Years ago, a boy that I liked asked me to go with him and his friend to a movie. When 15 year old me asked my parents, they wanted to know if this was a date. To which I responded that we wouldn’t be alone – a friend was tagging along. When the boy showed up in a two-seater MG, however, my mother was not convinced and insisted that my younger sister go with us. It might have made for an appropriate scene in a romantic comedy – the boy driving a two seater car with the girl beside, and her little sister on her lap.
The genre of rom-coms seemed to hit its stride beginning in the 1980s with hits like Sixteen Candles (1984), Pretty in Pink (1986), When Harry met Sally (1989), Say Anything (1989), and Pretty Woman (1990). These films typically feature some unlikely couple moving through a complex journey of circumstances that ultimately lead to a passionate moment when they realise their love for each other.
Such films work best when the protagonists are portrayed as naïve and emotionally juvenile. There is a need for the characters to grow in order for the relationship to develop. They need to come to a new understanding of themselves, the object of their affections and the nature of relationships for them to come to a place where they can recognise that they are in love.
Life imitating art
I did date the boy with the MG for a short while but it wasn’t meant to be. We didn’t have the kind of chemistry needed to go the distance. These things happen. It is rare to ‘get it right’ the first time. In fact, I would have several relationships before finding someone with whom I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Throughout the journey, there were several of those rom-com moments, zany times in which we laughed, learned and grew.
As I watch my kid grow into adulthood, I recognise a similar journey. My teen has experienced the wonder of a first kiss on New Year’s Eve, the joy of an over-packed picnic in the park and the heartbreak of those moments when we realise it is not meant to be. The story continues to be written. We can’t predict where it will go but we will walk with our kid through the ups and downs of the journey, offering advice and the occasional shoulder on which to cry.
Looking back on our relationship journeys, what advice have you received that has been helpful or perhaps just zany? What advice would you give to those younger than you? How have your relationships mirrored a romantic comedy? What do you think it takes to make a relationship last? We would love to hear from you!
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