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Finding Your Prince in a Sea of Toads: How to Find a Quality Guy Without Getting Your Heart Shredded Review by Kendra Fletcher

By Dr. Kenneth Ryan
WinePress Publishing
PO Box 428
Emumclaw, WA 98022

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 5:

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 in general.

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!

Product review by Kendra Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2011