True Love vs. Fairy-Tale Love: How to Tell the Difference

    True love means living happily ever after. It means someone will rush in to save the day. It means you have one true soul mate out there who will fulfill every longing you have. Right?

    Those are the Hollywood and fairy-tale versions of love. But do the movies and the stories really nail it? Or do they offer epic fails?

    Here are five ways you can tell true love from Hollywood entertainment or fairy tales.


    1. “They lived happily ever after.” In fairy tales, the story ends with this line right after the prince saves the day. Or, in modern Disney movies, it’s when the princess saves the prince. With real love, that’s when the relationship work begins. Falling in love is just the starting line. It takes commitment, compromise and unconditional love over a lifetime to finish the race.

    2. “Saving the day.” In movies and fairy tales, someone always makes a big move to save the one they love from something. In real love, each partner makes selfless sacrifices—big and small—every day.

    3. One true love. Films and fairy tales hold out the promise that there is one—and only one—person who is exactly right for you. One person who will complete you. However, God says we are to be complete in Him. If you are complete in Him and you meet a guy who is complete in His love for God, you don’t need each other to feel fulfilled. Your relationship will be the bonus, the icing on the cake. You get to be who God created you to be. Your guy gets to be who God created Him to be. And together you get to do things for God, too. That’s a true soul mate!

    4. You’ll kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. On TV dramas and reality shows, as well as in some movies, stars change partners as often as they change their shoes. True love means having the self-control to wait for the relationship that’s right by God’s standards. “Trying out” guys is nothing more than using them.

    5. If it’s not working for you, get out. Hollywood and our culture love this one. If you’re not happy, it’s time to move on. But happiness isn’t the goal. Serving God is. If you get married to a man who loves God and you, it means sticking it out when the going gets tough. That’s true love.


    So what’s your take? Have you seen Hollywood get it right? Do fairy tales set us up for love or disappointment? Let us know what you think about true love and happily-ever-afters.

    Natalie Gillespie
    Natalie Gillespie is the mom, stepmom and adoptive mom of nine kids, as well as a best-selling author, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of "Into the Light: My Journey from the Glare of Hollywood to the Glow of God's Love" with Nicole Weider.


    1. One thought I had on this subject is how, in some fairy tales and Hollywood movies, the hero and heroine (lovers) do have fights amongst themselves and split apart for awhile. Then, at the climax of the story, the two reunite in a glorious array of “love” and passion and solve the great problem and defeat the villain. Though this isn’t quite reality it may be a step in the direction. It’s just a very simplified version of a day in the life of a human.

      For myself, I haven’t been in a romantic relationship with a man and am choosing to wait upon the Lord for what must come next.

      • I like how you said “am choosing to wait upon the Lord for what must come next”. I am finally in a relationship with a man but I was serving the Lord before I met him and waiting for the Lord’s calling is the best thing to do.

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