It might seem a bit sweet and sound a little cliché, but she is right. Doug is my “Prince Charming.” But there is a lot more to that title than the surface picture it conjures of some “happily ever after” Disney tale.
Who is this “Prince Charming” anyway? He is the hero. He is the victor and protector. He slays the dragons and restores peace in the kingdom. A real Prince is not some two-dimensional character. He is a man of deep integrity.
Over the years I have made little jokes about being Doug’s “princess.” When he pretty much single-handedly renovated a 50 year old farm house to make it our home, I would affectionately say he was “building a palace for his princess.” Whenever I’m defeated by trying to open a particularly stubborn jar, I take it to Doug and say: “I need a hero.” And he opens it with barely a twist. Once when I was pulling weeds I had one that was so deeply rooted I could not conquer it. I wrangled with it for hours hacking, pulling, and digging. I finally stood, looked at that evil thing and defiantly said: “Today you win the battle, but you will not win the war!” As soon as Doug got home I told him that weed had defeated me, and he wasted no time in finishing it off. When Doug spent two years helping rebuild homes after Hurricane Katrina, I saw him move with such depth of heart and purpose. I teased that he was out “slaying dragons.” Once I witnessed him stand up to an aggressor that NO ONE ever stood up to. In that moment I truly saw he was my hero. I was so inspired I got the courage to begin standing up myself. Just recently he proved to be my hero again.
A few weeks back I had an encounter with a man who mistreated me. The details are not important, except to say those who witnessed it all recognized that there was no justification to this man’s behavior. When I went home and related it to Doug, eventually breaking down in tears, there came a look on his face that I’m not sure I can fully describe. It was not lashing anger, or thirsting for vengeance. It was the face of a man determined to defend his maiden. Over the next few days I watched as my hero, my “Prince Charming” came to my rescue. And he did it with such integrity that I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by his love for me, his defense of me, his courage to stand up against what was wrong, his desire to protect, and the fact that he never once acted out of anger or vengeance.
I got to thinking— what makes my man this way? What is at the heart of every man in this? I’ve painted a picture of our lives echoing fairy tales, but fairy tales and our lives echo something deeper. They echo the depth to which our souls are innately designed by God. What is my husband doing when he rises to protect me and “slay the dragons”? He is reflecting the image of God. The very God who came down from His throne to dwell among us, stand up to the bullies and defend the poor and the weak. The very God who looked out at us in our poor defenseless battle against the beast of sin and slayed that dragon by allowing His own life to be slayed on the cross. He never moved with vengeance, only love and integrity. He came to rescue us, rise victorious and restore us to peace.
So what does this mean for us? For my guy readers I would say: If you want to get in touch with your real manhood, get in touch with Jesus. He is the ultimate hero! To the degree that you are able to see this and truly come to love that He is the ultimate hero, the True Prince, the final Victor, who came to slay the ultimate beast— to the degree that you see and embrace what He did for you and for all humanity, you will get more deeply in touch with what it is to be a man. This will inspire you to step up in this broken world to reflect and pursue the adventure He designed for you, and placed in the recesses of your soul. In Christ, you not only find Victory, you join the battle and participate in it!
Ladies, for us it means to get in touch with the deepest parts of our femininity, that we do the very thing feminist culture would tell us not to do… let your men be your champions! Let them be your protectors and you will witness something amazing in your man. It will not only draw out your love and respect for him, it will also give you a Gospel reflection of what Jesus has done, and the inspiration to drive your own heart into the adventure. No, it doesn’t mean being the little woman sitting at home while the man is out steeped in battle. It means being so inspired by your King that you join it! You stand on the battlefield, like Eowyn in JRR Tolkien’s Return of the King, who is so inspired by her uncle the King that she stands in the battle against great evil too. In the thick of fighting she sees her uncle struck down. Eowyn places herself between him and the evil Wraith. Haughtily it says: “You fool. No living man may hinder me!” To which she throws off her helmet declaring “But no living man am I! You look upon a woman…. For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.” Then Eowyn defiantly thrusts her sword to conquer evil.
“We do long to be fought for; loved enough to be courageously protected. But there is a mighty fierceness set in hearts of women by God. This fierceness is true to who we are and what we were created to do. Women are warriors too…. Women are called to join in the Greatest Battle of all time— the battle being waged for the hearts of those around us. The human heart is the battlefield. The war is a deadly one; the results are devastating or glorious, but always eternal. We are needed….But we will only be victorious when we enter in with our feminine hearts— when we battle as women.” (Captivating; p.186, 188)
Do you let the men in your life be the heroes that inspire you to be heroic too? If so, it points you to the ultimate hero, protector and victor— the True King! Does HE inspire you to take part in the Greatest Battle of all time?
Well, you say, “What if I don’t have a man in my life?” Or “What if the man in my life continues to disappoint me, never rises to be my hero?” To the former I say, if you are looking for a man, look for one who has a heart for being a protector, one who will inspire you with how his life reflects Christ. To the latter I say, turn to the ultimate hero! He can fill every void and recover every failure, every area where the men in your life fall short, He never does. Instead of building up resentment or pining sadly for what your man is not— RUN into the Name of the Lord.
He will cover you with his wings; you will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you. (Psalm 91:4 GNT)
Let Jesus be your true hero. Let the price he paid to protect you from the beast of sin and the penalty of death be your inspiration. Because no matter how wonderful an earthly man might be, he is but a man. But Christ is Lord and God! Eternally victorious he stands as your true hero. Let that inspire you and restore your peace.
Which is the last part of our definition for “Prince Charming:” He restores peace. When the dragons are slayed, or the evil is brought down, peace is restored to the kingdom.
When I watched Doug work for two years to help rebuild Biloxi out of what looked like war-torn wreckage, I watched people’s lives transform from anxiety and insecurity to peace. When I watched Doug stand up to the bullies in my life, I witnessed my own heart rest at peace, and it wasn’t because I had an avenger— it was because I had a protector. And silly as it sounds, even when I watch him easily twist the lid off a jar that I’ve been wrangling with, or defeat the stubborn weed I’ve been unable to conquer, I find a satisfying peace that victory was won, and I am free. Yet each of these moments are mere whispers of a truer and deeper peace. They are but echoes of the true peace offered by the real Prince of Peace. Because of the battle He fought, the victory He won we are free.
“So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”(John 8:36)
He battles right alongside you against your daily sins and short comings to defeat them and bring you peace. He battles the evil of this world so that you may face it without worry or fear, but are free to rest in peace. This is not the kind of peace that you can get from this broken world. This peace is so otherworldly it has the power to piece this broken world, our broken souls, and our broken lives back together again.
And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7)
If you want a real hero, if you want to experience the real peace of the Kingdom, let Christ stand before you and behind you, to your left and to your right. So fully embrace Him as your rescuer and protector that you will hold a peace that defies understanding.