Two Reasons Why We Shouldn’t Envy Movie Couples
By Tess Farrand, Staff Writer
“You had me at hello.” “I’ll never let go.” “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”
These are just a few quotes out of hundreds that are uttered by famous movie couples as they look longingly into each other’s eyes. These moments made you tear up, think of your spouse, or maybe made you yearn for a love like that….
No matter what, Hollywood movies know exactly how to play to our emotions. Now, there are plenty of good things to be said of romantic movies: Pursuit, tenderness, care, and admiration. In the middle of the warm fuzzy feelings, there are two noteworthy concerns: coveting and lusting.
Let’s take the blockbuster movie TITANIC (which is not appropriate), which grossed almost $660 million domestically when it released in 1997. The love-story captured hearts, as they rooted for Jack and Rose to live a grand life of adventure once the Titanic would arrive in New York City. As history and the screenwriters would have it, that never happened.
The problem with TITANIC, like so many romance movies like it, is that they cultivate unrealistic expectations of life to young susceptible viewers. One viewer once said to her boyfriend sitting next to her, “I’ll just sit here and watch TITANIC, wishing I had some romance in life.” It’s easier to live in a make-believe world than work on relationships in the real one.
This isn’t to say that a wild story like meeting the love of your life on a cruise ship could never happen. Maybe, that is your story. Rather, the danger lies when we start to covet these stories, instead of embracing our own stories like the woman above.
“Why doesn’t my husband dance like Jack does with Rose?”
“Why won’t my wife fight for me like Rose does for Jack?”
The list could go on.
Here, we are subject to falling into the trap of comparison. By idolizing movie couples’ experiences rather than accepting or improving our own relationships, we will end up unhappy because the perfect movie relationship is unattainable. They often show the ideal rather than the real. When we spend time day-dreaming of the grandeur of these epic love tales, we run the risk of neglecting our significant other in real life.
Not only coveting, but romance movies have the tendency to increase our desire to lust.
Many movies like DIRTY DANCING and JERRY MAGUIRE, where the sexual tension is blatant do this, as well as countless current romance. Now, let’s be honest, Hollywood movies seldom depict sex between spouses. It’s usually a lover, maybe an affair, or underage teenagers losing their virginity. The recent 50 SHADES OF GREY movies propel this idea that brutal abusive sex equals love. It absolutely does not. These types of movie couples encourage our God-given sexual desires but not in the way He intended – for marriage.
Some of these romance movies are so extreme in their showcasing of sex, they’re borderline pornographic. Viewing these images can taint your own intimate relationship with your spouse. According to a study conducted by University of Westchester, married men who view pornography raise doubts about fidelity and trust. When love turns into lust, we need to rethink our desires and curb our thoughts to more God-centered images.
Coveting and lusting after the storylines of movie couples only plays on our innate desire for intimacy. We desire to be pursued and known, but we need to be reminded that God pursues us and knows the depths of our hearts in ways no one else can.
Francis Chan puts it this way, “There is no greater love story. The judge of the universe chased after those who rebelled against Him…. Yet God so loves His ‘enemies’ that He sent His Son to pay the penalty for our crimes.”
All this isn’t to say romance is bad. There’s a whole book of the Bible filled with romance in the covenant of marriage. God wants you to have love in your life, but romance is not the goal of love. Since He is love (see 1 John 4:7), He is the goal.
“I press on toward the upward goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 3:14 (NASB)