I remember one evening sitting on the couch watching Cinderella with my 6 year old granddaughter.
She was enthralled with the movie; eyes riveted; heart obviously attached to Cinderella.
Then I thought, “What is she learning about relationships, about love and about marriage?”
My heart skipped a few beats as I watched the budding “relationship” of Cinderella and the Prince.
Have you ever noticed:
1. Cinderella and the Prince never have a conversation? They merely looked starry eyed at each other and in some fashion “fall in love.”
2. Cinderella was being rescued by the Prince. He truly was her knight in shining armor. He would come and make her life incredibly better, all without carrying on a conversation!
3. Did you ever wonder what the Prince saw in Cinderella? Well, I suppose he saw a cute little thing, the cutest in the realm, even scrubbing the floor. She certainly would be a prize, would she not? And, do you ever think the Prince had any sexual thoughts about this cute thing?
4. And, of course, they would live happily ever after. Their relationship would cement where it was: always starry eyed, she being cared for by a wealthy good looking Prince and he able to strut with the cutest in the realm holding his arm. There obviously would be no need for any “deep” conversation or thoughtfulness about their relationship.
What do you suppose my granddaughter was learning? Would she work hard at being this cute damsel batting her eyes, feigning helplessness, to attract a wealthy handsome prince?
Now, let’s jump ahead 30 or so years.
In our 20s and 30s we work hard at making our dreams become reality. We take the assumptions we learned early in life and try to inject them with life (success, fortune, romance, happiness, etc.)
We assume the role and behavior of Cinderella or the Prince. Not consciously, of course, but these imprinted images guide how we feel and think and markedly influence.
Men strive to be the prince. Women welcome the prince who makes life better.
Around 36-46 we are struck by a life changing and shattering reality: It just ain’t gonna happen!
My husband is not a prince; far from it. I’m sick of his posturing.
My wife is not the cutest in the realm (especially after a couple kids) nor does she accept or appreciate my work.
This mid-life awakening often shakes one or both and certainly the marriage or relationship to the core.
It’s time for the prince and Cinderella to grow up.
It’s time to look beneath the surface. It’s time to move beyond roles.
It’s a great opportunity to truly BE and with a little more “conversation” with fewer childlike assumptions generate the mature intimacy both truly desire.