying to be characters in books, novels, movies. It's all a misconception. Men don't want these kind of women. If you are seeking after, growing and developing into the ladies of the above model, then you will be more desirable to a true gentleman than any female protagonist model in a book could. Men do you agree?

Likewise, men, there is no perfect woman out there. We need to give ladies grace in all their flaws too as we walk away from unrealistic expectations that are shockingly not what we ever thought they were supposed to be. 


Over the 6 years I've been married, we both have been growing together. We have not mastered any of these lists in their completeness by any means and we will continue to strive towards them together as a married couple, but to think we could ever achieve these perfectly is only fooling ourselves. 

By definition, I married a gentleman. He isn't Mr. Darcy, he isn't Colonel Brandon, Mr. Bingley, Mr. Knightly, or even Gilbert Blythe, but he loves Jesus and in that he is the perfect gentleman for me.

Love is not a fuzzy feeling, indicated by how many butterflies a man or woman gives you. I strongly do not believe in falling in and out of love. I don't think it's possible. Love is a choice. We choose to love and we choose to not love. Bottom line.

So...if you know of a man or woman (not a boy or a girl) who has a golden heart and loves Jesus, but may not share the same interests, hobbies, or not be the hottie desired after, think twice before you write them off. 

Considering, dating/courting, and marrying are not the same. You very well could be writing off who God placed right in front of you. He knows what's best for us, despite what the heart wants. 

Have you allowed fictitious characters to become your idol? Do you find yourself wanting to be like them or marry someone like them? If so, maybe it's time for a heart examination.



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2 comments
Rebekah Samuel

AUtistic. 🧠 Artist. 👩🏻‍🎨 Author. ✍🏼 Life-Coach. 👊🏼 Techy. 🤓

I speak on faith, the military life, social issues, politics, ASD, mental health, and God's Word.
🔍 I am helping people heal through my writing, life coaching, and counseling. Check out my new book "Letters of Love"! ♥️

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Comments

  1. Hey Bekah, this is a clever topic. And one that most definitely applies to us all. reconciling the fairy tails of our youth with real life reality as it presents itself piece by piece. We do not want to over romanticize. There is beauty in truth. There is honesty found when we strip our ideals down to something real: that is, the person we are searching for, desperately, is the self. Whom we've known all along. And then it happens, that you find another self, outside of your own. When your heart finds a home.

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    1. I finally figured out how to reply to comments with notifications so I've been going back to old posts to make sure I reply to this! I haven't ignored you! Thank you for the support Hannah. I like how realistic you always are with abit of whimsy thrown in. In alot of ways we are heart buddies. <3

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