Love Defined: Seeing Through the Fairy-tale Facade

Jacob and Kaitlyn were both well-liked, a bit like local celebrities amongst their high school peers.

She was gorgeous. He was handsome. She was thin. He was strong. She was toned. He was athletic.

It only made sense that these two Hollywood look-alikes would end up in a romantic relationship. After many years of dating each other off and on, they finally decided to get serious about their future together.

When I heard that Jacob and Kaitlyn were finally going to tie the knot, I was excited. They made a drop-dead gorgeous pair! What could go possibly wrong?

Even though their dating history had been somewhat rocky, it felt like their intense love for one another would ultimately carry them through. I assumed that their stunning looks, passionate love, and mutual popularity would keep them together and “in love” forever.

That’s how fairy-tale endings go, right?

Fast forward a few years, and imagine my shock when Kaitlyn sadly announced that Jacob had filed for divorce and left her for another woman. His heart was “calling,” he had explained to her. His feelings were moving on. He needed to follow after them.

Kaitlyn was left alone to pick up the pieces of her broken heart.

Observing this sad ending to Jacob and Kaitlyn’s relationship gave me a major wake-up call. For the first time, I realized just how shortsighted my perspective on love and marriage had been.

I had believed the lie that we can define relationships according to our own terms and still get lasting, satisfying results. I convinced myself that we can ignore God’s design for love and romance and still have Christ-centered happily-ever-afters.

Boy, was I wrong.

Love Defined

In my new book, Love Defined: Embracing God’s Vision for Lasting Love and Satisfying Relationship, I introduce this false perspective of love as “The Fairy Tale Facade.”

The Fairy Tale Facade is like a beautiful false front. From the outside, it looks really good. Imagine a temporary front covering on the outside of an old, ugly building. The exterior looks great, but behind the false front is nothing more than a wreck.

The Fairy Tale Facade promotes the idea that we can completely ignore God’s design for love, sex, and romance, and still have lasting, satisfying results. It’s the idea that Hollywood can define love according to its own terms and still create happily ever afters. It’s the false belief that we can ignore the Creator’s perfect plan for our lives and still achieve complete satisfaction apart from His design. Despite all the lofty promises the Fairy Tale Facade offers, it’s nothing more than a false front.

That is exactly what I believed about Jacob and Kaitlyn’s relationship, and it’s honestly what I believed about my first serious relationship as well.

My view of relationships didn’t begin to truly change until I stopped and asked some pointed questions. Questions that began to expose this false view of love.

I want you to think through these questions, too:

  • If Hollywood’s version of true love works so well in the movies, then why doesn’t it work in real life?
  • If adultery is portrayed as free of consequences in TV shows, then why is it incredibly painful in real life?
  • If sex outside of marriage seems to bring such great satisfaction in chick-flicks, then why does it leave us empty and needing more in real life?
  • If one-night stands are so fun and thrilling, then why do they leave us so miserable?
  • If lasting love is defined by two beautiful people falling in love, then why is divorce so rampant?

It’s time for us to get real about the messages portrayed by Hollywood and the messages we’ve allowed our sinful hearts to believe. We need to acknowledge that modern relationships are not doing very well.

We need a better plan.
We need a better foundation to build our love lives upon.
The wisdom from fairy tales and chick-flicks isn’t going to cut it in the long run.

We need Christ’s help to redefine our definition of love.

Love Unpacked

Over the next week, my sister Kristen and I are going to dig into the best-of-the-best from our new book, Love Defined. We’ll unpack God’s vision for love and romance, show you how to thrive as a single girl, talk about boundaries in a romantic relationship, and share wisdom from several Titus 2 women whom we interviewed for the book.

To make things even more exciting, we’ll give away a copy of Love Defined with each post this week. Simply log in to the giveaway widget below, and leave us a comment for a daily chance to win.

Let’s get started! Think through these two questions and share your thoughts in the comments section below:

  1. Why do you think good looks and romantic passion aren’t enough to sustain a relationship long-term?
  2. If Hollywood’s version of true love works so well in the movies, then why doesn’t it work in real life?

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About Author

Bethany Baird

After a brief experience in the modeling industry, Bethany’s eyes were opened to how self-absorbed and lost her generation of young women really are. She and her older sister were inspired to start a blog (www.GirlDefined.com) and wrote a book Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. Their passion is to help young women find God’s truth about beauty and womanhood and the freedom that comes from living a radically different life for Christ.

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Jemima

    Amazing, can’t believe how easy it is to fanaticise over the Hollywood and chic flick relationships and forget why God created relationships in the first place

  • Casey Halbert

    Hollywood’s version of true love and romance does not work because it is not based on a foundation of Biblical truth. It is not based on the kind of love defined by God that we need in our real-life romances. Hollywood’s version likes to pack on the lights and glamor, and passion, but completely ignores the real-world consequences as defined in Scripture.

    Good looks and romantic passions are not enough to sustain a romance because those feelings, over time, can fade. And then what? Most often, we take that as absolute, and start our search all over again. I used to fall for that lie, that good looks and passionate feelings were the signal that I needed to be with someone. And when those feelings didn’t last? I was stuck, and often devastated. It’s a nasty, vicious lie that Hollywood sells.

  • Tera V.

    The Bible says that charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. Beauty, good looks, stick legs and bulging muscles don’t stick around. But true love is eternal. True love, not like Hollywood portrays it (defined by sexual attraction, good looks, etc.) but the way the Bible portrays it. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

  • Lasstfirst

    We are built out of more than the exterior, so basing anything on only looks and charm is flimsy and just waiting to crumble. Hollywood exists to sell, and it’s easier to sell an over-romantisized notion of relationships than one that’s true and built on hard work. I’m yearning for the truth after years of being re-programmed by the media.

  • L

    can’t wait to read it!!

  • Seslie Roughton

    Excited to read the rest of your blog posts as you explore this topic.

  • KristenNoelle

    This is wonderful thank you 🙂 I’m young and have never been in a relationship but I really want to have a good perspective on concepts such as what the world tells us verses what God tells us. I’m excited to see the upcoming blogs!

  • Rachel

    There is more to a relationship than the looks and romantic passion. A relationship is about knowing someone on a deeper level. It’s about loving someone for who they are on the inside. Man looks on the outward appearance but God looks on the heart 1 Samuel ch 16 v7. Hollywoods version of true love doesn’t work in real life because real life isn’t a fairytale. Real life has times when things are hard and don’t go to plan. Hollywood just shows life as going great and being romantic with a happy ever after. Real life love doesn’t always have a happy romantic ending. Through the ups and downs of love, relationships and life we have God who is always there and always listens.

  • Anonymous

    Any relationship or marriage takes work from both of you. It also means you put God first. Regardless you follow God’s Will no matter what. No relationship is perfect. There will be disagreements, words said that you can’t take back, hurtful words said, & etc. Alot of men my age pay attention & want a lady by their looks. There is a man that likes me, but he & I believe differently & I remember the girls video on that being something you should both share same belief. One elder makes me feel forced to give that man that believes differently a chance & date this guy. I want God’s will & that’s wrong to date a different believer right, Kristen & Bethany? Praying each day & seeking to follow God’s plan no matter what.

    • You should never be forced into a relationship with a man. The man that we “date” or have a relationship with should first and foremost be a believer. He needs to believe that Jesus came to this earth, lived a sinless life, died on a cross in payment for the sins of the world (me, included) and rose again giving us the hope of eternal life with Him. That is the most important belief. Others can be secondary beliefs and may not be as vital to be unified. I know this is a difficult season of your life, but please know I am praying for you!

  • Kelsey Thoman

    Love this post and the message behind it! You never know what can happen in life and there are a ton of things that can take your good looks away. Like cancer treatments, accidents, illnesses, and other unexpected trials. Good looks will leave you, but your character never will!

  • Andrea

    Love isn’t all about good looks and romantic passions because first good looks don’t last forever and what’s left of a person when he grows older is who he is on the inside and that’s what God sees. And romantic passions are fleeting because when you don’t put God in the middle of your relationship, love ends. But a marriage that has God as it’s base doesn’t have to worry about not loving the other person enough because God gives you the love to give to the other person.
    2. Hollywood’s version of love only works in the movies because they have it all planned out, they know what is gonna sell. But I’m real life it’s different, we don’t know what’s gonna happen in our lives, who will be the love of our lives, or if it’s a mistake, but it’s comforting to know that God and control of each aspect of our lives and knows what gonna happen.
    (For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.) Jeremiah 11:29. We don’t have to worry about he future because he’s got it handled and what if I don’t like what is in store for me? Well God promises a future of hope and blessing, not one that is gonna harm you. So trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will make your crooked paths straight

  • Moriah Hinton

    Love is not all about looks. Love is much much more than that. Movies are not real..people portray them to be and Hollywood makes it look that way but it’s not real life.

  • Lydia Sparlin

    I love this. I have not been in a romantic relationships, and I would love to learn what God has in store for me. I have always seen Hollywood’s ideal relationship and Inknow it’s not perfect, but I have never searched for God’s design. I am so excite to see it!

  • Grace-Michaela Ingles

    Sounds like a great book! I love that this is coming out.

  • Rebeca

    I’m crazy to read this book! 😍😍

  • SARAH BROWN

    A relationship is so much more than good looks and keeping up the right image. It is important to truly know who your significant other really is. The friendship that you have is really what matters. My dad has always told me, “you need to be friends before you can start dating”. I absolutely agree with him (after a little bit of time). If you start with a friendship and move onto a relationship eventually it is worth the while. Often in Hollywood the friendships don’t occur, which is why so many relationships fail.

  • Caroline Queiroz

    I would answer those questions thinking for the first one that these kind of beauty is breaf and fast it ends and that the apparence doesn’t always shows the truth . Sometimes we can think It is a true love and intense passion, but we can’t see the hearts and his problems, fears and sins…

    About the second question, the Hollywood’s films shows what human hearts wants to see: Hapinesse on his ways. The sinful wish of idependence, forgetting our creator who sees higher and clearer than us, that have so much greater plans than our hearts can dreams or plans.

    We fall in this lie because we love bad things without the God conductions, and seens great to have no consequences for bad choices. This makes more beautiful the kindness and mercy of God, that not only teaches us the consequences of bad choices, but also how little and rotted they are. He teaches us to love His word and way, the thruth that is difficult in the real life, but without her, without Christ, theres no way to the eternal life, the real life.

    Thoughts of a brazilian sisters. Thank you for the precious reflections sisters! God bless you all <3

  • Anna

    ! Peter 1:24b-25 The grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever. Good looks and passion just don’t last. A relationship built solely on those two things never could.

    I think that Hollywood’s version of love doesn’t work in real life because its made up. Chick-flicks and the like are mainly imagination and wishful thinking. Its fun to watch, but thats not the way love works, and we as christians need to be careful that the lies repeated to us over and over don’t become truth to us.

    Thanks for doing the giveaway. I’m looking forward to reading this book! 🙂

  • Rachel Lee

    Good looks and romantic passion are not enough to sustain a relationship long term because feelings and looks are temporary. 1 Peter tells us that All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. Only one life, twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last. So if a relationship is sustained through romantic passion and good looks then it won’t last but if it’s sustained through Christ and unconditional love for one another because of His sacrifice, then the relationship will last. The reason why Hollywood’s version of true love doesn’t work in real life is because it isn’t God’s plan. It’s human desires made into a movie by man. It’s not built on biblical principles. Everything Hollywood portrays are expectations and not reality.

  • Lasstfirst

    Can we also talk about past loves? I had once been determined not to give away “pieces of my heart” before marriage..but I failed that a few years ago. I fell deeply in love with this guy who I ended up breaking up with. We were together for a few years, and I loved him more than anyone and anything in the world. I feel so scared now that since I gave my heart away already that I’ll have nothing to give my future husband when that time comes. I don’t have a desire to love like I did before. I’m afraid that when I marry that I’ll never love my husband the way that I loved my old flame. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • I’m so sorry to hear of the loss you have experienced and the fears you carry for the future. When the time comes, I believe God will transform your heart to be one that can fully love another again. Your old flame will always be a memory. But God will pour out His grace and love so that you can love your future husband with all your heart.

      In the meantime, focus your heart and soul on knowing and serving the Lord. He will use your time with Him to prepare you for what He has ahead. I’m praying for you, sweet sister!

      • Lasstfirst

        Thank you. I really need the prayer. I’m constantly suffering anxiety over this. I’m so afraid that I’ve ruined my love life forever because I just laid bare my heart already to someone and acted like his forever wife when I just wasn’t. It’s scary. Thank you for your prayers.

  • Emma

    Thank you so much!! These posts are exactly what I need.

    I think that merely good looks and passion aren’t enough for a strong and lasting marriage because God isn’t in the picture. He is the only way marriages–or anything else–will last. We need to talk to God about everything, and make Hime first in our choices.
    God bless y’all!

  • Maya

    Good looks and romantic passion are not enough to sustain a relationship long-term. They both fade. Both make for a faulty foundation for a relationship. If the foundation is strong and secure and built right on Christ, no matter what storms come, nothing will be able to completely destroy the long-term relationship.

  • Lois

    Those things (good looks and romantic passion) are not deep and important enough to sustain a marriage for the long haul. Marriage needs to be built on something better than that. 🙂

  • Ahh, can’t wait to see this book in the hands of so many girls!!

  • Rachel Kimzey

    I think good looks don’t sustain relationships because… looks can’t be sustained.
    I took a health course in high school, and I remember being very stressed and terrified the day I read about old age. Of course, I knew people get old and their bodies change and all, but reading about the specific things that happen to your bones, your hair, your skin was jarring.
    I started thinking about how much of my worth I put in my looks and physical capabilities now that I will not have 50,60, 70 years from now. The result was a humbling exposure of my own heart, but also a call to look for the deeper value in others (and cultivate it in myself). Lasting love has to be built on something that lasts — it’s that simple, and yet that hard to remember sometimes.
    Looking forward to reading what you and Kristen have to say!

  • Jenna Liz

    I think that we all secretly long to be in that type of seemingly picture perfect relationship that Jacob and Kaitlyn had, because that type of relationship is given extra admiration and applause by all, while the truly serious relationships between truly serious–and less better looking– people are overlooked. At least, thats my view : )

    I am SO grateful that LYWB has committed to helping girls identify and stay away from the lies Hollywood and the rest of our culture are feeding us!

    Thank you to everyone who makes this blog possible!! I really appreciate you!

  • Erika

    I ordered the book — very excited! Thank you SO much GirlDefined sisters!

  • Hannah B

    I was thinking about true love earlier.
    Agape love is the pillar that holds up romantic love.

  • Esther

    Good looks and romantic passion aren’t enough because that’s not what keeps a relationship together. I once heard a wise preacher say that joseph didn’t refuse to sleep with potiphar’s wife because she wasn’t beautiful, but it was rather because he feared God enough to not dishonor him. It’s often when we no longer have a righteous respect for God and the authority around us that we veer into the wrong path. It really is Christ and Christ only that can keep a relationship lasting for many years. That is also why it doesn’t work in real life. Notice how movies always end with the girl getting the guy or vice-versa but we seldom see the marriage after that? That’s because that’s where the real grind works. It’s here where both individuals need to die to self everyday and CHOOSE to love the other person. Feelings will always come and go, but Christ is unshakeable and with him as the foundation the relationship can then continue for many years to come.

  • Elizabeth Nguyen

    Good looks and romantic passion isn’t enough to sustain a relationship long-term. Relationships are built on a number of factors, such as sacrifice, forgiveness and humility. Feelings will die down in a long-term relationship, so you have to try a little harder and motivate yourself to keep on loving.

    Hollywood offers a short-hand, limited view on love. It doesn’t take into account all of the challenges, difficulties, and pain one goes through in a relationship.

  • Sarah

    Thank you for sharing!! I’m so excited to see your new book!

  • Jewels

    Thank you for this post!

  • rebeccavanmiddelkoop

    So excited to see your new book! Thank you for all your work.

  • Leanna

    Good looks and romantic passion are not enough because what counts is what is in the heart! That’s what matters.

  • A

    It’s not enough because Hollywoods love focuses on the here and now, ignoring the fact that marriage is not an end in itself, but a reflection of Christ and the church.

  • Débora

    I was stuck in this idea that you need to be beauty in order to get someone attention or to make someone love you. I was suffering from this thought cause I have no beauty at all and I am single since ever.
    But true love is more the how you look like, and I understand that is not a good thing make someone love you just because you look goodd. Sorry my English.
    O Amor Que Deus sonhou pra nós está atado a coisas que a beleza não pode sustentar como; paz com o outro, lealdade, as vezes é difícil não culpar minha aparência pela minha solterisse mas eu sei que o amor verdadeiro está muito além da minha aparência.

  • Holly

    How easy it is to be sucked into the lies that the world screams at us about love and romance. Super excited for this book! Hollywood’s versions work because it is a controlled and made up setting, placing impossible standards on couples today. It is only through God and His true love can we have beautiful marriages, but even still, we’re sinful humans who will make mistakes. But we can always turn back to God and praise the Lord for the grace He gives!

  • Julia Held

    It breaks my heart when I see the young girls I work with sucked into the lies of Hollywood. They’re fed so much about enjoying the present they never think about future consequences or eternity.

  • Sarai

    A marriage cannot last on good looks alone. It needs more than love too. Marriage is work and fairy tales are fairy tales for a reason. Not reality but it so easy to believe in it because its portrayed and even viewed as true love conquers all.

  • Carolyn H.

    I have been deceived by the fairy-take facade myself. Every romantic movie ends with the couple in love and living happily ever after. But they never show what happens after that. What happens when there’s a problem? In real life, problems can result in arguments, distant relationships, and sadly, divorce. Nobody wants to stick around and work the problem out or try forgiveness. No, that goes against our culture. But problems arise every day. That’s why I’m grateful you’re talking about this. We need to address these problems in our lives.

  • Joanna

    I’m looking forward to reading this since this is a problem in our culture. Thank you!