It was the scene where the young prince met his bride to be for the very first time on his 21st birthday that made the story an instant classic for me. He showed no enthusiasm for the extremely attractive woman, even after she exhibited the highest form of submission to his every desire, including barking like a BIG dog while hopping on one leg. The young prince explained his resistance to marriage to his authoritative father as a desire to find out for himself what he liked as well as what he disliked – before committing his life to marriage.
Far too many soon-to-be-wed find themselves in the same sort of quandary on the day of their nuptials. Do I really know what I like and dislike, need and can do without, or desire and have no appetite for? Anxiety becomes the illness when these questions cannot be answered. Unlike the young prince that revered his father – most suck up their feelings and commit their lives to the unknown. Possibly a worse tragedy are the folks that run from the commitment without explanation or asking the parties involved to take a step back long enough to gather more information.
Another favorite scene is where the wealthy heir of a family fortune built by silky hair products decides to announce an engagement to be wed to the fair-hearted, equally established heiress without consulting her in advance. The similarities include neither bride having a choice in the decision and both sets of parents celebrating and affirming the unions. The differences involve the grooms. One was noble minded and although his bride had no say – he wanted her to choose him – for him. The other frankly wanted to marry well, which meant a union of fortune and fashion. The later lacks resilience when times get tough.
The lesson to be gained from the latter proposal is that even though he clearly had an agenda and knew what he wanted, the arrangement was still one sided. The bride’s voice was mute and under-valued. How could a person’s agenda or ego be so large that it cast shade over everyone and everything else affected by the decision? It is reasonable for someone to also want to escape an engagement or marriage when they feel invisible, void of meaning, absent of real value, and unheard.
In the end, the two persons that wanted more than an arranged union, and opted for one with transparency, shared ideas, openness to new experiences, and a proven ability to bridge obstacles prevailed. The closing scene returns to the ornate wedding hall complete with all of the trappings of wealth and royalty. A young prince stood obediently next to his parents prepared to submit to their best will for his life. His submission is admirable. Yet, to his pleasant surprise the woman that he fell in love with – in heart, body, and soul – stood unveiled before him as she realized that he was her heart’s desire, too.
We fail to commit, go all the way to the finish, press on towards the mark when we are unsure of ourselves, or unclear of what we truly want out of life. Is it wise to sometimes move forward on the advice of others, such as parents or elders? With absolute certainty! The nudging of those who walk before us brings great value – but only when we too are of clear conscious that this is our next best move. And to know that, we must also know who we are, what we are made of, when we are ready, and why we want what we desire.