I have a confession to make… when I was single, there were certain romantically themed movies that I really enjoyed watching (Clarification: not all of them!!). That being said, please don’t inform my wife of this. I put this secret on the internet in confidence.
The reason I enjoyed, and sometimes still do, some romantic movies is because I would watch that man love that woman so deeply and I would think to myself, “Whoa… I can’t wait to love a woman like!” For me, my connection to those movies went far beyond just wanting companionship or not wanting to be alone. I wanted to connect with a woman forever on every level imaginable.
In contrast to this was, and still is, my total dislike of romantic movies that leave the audience with the notion of a blissful, problem-free, everything will be awesome happily ever after. I dislike them because even in my singleness my internal “unrealistic meter” would physically manifest its readings on my face with a huge eye-roll. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship that was beyond surface-level or superficial knows that meaningful relationships are messy because people are messy. To really get to know someone is to accept his/her good qualities as well as the bad. This reality becomes even more evident in the context of marriage. Happily ever after does not mean that the bad in people will just evaporate forever (as much as we would like it to). In marriage, both parties have to expose themselves emotionally, mentally, and spiritually (physically too of course). The scary part of this is that in doing so we bring to light some of the not so great aspects of ourselves. The beautiful part about this is that you probably have a spouse who loves you and is committed to you, and because of that you have the best accountability partner who wants to see you flourish just as much as you do. Trying to cover up unpleasant characteristics of ourselves does not remove them from existence. The only way to deal with our problems is to actually deal with our problems! Remember those “for better or for worse” parts of your marital vows? The only way to fix “the worse” is to talk about it, make a plan to get where you want to go, and follow through until you have succeeded. If this sounds hard that’s because it is! However, just think of every worthwhile thing in your life… did it come easy? How much more valuable are our marriages?