It's an interesting time to be sending our children out into the
world to find a spouse, isn't it? I don't think any Christian would
say that modern culture's messages of "if it feels good, do it",
and "follow your heart" are good underpinnings and guidelines when
it comes to making one of the most important decisions of one's
life. After all, Scripture instructs us that "the heart is deceitful
above all things" (Jer. 17:9).
Dr. Kenneth Ryan understands the problem, and he sets out to help
single women navigate the choppy dating and relationship waters
in Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads: How to Find a Quality
Guy Without Getting Your Heart Shredded. Although I found
the book to be a bit disjointed in its conversational tone (a good
editor for this self-published work would have been helpful), I
do think Dr. Ryan has uncovered some gems that are well worth heeding.
To begin with, Dr. Ryan cautions young women to enter into the
dating world with as much rational thought as possible. I don't
think this applies only to females, though; I have a couple of
teenaged young men in my home who've let their emotions carry them
away from time to time. Here's the admonition given in chapter
I hope you are reading this book while you are not in love. I
think I have a much better chance of convincing you of these truths
if your mind is not already mushy. Most of my arguments are based
upon non-romantic logic. Once you are in the middle of a relationship,
you may be less receptive to rational advice. If you think you
can withstand the forces that have taken couples down since the
beginning of time, you are naive. If I have succeeded in persuading
you to approach your relationship in a new way, it is important
to make your plan or personal standards when you are in your right,
logical, and mush-free mind.
Touché. And so what are the logical truths Dr. Ryan espouses?
1. Learn to talk with guys, 2. Don't sleep with him, and 3. Don't
panic. These are the basics, and the rest of the book expounds
upon each point in turn.
Much of Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads: How to Find
a Quality Guy Without Getting Your Heart Shredded focuses
on sex and how women are inclined to give in far too easily,
hence the "don't sleep with him" rule. There are good reminders,
particularly for a young woman who may have never been told that
sex is designed for the safety and relational intimacy of marriage,
even if our society communicates that any "committed" sex is
ok. Dr. Ryan tends to appeal more to statistics and psychology
than Scripture, however; so you may want to make certain that
your young reader has the promises of God's Word to balance what
is being said here.
While the book presents some excellent suggestions for young women
who are perhaps befuddled at their seeming inability to find that
proverbial prince, I was disappointed to find that Dr. Ryan's advice
does not include an encouragement to only consider dating as a
precursor to marriage. We don't see any grounds for "recreational" dating
in Scripture, and in fact I think we can cite plentiful warnings
in God's Word against a cavalier attitude toward relationships
Marriage is one of the most important decisions we will ever make;
when two people marry, they cleave to one another and become one
flesh in a relationship that God intended to be permanent and unbreakable
(Gen. 2:24, Matt. 19:5). Dr. Ryan does say this throughout the
book, and so I would assume that more importance might have been
placed on the intentional dating relationship.
Still, Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads has many
good points of discussion for parents and singles. Start here and
perhaps you'll soon be able to recognize the princes among the
toads. They really are out there!