In so many instances, love stories on television betray the minds of people who watch, by frequently displaying picturesque views of how couples mange to both fall in and stay in love. Having been in my own marriage for the past 15 years, I’ve come to see that often times, when romantic unions are shown, the depiction either glosses over the messy-not so- beautiful parts, or, those moments are represented in a cavalier way.
Take for instance, the movie Coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy; I watched this film repeatedly as a child. In the story, an African Prince disguises himself as an ordinary man and goes on a quest to find the woman of his dreams, across the ocean in Queens New York. Despite a rocky start, however, the Prince (Akeem) eventually finds her, the two fall in love, wed, and return to his country to enjoy a royally, blissful life! At least that’s the take-away implied and the allusion portrayed in countless movies similar.
Cinematic productions like that and others, such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The little Mermaid, The Princess and the Frog, Aladdin, and many more, program us from our youth to believe that “happily ever after” is the state where all romances end, but, therein lies the problem. When immature minds, that aren’t able to distinguish between fiction and reality, get these messages embedded into their subconscious, they can struggle making sense of adult relationships.
As such, here are 7 realities of marriage that are not usually presented in on Television, and especially contradictory to the perceptions that are given to kids:
- Love at First Sight? In the movies it happens so magically: two people see one another from across the room and at least one immediately realizes they’re in love. In real life, however, this happening is rare and instead, love tends to blossom over time. I remember first meeting my husband—I wasn’t fond of him at all, but rather apathetic. Then we began to work together as colleagues, and we argued all the time; our competitive nature seemed to constantly clash. As time went on, however, we got to know each other better and found that we actually had much in common. So we became friends, then dated, and eventually grew in love before love was ever in sight!
- You Get a Princess, I Get a Prince. In the movies Coming To America, Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Princess and the Frog, the female protagonist finds herself a prince; yet, in movies such as Shrek , Sleeping Beauty, and Tangled, it is the male character who discovers the princess. In real life, however, the dating scene is filled with regular people living ordinary lives, which is also the case for most of us. As such, many a male and female have set their sights unrealistically high, looking for a prince or princess, (or just a perfect person), who outside of the land of make-believe, simply doesn’t exist.
- Fairytale Land and Castles. When my husband and I first got married, we lived in an apartment that was probably more along the lines of an efficiency and before that, an apartment with no furniture except a bed. Our first home was approximately 1400 square feet and we had to maneuver three sons into one bedroom. There was never any castle, trust fund, wealthy parents or anything of that sort from which we could draw—in turn, our living conditions were modest, at best, until we established the finances to acquire more. Many couple in America begin their married lives in much the same way.
- Where in the Hell is that Stork! In fairytales, couples have children, but they either just appear, or a stork brings them; no pregnant bellies, no raging hormones, and no semblance of mother delivering a baby are ever shown. I’m sure some media executives feel these things are a bit too graphic for young minds to grasp, even still, it leaves a big hole in the space where fantasy families end and real ones begin.
- Perfect Resolution! In movies, at least in the good ones, there is always the set-up, a conflict, and then a timely resolve. In the real world, timely resolutions are subjective and dependent on the people and circumstance. On a daily basis, individuals face many problems that may take days, months and even years to fix or find answers to. Worse still, some situations stay broken for good.
- Wise Friends to Help. The Little Mermaid had Flounder, Shrek had Donkey, and Snow White had the Seven Dwarfs to assist them when times got rough; In these friends there could always be found an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, and a wise word to help them see things clearly. Many of us have friends that we can lean on in difficult times, but not everyone does. Still, those who do understand that even great friends can’t always be there (they have lives too), nor do they always know what to do or say.
- Can You Find The Happy Ending? For most romances and animated children’s films, happy endings are par for the course, and understandably so. They make us feel good about love and hopeful that excellent results in such can be our fate as well. The reality, however, isn’t as simple. Lovers leave, marriages end, babies die, and spouses get sick—life and love brings with it a myriad of dynamics, many of which we can’t control. All we can do is hope for the best, then live our lives seeing that through!
Let us know in the comments what lessons you’ve learned in relationships that were different than what you imagined as a kid, or if can think of other ways that Hollywood lied?