Unlike most young girls, the fairy tale in my heart wasn’t of blue eyed princes. I didn’t dream of castles back dropped against dazzling blue skies, or of riding off into the sunset with Charming himself. My dreams were simple. I wanted to be loved. I wanted to feel safe and to know that I mattered. These were feelings I had experienced little of in my formative years, and as I grew older, I began to wonder if I would ever find them. It was the fairy tale in my heart that kept me going until one day it transformed from this idea that hung on the edge of my forever and into my reality.
My prince charming didn’t come riding to me on a beautiful white stead, with hooves pawing the air in eagerness. Nor did he own the castle surrounded by a thousand hills. The man I met and feel deeply in love with was as flawed as I, with the kind of imperfections that are discovered only after the movie ends.
In spite of our shortcomings, and with God’s grace, true intimacy was planted and took hold in the soil of our marriage, a connection that to this day still makes my fairy tale heart flutter with joy and the longing I felt when we first met.
My type A personality would love to take credit for the affinity we share, but unfortunately I cannot. It is my husband’s stake to claim. He holds something more valuable than a castle with a thousand hills or untold riches. What he possesses is the key to any successful relationship; a servant’s heart. His nature flows deep and wide with the steadiness of it, and over the years, I have benefited, gratefully, from his kind and loving generosity.
With his selfless approach to our marriage, my husband has mastered the ability to look past my flaws when I am unable to look past his. When anger sits in the driver seat of my life, whether just or unjust, and the brakes finally bring me to a crashing halt, I don’t find my prince charming peering back at me in the review mirror; I find him standing there beside me, holding open the door, and waiting for me to step into his arms. I can truly say that not once have I felt the sting of rejection for my failure to be as kind and as compassionate as he.
They say that chivalry is dead, and when you step back to take a really hard look at our culture, with its self-absorbed ways, the idea of taking on a servant’s heart may seem almost foreign and nearly impossible. There’s no question it is difficult and temperament can play a part. I am a perfect example this. In my ‘everything has to be just so’ approach to life, I have found it to be more challenging to follow in my husband’s footsteps than I care to admit.
While I may lag behind, eventually I remember how my prince charming has already led the way. The imprints he has left on our path, make it easier for me to step back into the selfless mind set he so effortlessly lives day in and day out. And I am reminded, over and over again, that in any relationship worth having, it only takes one person to make that first step toward selfless love, not two, only one. Take a chance and be that one.