Before I write the series on marriage, I first wanted to shed light on the current popular perspective on marriage by doing a little movie analysis in light of what I learned this past weekend on a movie that you may remember from a while back, “He’s Just Not That Into You”.
When I saw this movie last week I realized what a good place it was to start looking at the modern perspective on marriage, especially since the movie is based on a dating advice book that should eventually lead you to marriage, right? And while I do understand that the movie is meant to be a fluffy chick-flick, I think it should still have relevant social commentary on the topic of dating/marriage. What I saw instead made me feel like I was the only one out there in crazy land!
Incidentally, I have read much of the original book by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo (as it was left in our lab by my undergrad – thanks Candace! – and it takes 20 minutes to collect a sample, the perfect amount of time to read a few chapters!) and the movie matches for the most part with the book. The movie intertwines a few plot lines (much like ove, Actually) of different characters each playing out their own scenarios from different chapters in the book, illustrating for us the different “He’s just not into because….” reasons (things like, because he doesn’t call you back or because he’s still with his wife,etc.).
For the most part the stories are cute but interesting, however there was one thing that stuck out to me. Ben Affleck’s character and Jennifer Aniston’s character have been dating (and living together, I might add) for 7 years. JA’s character gets a phone call one night about how her little sister is engaged and getting married to which BA’s character says “Oh that’s great!” to which JA’s character (naturally) responds “Why is that great for them and not for us? Don’t you think we’re going against nature or something by not getting married too?” (slightly paraphrased). Here’s what BA’s character says in response:
“You have a lot of girlfriends that you’ve had for life, right? Best friends that you’d do anything for and they’d do the same, but you wouldn’t go down to the courthouse and pay $45 for a ‘friendship certificate’ with them, would you? Of course not, so why should marriage be anything different?”
Ok, that was definitely paraphrased some more (forgive me, I already took the movie back!) and he goes on to say that people who get married are just insecure who overcompensate by sharing their feelings with the world. SO, to that pitiful explanation, JA’s character actually AGREES. She AGREES people! Even though she an inclination that they’re literally going against nature by living together and not getting married she accepts the idea that marriage is no more important than a platonic relationship with your best friends. Seriously? Never mind the fact that you are intimate with your husband and that two opposite sexed people living and sleeping together could spontaneously create another life with needs and wants completely separate from their own. They both (or mainly him) view their sexual relationship as no different than a casual friendship.
This is the type of mentality that has marriage on the decline everywhere and self-destructing, if it ever gets off the ground in the first place.
I wish the movie would have developed BA’s character further, since there is no background given or reason for why he views marriage and “truly doesn’t believe in that institution”. Unfortunately, I can think of many men in my life (not so much on the women, though – wonder why?) who believe the same thing, either that marriage is outdated or is unnecessary to define a relationship between a couple. I think we could learn a lot from BA’s character and maybe understand the decline. Instead I’ll just have to settle for showing why we all SHOULD believe in marriage :)
In another post of course…