For as long as I can remember, watching movies (aka chick flicks) has been one of my favorite things to do when free time comes my way.
It has been a fantastic way to experience new and exciting people, places, and things my limited income and resources have never much allowed. Unfortunately, it also became a way for me to form unrealistic expectations as to what “true romance” entailed.
There were so many expectations I had to let go of once I got married and understood that most movies, especially chick flicks, do not portray real life romance accurately.
We want and need to feel loved and adored. This makes the appeal of the chick flick so attractive until we gain the insight and understanding of how much more valuable the love of Christ is in our lives. People have an emptiness inside that can’t be understood until it is filled with the love of Christ.
So, although I still love a good chick flick, here are a few things I have learned to “beware” of while enjoying this beloved genre of movie to prevent trying to fill that void with the wrong romantic expectations…because if you’re not careful, they can mess with your relationships
1. THE “SAVIOR COMPLEX”: Chick flicks make us think relationships can complete us.
Movies will often contain the message that all we need to fulfill our lives is a wonderful relationship with someone who loves us more than anything and will do anything for us.
It is an intoxicating thing to believe someone loves you so much you are the center of his or her universe. In Jerry Maguire, who didn’t melt at the end of the movie as Jerry goes on and on about how Dorothy now “completes him”? His life would not be the same without her—she changed him and inspired him to be a better man.
In Pretty Woman, Edward saves Vivian from her life of prostitution and carries her away into the sunset. All of her problems will now go away, right?
In The Wedding Date, Kat converts her male escort date, Nick, to go the straight and narrow as he professes his love for her by saying, “I would rather fight with you than make love with anyone else.” And as an added bonus, Kat magically falls out of love with her jerky ex-boyfriend in the process of falling in love with Nick. So, they save each other with their powerful love.
The message movies like this can convince us of is if we fall in love and love our partner enough, they will change. Love is all we need to hold us together.
But the bigger reality comes down to this: relationships can’t save us. And they can’t complete us. Only being right with God completes us. Accepting Jesus’ true love in dying on the cross for our sins is the only thing that will save us. It is the only thing that will fill that emptiness in our lives. While movies tell us people change for us because of how much they love us, I believe people shouldn’t change because of someone else. It may later cause deep resentment and bitterness toward you and may not lead to lasting change.
2. THE OTHER WOMAN: Chick flicks make it seem like commitment is relative.
Movies like Something Borrowed and The Wedding Planner can make it seem like it is okay to steal a man from another woman if she isn’t as good a woman as you are. In these movies, all the leading man needed was to see how the woman he wasn’t committed to was the woman for him all along. This made the fact he had no respect for the commitment he made to his fiancée by fooling around irrelevant and justifiable.
In real life, this is cheating on your partner. It is a dangerous trap set by satan to lead us to believe that stealing a man from another woman or vice versa is a healthy start to a new relationship. To put an even finer point on it, if your relationship started out by him cheating WITH you, what makes you think it won’t happen that he cheats ON you?
3. THE UGLY DUCKLING: Chick flicks make us feel like we have to fit a standard of physical beauty.
God has made each one of us beautiful and unique in how we look. Psalm 139:14 states we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Chick flicks can leave us feeling inadequate in this area by presenting us with a very worldly view of beauty. To get men to notice us, we have to look and act a certain way.
In Miss Congeniality, The Princess Diaries, and She’s All That, the female lead character needed a makeover for the male lead character to realize how beautiful she was. I am always very disappointed by story lines like these. Beauty does not ever come in one particular shape or size. I believe God intended it to be that way—that none of us would fit into one mold when it comes to beautiful creation. His Word tells us in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” I believe this can mean a person’s true attractiveness is a reflection of the condition of their heart, not the beauty they have outwardly. Don’t be deceived into believing this message thrown at us, especially from Hollywood.
4. CINEMA SEX: Chick flicks give us a completely unrealistic look into sex.
Since I have been married, as I look back on sex scenes from certain chick flicks, I want to laugh.
They are completely misleading.
Now, don’t get me wrong—they are entertaining and what we all might fantasize our marriage life to be like. For instance, the characters in The Notebook and Shakespeare in Love are both virgins.
After they had sex, they exclaimed in raptures of how beautiful it was. In other chick flicks, people go around having casual sex with each partner or one night stands without many emotional consequences to this. It leads us to believe that sex will naturally be as hot as it is portrayed in the movies each time we have it and that the expectation is to have sex in any dating relationship in order to be loved.
Please don’t be misled by the way movies portray this wonderful and special act that should be limited to marriage. Don’t be disappointed if you are married and sex has not turned out the way it is played out in the movies. God doesn’t tell us to wait to have sex to spoil our fun. He created these boundaries to protect us and keep us safe from the emotional and physical consequences of having numerous sexual partners. If we do it His way instead of the world’s way, it turns out way better than we could ask or imagine.
These things aren’t to convince you to stop watching chick flicks. However, it is important as with any movie we watch to use the Word of God as a discerning filter. It is wise to check our hearts and minds to make sure we are holding ourselves to the standards and boundaries He sets for us.
Holding our thoughts captive as scripture tells us will help us see how much better our relationships can be when we throw out our unrealistic romantic expectations and let His true love expectations rule in our relationships.
About our Guest Writer: Melissa Vasquez is a middle school teacher of 15 years who loves teaching her students about Jesus. She currently resides in New Mexico and loves spending time with her husband, Greg, and 80 pound lapdog, Sydney.
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“…a true masterpiece among the crowded shelves of marriage books” — Dr. Kim Kimberling, Awesome Marriage