A couple months ago I wrote on comparison, in relation to yourself and others. But today, I want to talk about how comparing my marriage to romantic movies and novels hurt my marriage and what you can do to stop it.
It all started with a movie my husband and I were watching. I caught myself thinking, “Oh, that is so sweet. I wish he (my husband) would do that for me.” Can you see the danger, ladies? My mind tuned out the movie for a second. I couldn’t believe I just had that thought. It’s not that my husband has been neglecting me or that he never does anything special for me, because he does. So where did this thought come from?
I’m sure you’ve all either watched a Nicholas Sparks’ movie, a rom-com, or a dramatic romance movie. Or, maybe if movies aren’t your taste you’ve likely read a few romance novels. Now whether you enjoyed these fictional entertainment outlets before or after you met your significant other doesn’t matter. What matters is the answer to this question, have you been unintentionally comparing your relationship, your marriage, to the one on screen or in a book?
If the answer is yes, then I have good news for you. You can reprogram your thinking. You can stop letting these things hurt your marriage. But only if you’re truly dedicated to the cause.
Let me tell you a story. When I was entering my pre-teens, I developed a love for romantic movies. I looked up to them as the ideal, the perfect. I wanted what those heroines had on screen. And even more so, I wanted that perfect hero. (Mr. Darcy, anyone??) As I also grew my relationship with the Lord, He showed me that I couldn’t hold fictional standards in this all-too-real world. So I held on to that, but then began reading Christian romance novels. All that time, I tried to keep in mind what the Lord revealed to me. I thought to myself, No big deal. I’m not even in a relationship yet.
But then I began dating my now-husband. Suddenly, I realized I couldn’t hold on to those fictional fantasies anymore. They were hurting my relationship. How? I was holding my then-boyfriend to fictional standards and forgetting his humanity. So I stopped reading the novels. (I do pick one up on occasion, but I don’t enjoy them like I did.) And do you know what I discovered? The love story that God had pieced together for me was so much better than any movie or book I’d read. Why is that? Because my love story is real.
Once I began to put my focus on reality, our relationship improved! I cemented in my heart that I would not compare what wasn’t real to my reality. I refused to exchange a lie for truth. My husband is better than Mr. Darcy. Why? Because he’s mine. Because he’s God’s beloved gift to me. I adore my husband!
That said, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with reading Christian romance novels or watching romantic movies. For me it was unhealthy and better for me to stop. If you enjoy them, don’t feel like I’m judging you! Together, (that is, if I can talk him into it) my husband and I will occasionally watch something romantic. As long as I’m not comparing, I think it’s fine.
So what exactly am I saying by sharing this with you today? Well, I’m not saying you have to give up your movies and your books. But what I am saying is, take a good look at what you have. Comparing your husband or fiance to fictional hero will hurt your very real guy. He can’t live up to your dreams because he’s human. Recognize what is realistic, and hold onto it. When your mind begins to drift, rein it back in and remember why you fell in love in the first place.