“You deserve a man who treats you like a princess.”
How often are women given this advice? It is a call to raise your standards and settle for nothing less than the man who makes all your dreams come true. We’re to give up on the unworthy men who don’t romance us every step of the way, and focus on attaining the man who sees what we truly deserve and provides it. Not only is this idea fully accepted in our culture, but it has been wholeheartedly embraced by many in the church. We are told that we are “daughters of the King,” and that as such we are entitled to a man who treats us like a princess. It is no less than God’s will and desire for our lives that we have the Prince Charming for whom our hearts long. If we wait and pray and don’t lower our standards, God will grant us the prince He has promised as our right as His daughters.
But when you say you deserve a man who treats you like a princess, what does that mean? A lot of what has resulted from all this “raising of standards” to find a man who treats you like a princess is in fact a prioritization of the wrong things. Most women will give slightly different answers, from requiring flowers and expensive dates to a man who romances her with poems, serenades, and “Good morning” texts. Implicit in the idea, however, is that the only kind of man who deserves to be in your life treats you like a princess when he is serving you in romantic ways. You never see a Facebook post bragging, “My husband got up and went to work today and did his job as unto the Lord. He really treats me like a princess.” Wives never proudly gloat over their husband taking out the trash or not leaving his dirty socks in the living room. These are expected. Wives apparently deserve more.
Inherent in the idea of you being treated like a princess is that you are entitled to get what you want. If he’s kissing your hand and spending his life winning your affection, how could he possibly say no to your desires? Your love and good favor are his for the earning, but he owes it to you that he earns them forever. There is a selfishness and pride to this that flies in the face of the King that those in the church claim has given us the right to be treated like princesses. Yes, if you are in Christ you are the daughter of the King of the universe. But this King is not calling you to a pampered existence. He is the one who “did not count equality with God something to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6) and “who came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). He is the same King who calls you to take up your cross and follow after him in service to others. As a daughter of that King, you were not called to be a princess, but a helpmate.
The princess mentality puts the woman in the position of power in the relationship, a place we have been struggling to attain since Eve. But ladies, there is a difference between a man who treats you with respect and a man who treats you with deference. The latter puts you on a pedestal. The former sometimes requires him to lovingly hold you accountable. I grew up on Disney movies and played dress-up in tiaras and princess gowns and dreamed of my happily ever after as much as the next girl. I clung to the hope of a fairytale come true all through my teen years, and never gave up on “true love,” even through the times when my heart was broken and bruised. I had high standards, and I was looking for a man that I could trust with my heart. But when the princess in me starts to rear her prissy head, I need to be reminded of the qualities that are truly valuable, like a heart that loves the Lord and the strength and willingness to lead with wisdom.
Please don’t hear me saying that women need to be only subservient and that we should have no standards for the men we choose to marry. This is not a call to lower your standards. It is a call to change them. Examine your own heart. Are you looking for a man who serves you, pampers you, and capitulates to your whims? Or are you looking for a man who knows that the heart is deceitful above all things and has the courage to encourage your growth in godliness. Don’t wait for the Prince Charming you have defined by what he does for you, and don’t make the measure of a good man whether or not he treats you like a princess. Wait for a man who leads. A man who says no to some of the things you want, because sometimes what you want isn’t what’s best. Find faithfulness instead of flowers. Seek strength over sentimentalism and serenades. Choose consistency over chivalry. Discover the beauty of sacrifice, and you will reap a love stronger than romantic gestures.