Written by Bethany Bartholomew
Chick flicks are so fun. Even more fun when I can convince my husband to watch them with me. Hilarious when my mom tries to watch them with my dad and he proudly declares who will end up with the girl five minutes into the show and she rolls her eyes and says, “Just watch it anyway!”
But chick flicks have no place in a marriage.
OK, OK. Some parts of a chick flick are great, of course, like being absolutely so in love with your spouse that it’s just plain cheesy to watch.
So what is wrong with a chick flick marriage?
In every chick flick (or romance novel), there has to be some kind of serious conflict that makes it seem as if the main love interests will never get together. And usually that conflict comes from some kind of big misunderstanding.
How many times have you been watching a chick flick and thought, “Why don’t they just tell each other what’s going on?”
I mean, if Elizabeth could have just told Darcy she was secretly falling in love with him after his apology letter, Pride and Prejudice would have been much shorter. Definitely not a six-hour-long eat-all-the-chocolate-in-the-house kind of movie event (even if it’s sometimes more fun that way).
If Edward and Jacob had been honest with Bella about a lot of things right from the beginning, Twilight would have been a very different (and probably shorter) series.
And if Cinderella could have just stopped long enough to drop a name instead of a shoe, Prince Charming would have had a much shorter journey through the kingdom.
So to avoid the chick flick drama in your marriage, here are three important things you can tell your spouse every day.
I love you.
This phrase is so important. In chick flicks, when the main characters are still falling in love, this phrase is usually saved for the end. But you and your spouse are already past the chick flick ending. You said, “I love you.” You shared true love’s kiss. You got married. Happily ever after. The end. Right?
Well now it’s up to both of you to keep falling in love with each other every day. And it helps to let your spouse know that you still love them even after the honeymoon stage has ended. Tell your spouse you love them every day. Multiple times a day. Sometimes a little reassurance is all it takes to strengthen your marriage.
I’m sorry and I forgive you.
OK technically this could count as two different things. But often apologies go both ways. Be willing to tell your spouse that you are sorry any time there is tension (it takes two to tango—and to create friction). Explain just what you are apologizing for. Say things like, “I’m sorry that I said that to you. I misunderstood your intentions and said something hurtful back to you.” Saying clearly what you are sorry for shows that you understand what may have caused your spouse some hurt and you take responsibility for those actions.
On the flip side, be willing to forgive. Sometimes it takes a little time. But don’t forget to do it even if things have cooled off. When your spouse takes time to apologize (and even sometimes when they don’t), let them know that hurts and hearts have been mended. Explain what upset you, but acknowledge that they have recognized their offense and tried to make amends.
And let your spouse know that you love them unconditionally. Everyone wants to be loved even after someone has seen the worst in them. You and your spouse will see the best and the worst moments in each other’s lives. Being willing to let go of offense helps you both to trust each other and helps your spouse to feel comforted in the fact that you know they are trying and that’s enough for now.
I believe you.
Give your spouse the benefit of the doubt. Whether you misunderstood what your spouse said or did or you heard something negative about them from someone else, go straight to the source and ask your spouse about the situation before making judgments. Give your spouse a chance to explain what they meant when they said something or to defend themselves against a piece of gossip you heard.
You might say, “Wait, you just said this. Did you mean…? Or did you really mean…?” You can also say, “Your sister mentioned this thing today. Did I hear her correctly?” Clarifying things with your spouse will almost always result in an answer such as, “I totally did not mean it that way. My bad! What I meant to say is…” or something like, “Oh my sister was talking about when….”
When your spouse knows that they can rely on you to trust them, they will be willing to open up to you when mistakes have been made. But more often than not, giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt will help you to clear up a misunderstanding and learn that your spouse really is in the clear.
Let your spouse hold your heart in their hands. Your spouse isn’t perfect, but your spouse loves you and wants to take good care of your feelings. And you can do the same for them. Take good care of your spouse’s heart in return. The more trust you can build in your marriage the more love you will feel for each other.
So as you create your happily ever after with your spouse, remember to open up. Avoid those awkward and often confusing communication breakdowns, and say the little things that matter most. Then, when you look back one day at your past self, you won’t be chastising your memory the way you like to talk to the characters in your favorite chick flick. You know, the “Just tell her you love her already!” kinds of things you say in your mind or out loud when no one else is around…before happily biting into another chocolate-drizzled chunk of cookie you’ve crumbled into your ice cream.
"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
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