3 Things That the Movies Got Wrong About Love

3 Things That the Movies Got Wrong About Love
Ice cream, popcorn, wine or tea (depending on your preference), and your favorite romantic lead: the perfect recipe for entertainment. I personally was a sucker for Leo and still am for Hugh Grant and Jude Law—that British accent gets me every time. Whether you’re with your best girlfriend or it’s just you and the boob tube, a chick flick night is a favorite event of the feminine side of our culture (it permeates the male side too; they’re just less quick to admit it).

But what I have discovered it is not, is a recipe for real life. Some of our favorite scenes and classic lines are actually the opposite of the truth. When we search for love or model our relationships after what we see on screen, we’re setting ourselves up for trouble.

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

While Love Story may not be as popular a film as it once was, this line uttered by Ali MacGraw keeps circulating in our society. But actually, true love means I am willing to say sorry—a lot. It’s when I am not willing to admit I’m at fault that I get into trouble!

Love requires humility on my part and means I think enough of the other person to value their feelings over my pride or incessant need to be “right.” And if we both have that attitude towards each other, we create a safe space for our hearts to open and love to blossom.

“…for some, quite inexplicably, love fades.”

Oh, how I love The Holiday! I’ve already mentioned my celebrity crush on Jude Law, and with the gorgeous settings and clever dialogue, this movie has cemented its spot on my top 10 list. Aside from the fact that Jude is supposedly crazy about Cameron Diaz, but never mentioned his two daughters or shared his own tragic past—something that definitely doesn’t jive—Kate Winslet’s speech at the beginning makes love sound like a feather that floats in the wind, one you catch and lose with no effort of your own.

No, love doesn’t just fade away without reason. It’s not an outside force we have no control over (attraction may be a “natural” force, but even lust is a choice). To quote Danny Silk in the book Keep Your Love On, “It’s so easy, when things seem to be moving along well in a relationship, to ease off the gas and coast… One day you get up and realize, ‘Wow, I feel so far away from you. What happened?’ You just got lazy, that’s all.”

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The good news is, that means that even though there’s a lot of work involved, you and I do have control over our love lives and hearts! Emotions are God-given and can be a beautiful asset, but they were never designed to be our masters.

“You Complete Me.”

Aaah, Tom Cruise. His final speech in Jerry Maguire is cinema gold (yes, I’ve cried with Renee Zellweger on multiple occasions watching this film). Like the ancient mythology of soulmates, the idea of two halves searching for their missing self is a charming tale of star-crossed destinies.

But this tale is rooted in fantasy. Two half-people do not make one whole relationship. Two whole people make one whole relationship. When I look for a man to complete me (or vice versa), I am putting a burden on that other person they were never meant, nor are they able, to bear. My boo can add to and bring joy to my life, but he can’t fill a void that was already there. Only God can complete me. Only His love and Jesus’s saving grace can make me whole.

Where they got it right…

There is one line, though, that comes straight out of Scripture (although I’m not sure the scriptwriters meant it to):

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

How they act in Moulin Rouge may not be the best example, but this philosophy is. We were created for relationship. We were designed to love God and to be loved by Him, and in so doing, that love spills out and draws us closer to one another.

The greatest choices and the greatest sacrifices have been driven by love, pure love with no agenda and no strings attached. Possessing that kind of love is what has moved me to difficult but necessary actions, and receiving that kind of love is what has helped me heal when it felt like my heart and life were shattered. That kind of love is still the greatest thing in the world today.

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