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He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not - Eugenio Zampighi

Who is she thinking about?

In light of various blog posts and conversations I have read and heard the past couple of weeks, it seems to me that a certain concept of what a young woman is looking for in a husband is often assumed–but this idea is not necessarily always accurate.

The term “Prince Charming” is thrown around lightly, even in more conservative circles, as the summation of all a young woman’s dreams. Maybe for some young women, it is. Maybe some young women really do just want to be charmed for the moment.

But there are other young ladies out there who are actually looking for “Prince Valient” (and I don’t mean the comic strip). Sometimes these young ladies even tend to be suspicious of “Prince Charming” types–even if they may not be totally exempt from the influence of their charms. A “Prince Valient” type has more promise of remaining true than a “Prince Charming” type does–for “charm is deceitful and beauty is passing”, but “a good man is steadfast and firm to the end”.

Readers of the old medieval fairy tales and the Scriptures are familiar with a certain nobility of character that is often conveyed by the word “prince”. (Disney has done much to feminize and alter the significance of the medieval fairy tale….) After all, in history and in the old stories, the prince was a future king–at least one of noble family. Nobility is ingrained in his character–strength in his convictions–valience in battle (whether with physical or spiritual enemies)–unwavering steadiness in pursuit of truth and justice–gentleness and kindness and selflessness towards weaker ones–dedication to his God and faith. This one is a true prince–if we are going to use fairy tale terms.

Regardless of his state as the handsomest and youngest son–as frequently encountered in the stories–or as the less attractive elder brother, this one is a true “prince”. The “princes” who are devious, clever, willing to compromise, harsh, selfish, and full of falsehood are a shame to the noble title of “Prince”. Very often–and perhaps without real reason–“Prince Charming” carries the connotation of one of these masqueraders rather than a true prince, as is conveyed by the title of “Prince Valient”.

Since Reformation is only accomplished, carried on, and persisted in through means of men (and women) such as the “Prince Valient” type I have here described, perhaps we should try also reforming our terminology–after all, what does the typical concept of “Prince Charming” really have in common with “Prince Valient” and what many young women are actually looking for?

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Just some thoughts on terminology…words mean things, after all….

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