It’s not good for my heart, and doesn’t seem too helpful for marriage either.
Why am I thinking about this? It’s not like I watch alot of smut as it is…I’m pretty choosy these days with the content that I allow my eyes to see. However, I’m finding that my diligence in viewing boundaries hasn’t really done the trick.
“How?” you ask.
Well, let me answer by backing up a bit. Doesn’t it seem a bit “coincidental” that the country with a robust movie industry also has a 50% divorce rate? I don’t think movies themselves are inherently bad, but here in America we seem to only want to watch movies that have some sort of romantic story or subplot, and usually it involves gratuitous love scenes. I can hardly find a movie these days that doesn’t have some sort of him and her action going on.
I used to think that movies with a little romance were harmless, especially if they left the sex out. However, after being married for seven years, I’m starting to have a different opinion regarding movies, and alot of fiction books (I hardly read any romance novels, for good reason). Here’s why.
1. Movies are made up…the writers are in control of the characters and how they behave. Unfortunately, we (ahem, especially women) tend to forget how unrealistically alot of people are portrayed in films. In real life, men don’t remain mysterious, romantic all the time, always thoughtful, in great shape, meeting our every need. My own life has proven to me how easy it is to enter marriage with unrealistic expectations embedded in you towards how you think your husband should be on a constant basis. When reality sets in, it can be rather disappointing.
2. Entertaining ourselves with the love stories in movies sets our husbands up for failure. Come on, what man can compete with Jude Law in Cold Mountain, Mel Gibson in Braveheart, or countless other characters throughout movie history. Even Jude Law and Mel Gibson can’t live up to the characters they’ve played. Yet, we expect those shining qualities to appear in our husbands. Isn’t the way we women cling to romance in movies similar to how men approach pornography? We seek after something that isn’t real or lasting, too. Oh come on, you know it’s true; otherwise the romantic comedy genre would not be as big as it is now. Furthermore, how would we feel if our husbands constantly compared us in every way to their favorite female actress? We would immediately feel justified in calling them jerks, yet we are more than willing to put burdens on them that they weren’t meant to carry.
3. We’re mistaken in our understanding of what love really is. It’s not a feeling, it’s an act. However, as a culture, we are quick to let go of commitments when the fuzzy feeling is gone or the spark of excitement eludes us. We commit to wars and then get angry when we are engaged too long and we are tired of them, we save money from our paychecks for about 5 seconds, we can’t seem to stay married for the long haul…I could come out with tons of examples of how quickly we in America throw in the towel. Love and marriage aren’t always climactic and then wrapped up nicely in a couple of hours. They are often messy, hard, and require alot of effort, commitment, and “love” to stay in. The movies of today seem to make us forget these things.
I’m not exceptionally enthusiastic about drastically curbing what movies I watch. I love romantic comedies and dramas…I enjoy my chick flick time…I like seeing “happily ever after” stories. However, I’ve come to realize that my original definition of “happily ever after” was far from realistic. Much closer to the truth are movies like Fireproof and Courageous, and sometimes marriages don’t even work out like that.
Ultimately, it is less painful for me to stop dreaming of being married to a Colin Firth Mr. Darcy kind of guy, and better if I embrace who I am married to, flaws and all. Unlike the fleeting love of Hollywood, I can trust my husband to stick to his vows, provide for his family, and be there when I get up in the morning. He helps me out in so many ways and loves our little boys tremendously. I want to be extremely careful that I don’t continue to take those things for granted by selfishly putting the burden on him to be the perfect man. I need ALOT of grace, and want to be willing to offer that same grace to him.
How about you? Any thoughts on watching seemingly harmless movies? Or, how has ceasing to watch most movies helped your marriage?
Seeking to fully live,