If you know me, you know that I love stories. I love watching it in movies, reading about them in great books, and writing my own. I grew up writing stories and reading tons of books, really thinking that one day some epic adventure and romance would happen to me. I don’t really know the specifics of exactly how this would take place, I just knew it would happen and it would be awesome. Maybe one day I would be kidnapped and one of my captors would secretly be working for the CIA and risked his cover so that he could keep me safe. Naturally, he would be drop dead gorgeous and end up falling madly in love with me. There would be some obstacles in the way, of course, and we would be in lots of danger, but the injuries would be mild and everything would work out perfectly in the end.
When my mom told me that she met my dad in college, I remember thinking, college? Boooooring! That won’t happen to me. No, I will probably be out camping one day and sprain my ankle, some attractive man will save me and carry me for miles (without struggling), then we would have to spend the next week or so fighting mountain lions and bears, encounter a secret forest gang, and jump off into a waterfall. Gorgeous man and I will probably not like each other at first, might banter with each other a bit, then eventually, through all our adventures, we would begin to fall in love. And where did this all come from? This kind of plot could be seen in pretty much every Christian romance novel I read as a kid. Books are to blame for my fantasies! And Disney movies! Why do we encourage reading so much? Look what it does to you! Especially for women. It makes you think that it is completely possible for you to live out this epic romance. Maybe not all women think that. I probably knew in the back of my head that this was probably never going to happen, but I think the desire for it never went away. I don’t think any woman stops wanting to be swept off their feet and involved in some kind of adventure where your heart feels like its going to explode, but in a good I’M ALIVE kind of way. I met my husband in college. No, he didn’t have to challenge another man to a duel to date me (unfortunately). He pretty much won me over, we dated and blah blah blah. Where is my story? God, knowing how I am a huge fan of stories, why couldn’t he give me this desire? He could have made it happen. Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for all the blessings He did give me. I am very grateful for my husband and feel very blessed that we are together. I just wish it could have been done in a more…Natalie type way. You know? If you read my fairy tale version of how Alexander and I met, you will see the typical Disney-like story all of us girls secretly crave. Even if I didn’t get my perfect epic romance adventure of a lifetime story with Alexander, I believe that there is still hope for you (maybe not a crazy fantasy like mine, but maybe something close). Let’s see what we can learn about finding adventure in the great wide somewhere from one of my favorite Disney characters, Belle:
1) “Adventure” is not always transparent, and never easy. When Belle gave up her life to be imprisoned with a nasty-ass beast, I don’t think she knew this was going to be the adventure she had read in her books. All she could see was living in a castle with just one scary beast and creepy talking furniture. She gave up her life of going into town every day, feeding the chickens, and rejecting a handsome man everyday. And why? So her father wouldn’t have to live in a castle. She could have said no and let her old man die in there, but Belle had a kind and loving heart. She sacrificed her own comfort and life for her father, and was rewarded for it in the end. How many times have you said no to something because it required you to sacrifice some comfort? If we can learn anything from books and Disney movies, it’s that great epic romance never comes easy. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty, sacrifice some comfort, and see where it takes you.
2) Don’t settle. Belle could have lived a nice life with Gaston, sure. He could provide for her, hunt for her, give her some good-looking children. She would have everything she needed, but she would have to put up with his unbearable arrogance and conceit. Even though he was handsome and offered her everything that other women would have swooned over, Belle was like, “Screw that! I’m going to live with my Papa until the day I die rather than marry you!”
3) Your True Love May not be A Looker, at First. The Beast is ugly. Let’s just get that out of the way. Once Belle spent time with him and gave him a chance, she could see his true character. That might be the same for you. Your prince charming may not look like the guy you had dreamed about, but giving him a chance and seeing his great personality could transform him into the prince in the end,( i.e., he could become attractive to you.) Lucky for Belle, he actually did transform completely. You might not be so lucky.
I hope you keep these things in mind and hopefully one day, you can share with me the adventure you and your now spouse have shared. Although the story of how Xander and I met is boring, I’m not going to let that stop us from living a life with adventures. The books I read never prepared me for marriage. They actually always ended when you knew they were going to be together forever. And what did this subconsciously teach me? That once you get married, that’s it. Your life ends. The romance is done, the chase and excitement…done. Finito. Now all that’s left is living with each other every day and trying to make a living and keep your house clean. Well, I refuse. If I ever start craving that epic romance, I can A) always write about it in books, or B) actually try to live it out with my husband. But I need to take the same advice I just gave you. Adventure is never easy. You have to plan to go somewhere, save money and do it. Let us both keep these lessons from Belle in mind and see where the adventure might take us!