So, I watched Sex and the City this weekend (for the millionth time), because it is one of my absolute favorites. I have all of the seasons on DVD but haven’t gotten around to watching all of them yet, but it is on my to-do list. I feel like there is something in each character that I can live vicariously through and I feel like I want to be a combination of each of them when I grow up. Charlotte is my favorite (because why wouldn’t she be?) but I love each of them and the sass and personality they bring to the show/movie.
However- that is not what this post is about. During the movie, I heard a conversation that struck a nerve in me. It is something I feel like I’ve heard an arrangement of a million times. It is something I’ve heard from people who don’t understand marriage, but especially young marriage:
Samantha: I can’t believe that my life revolves around a man. On what planet did I allow that to happen?
Miranda: But you love him.
Samantha: Does that mean saying his name 50 times more a day than I say my own? Does it mean worrying about him and his needs before me and mine? Is it all about the other person? Is that love?
Miranda: No, that’s marriage.
Okay. So… Let’s talk about this.
In the movie, Miranda says her comments in a very bitter tone. She says this like marriage is a compilation of those things, but that those things are all negative. I do not disagree with the thought that those are components of marriage, because I do think that they are. But I believe that they are positive attributes of marriage, and here is why.
Many individuals have a thought that you have to proclaim your independence and let everyone know that you are still as independent, and as in control of your life as ever, as often as possible once you get married. They don’t want people thinking they are being controlled by their spouse, are “whipped”, or are no longer in charge of their life, actions, and feelings. They must proclaim that they are still their own #1. However, I am a huge believer in putting my spouse’s feelings and needs before mine. Why? Because that means my needs and wants will still be first in someone’s head- my husband’s. I vowed to love my husband with a selfless love that does not keep track of wrongs or rights. I vowed to put my relationship first, no matter the circumstances. Does that mean that I no longer care about myself, my hobbies, my academics, my social life, or my personal life? Not at all. It means that I am in a relationship that I view to be so important that I would be willing to put all of those things on an equal playing field as my cares about my husband. As long as my husband places my needs and wants before his, or at the same level as his, I think this is a recipe for a successful marriage.
Second, I do believe that love is about the other person, but it shouldn’t feel like a chore. If you constantly feel badgered by your partner to put them first, and don’t do this subconsciously on your own, I don’t know if it is the right relationship for you. Love should not feel like a task. I don’t say this with thoughts that love is easy, or that there aren’t a lot of chores associated with love. It is easy to forget how much you love the person when you are doing dishes, vacuuming, putting away laundry, grocery shopping by yourself on a Saturday morning when you could have been sleeping in, proofreading term papers at 1:00 in the morning, or arguing about the same topic for the 3rd time that week. However, there should be a sense of love and appreciation for that person that overrides these subtle annoyances.
Lastly- love should equal marriage. Marriage has some rough patches. The idea that you can love someone without liking them is a serious thing. However, a healthy, successful marriage must be centered on love. Marriages can be centered on money, children, a mutual interest, convenience, or any other thing. However, all of those things will come and go in a relationship- children will age, money will dwindle, and convenience will surely go away. However, if your marriage is centered on love, I think your chances of surviving these hard times increase substantially.
I know that I have only been married for almost 3 years and have many troubles left to face. However, I think that even 3 years of marriage have taught me the truth behind these statements. Marriage is about the other person. Marriage does consist of thinking of the other person before yourself. Marriage is equating your happiness to your partner’s happiness. And- it is doing all of these things without reluctance or bitterness, like portrayed in the movie.
So, while we all have our favorite movies, characters, etc., lets remember that the statements they make are not always accurate. Or, maybe we just shouldn’t be looking for quality marriage advice from a movie called Sex and the City. Either way, it is our job as happy, healthy married couples to support marriage and to give it a good name!