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Beyond Fairy Tales and Fantasies: A Search For The Truth About Marriage

by Dr. Aesha on February 24, 2011

The upcoming Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton has the world talking about their storybook romance. As the world counts down to their fairy tale wedding, (I visited to see their countdown ticker–there are 64 days, 11 hours, 2 minutes and 23. . .  22 . . . 21 . . . seconds until their big day), the buzz is mostly about what she's wearing, the size of the guest list, and the price tag of the whole shindig. In love with the idea of love, women who had to go into debt just to get a small taste of what Kate's wedding will be like now see their fantasy coming true before their eyes. The only hint somebody might be thinking about the royal couple's marriage (and not just their wedding) is the talk about whether or not William may have "cursed" their future together by giving Kate Princess Diana's ring.

Now don't get me wrong. I believe in love and I had the wedding of my dreams to the man of my dreams! I believe a wedding should be special, but with the popularity of reality TV shows like ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, I'm afraid that
many single women are chasing fantasies about what it really means to meet and marry the man of their dreams.

I'm not alone. In a New York Times article, Catherine Orenstein connects modern day reality TV shows about love to popular fairy tales. Going all the way back to the first French fairy tales of the 1600s, she shows that stories like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty seemed more like horror stories. In Sleeping Beauty, a prince gets her pregnant and hides her in the woods (because his mother wants to eat her!). Cinderella's Prince Charming was blinded by the beauty of Cinderella's clothes and shoes and didn't even look at her face! These tales were more about the fear the upper class had about arranged marriages than a search for true love.

The old tales are a far cry from the Disney movies that celebrate true love and show ladies waiting for their Prince to come and rescue them from a lower class life.  In case you think these are just stories, consider my 5-year-old niece, who after hearing her father read her the Cinderella story for the first time sighed, "I can't wait to get married!" He recently announced on Twitter that he was going to get rid of her Disney princess movies after he caught her planning her wedding!

Little girls are not the only ones dreaming about marrying a prince.  With new reality shows like the Wedding Central's "How To Be A Princess" and "How To Marry A Prince" it seems we haven't quite let go of the fantasies of "true love" and upward mobility. (Think about it: why do the reality shows give cash prizes too?!).  Even the drama of shows like Bridezilla and VH1's What Chilli Wants can't stop us.  And girls are not the only ones feeling the pressure.  When I was an English professor, one of my male students wrote a paper about how Prince Charming makes a guy feel like he has to be rich, handsome, and charming if he'll ever get the girl.

So what's the big deal anyway? Why should we even care that Prince William and Kate's dream wedding might end up a nightmare marriage? Is it that current divorce rates show that it's impossible to live happily ever after? No, there are still marriages lasting 30, 40 and even 50 years with couples chasing each other around the house naked.

It seems to me that the fantasy we're still chasing is that love is enough to make a marriage last. We give more attention to planning a wedding than we do to planning a marriage.

So here's the deal: Even after you've met your Prince and he sweeps you off your feet, don't forget to ask the tough questions. What kind of life do you want to have and how will he help you get that life? If he sticks around long enough to give you an answer, he's a keeper!

My dream for you is that you get and keep your happily ever after! Join me on tonight's Sister Secrets Live Conference Call where we'll talk about how to get your dream man, dream wedding, and dream marriage!  Click here for details.

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