Getting married isn’t difficult – but maintaining a happy and fulfilling relationship years after that wonderful wedding, that’s a completely different story. If you’re having a troubled marriage and you or your partner like to watch romantic shows or movies, there’s something you should know.
These are all stories made or entertainment purposes. Every movie, every show essentially is a small “company” with a big team of people behind it who hope that it’ll make a lot of money. And to make that money, they have to show people the thing they really want to see.
But what we want to see, our wishful thinking, isn’t the best way to navigate the realities of a relationship.
A short while ago researchers examined whether those romantic shows and movies have an impact on the quality of relationships.
They found that those people who think romantic shows and comedies are realistic are at higher risk of troubled marriages and divorce.
The researchers asked 392 married men and women questions like: How satisfied are you with your marriage? What do you expect from your marriage? How committed are you to your marriage? Do you think television presents romantic relationships as they are in real life? Does television help you to understand what you can expect from your romantic relationships? And so on.
Those who believed more strongly in romance as shown on TV in movies like Pretty Woman, The Notebook, Sleepless in Seattle, or shows like Days of Our Lives or The Hills or Bachelor often were less committed to their marriage. That means when there are troubles in their marriage, divorcing and being single again or looking for someone else would have been a more likely option. But in marriages there will always be problems – problems are not just part of life, but part of every form of relationship. Being committed to your marriage is a necessary ingredient to making it work and sailing the ship of marriage through a rough storm that shows up every once in a while.
If you simply married the wrong person and there’s no way of being happy together – then by all means, make it end sooner rather than later. But most marriages don’t break because of this problem. They break because two people who could be happy together simply don’t find a way to actually be happy together. To do that, you need commitment, and it’s very much worth it.
I talked about this with a friend who is the queen of TV romance – at least I like to think of her that way 😉 And her initial response was: “No, why should I settle for less?”
And from my perspective it’s not about settling for less at all, it’s not about lowering your standards.
Yes, you won’t be the girl that finds the rich, handsome, smart husband like it happened in Pretty Woman. But marriage is much longer than a 90 minute movie, and as enticing and desirable as Richard Gere might have been in that movie – the guy (or girl) that can truly make you happy probably isn’t like that.
A marriage is about creating something together that is more beautiful than you or your partner alone could create.
The true joy of marriage is much more meaningful and deeper than Hollywood makes it look like.
And if you’re in a troubled marriage right now, that’s good. Because it’s not yet broken, and you can still turn it back into a truly loving marriage.