Marriage can be rough at times. When two people come together with their own romantic ideals and preconceived notions on how their marriage should be, chaos ensues.
I don’t know about you, but when I look around, I see a landscape littered with failed marriages, rocky relationships and people who are petrified of a lasting commitment. It’s not completely our fault. We are conditioned to think that once we meet the “right” person, our lives will change for the better and problems we faced as individuals will vanish in the shadow of our collective love.
No one tells us that we carry our previous issues with us into marriage simultaneously accepting a whole new set of married people problems as well. Sure, we should probably be adults and shoulder the blames for our own failures in our marriages, but it is a lot easier to blame someone or something else. And personally, I blame Disney.
Why? Think about all the Disney movies you have seen. Every time the hero and heroine overcome all the odds and defeat the evil person trying to tear them apart, they have this magical kiss and the audience is left to view a short musical montage of a wedding or the couple riding off into the sunset. All the rest of the animated characters are playing in a picturesque scene of nature with a rainbow in the background or tearfully embracing each other amidst the joy of this union that has finally happened.
What we don’t see is what happens the next day.
You know, when the happy couple wakes up the next morning and they discover that the princess has awful morning breath and the prince has an upper torso that is covered with so much hair that, from a distance, he appears to be wearing a wooly sweater.
Or, we could catch up with them a few weeks later when they get back from their honeymoon. The princess goes out to buy a new outfit and realizes the prince has already maxed out their credit cards with gadgets from the Poison Apple store (yep, that’s about as creative as I get). Oh, and the prince just found out that his beautiful bride has some serious emotional problems due to being mistreated and almost killed by her step-mother (or possibly mother-in-law) and all attempts of his at trying to help her “get over it” are only making things worse. Now she feels disconnected from him because he just doesn’t understand what she is going through and the two are starting to wonder what they ever saw in each other in the first place.
But why stop there?
If we had a glimpse of the couple a full year later, we could see that they have settled into a life of routine that has become monotonous and boring for the both of them. She got pregnant a month into the marriage and now they have a beautiful baby girl. However, instead of this being a blessing for the couple, it has become a source of tension. She spends most of her time caring and focusing on the child because she is trying to be the best mother she can be. The prince, on the other hand, is starting to feel neglected. His long hours at work, overseeing the kingdom, drain him and he has little to offer his family when he comes home. Really, he is expecting adulation and appreciation for all of his hard work and sacrifice to provide for his family, but all he seems to get is an exhausted wife. She is looking for her own thankfulness for her efforts in raising the royal heir, a little break from changing golden diapers filled with not-so-shiny surprises and filtering all the unsolicited parenting advice so freely offered by her fairy godmother.
Now, let’s be honest. If you were subjected to those kind of scenarios in kid’s movies, you would probably be emotionally scarred for life and fear even the idea of marriage. This is not what God intended for this commitment that mirrors His relationship with His church.
Nowadays, we have been cursed with the other end of the spectrum that reveals the horrors of marriage. Hollywood has shown us, in some pretty creative ways, the ongoing struggle that married couples face on a daily basis. Whether they are the battles to be recognized as individuals, adjusting to overwhelming in-laws or attempting to find a balance between two styles of parenting, we are no longer shielded from the realities of marriage by curtains of Leave it to Beaver episodes.
And why shouldn’t we have the truth? Every generation seems to be much more aware of the realities of life than the generation before it because we are striving to find some sort of common ground in which to identify with each other. Or just assure that we are not the “only ones”.
So, maybe I should end this with a two part blame: Half goes to Disney for showing too little information and the other half goes to the rest of Hollywood for showing too much. Either way, we get to blame someone, right?
The truth is, we are not looking for fantasy anymore; we are looking to connect.