26 Jun, 2023 Five myths Hollywood tells us about relationships
Opinion & Reflection
By Kyra Thompson
Image: Deposit Photo
I had my first “committed” relationship when I was eight years old.
Go ahead and laugh, but I remember we were serious. We were going to have our honeymoon at an amusement park called Six Flags, have only dogs, and make movies together.
We had it all figured out. I still remember his little seven-year-old self going to ask my dad for my hand in marriage (very responsible of him). My dad casually responded with a list of questions.
“Do you have a job?”
“Do you have a house?”
“Do you have a car?”
Then with the same collected tone, he punctuated the end of his inquiry with:
“Stay away from my daughter.”
And that was the end of our “relationship,” if you can even call it that.
Just like so many out there today, we had little-to-no idea what it actually means to be in a relationship. The thing that is truly disheartening about that though is most of those people are well past the age of eight and still have a devastating misconception of what romance is supposed to look like. It’s hard to say for sure, but I believe that this is largely due to popular portrayals of relationships in movies, music, and video games. So, here are some common myths portrayed in media and what God actually says about healthy romantic relationships.
MYTH #1: Love is a feeling
We’ve all seen it in the romance movies like The Notebook, La La Land, and Titanic. The eye contact, the swell in the music, and that “feeling” like they were destined to be together. In most movies, the way they always describe knowing that they are in love is something like, “You just know, it feels right.” The characters are always admonishing us to “follow our heart.” What they really mean by that is “follow what feels right.” Unfortunately, that philosophy leads to all kinds of toxic relationships, and then eventually to messy separations because feelings change and can be all over the place.
TRUTH: Love is a commitment
In 1 Corinthians 13, it outlines all the attributes about love and it never once says “love is a good feeling.” Instead it says things like, love suffers long, does not seek its own, love bears all things, and love endures all things. As God’s definition of love, this sounds a lot more like a commitment to put another person above yourself no matter what. I don’t know about you but my feelings do not always (if ever) want to do that.
I want to be clear about one thing, though, in a relationship context: if you are still just dating, commitment does not mean you must never break up. Sometimes, in that context, the most selfless thing you can do for that other person is end the relationship. But if there are issues that are not making you all butterflies and roses–which will eventually happen for every relationship whether in marriage or not–the goal should always be to first try and selflessly work through those issues. However, once you are married, that is a covenant which should not be broken for any reason except what God has clearly laid out in His word.
MYTH #2: You can “fall out of love”
This myth goes hand in hand with the last one about feelings. Because most people think that love is the giddy feeling in the pit of their stomachs when they are around a person, they eventually find that the feeling fades away therefore leading them to believe that they have “fallen out of love.” This phenomena is simple to explain and it is actually scientifically proven. When you first begin to enjoy a person’s company or their appearance, a chemical is released in your brain that literally shuts down logic and reasoning sections of the brain causing you to disregard or discredit clear negative behaviors. You might give this stage a title: infatuation. And this actually happens in a vast majority of relationship whether romantic or not. Sometimes friends we were obsessed with at the beginning of our friendship become annoying all of a sudden.
TRUTH: True love is unconditional and eternal
Infatuation is not love. If it were, love would never last. But God shows us that true love is eternal and unconditional by demonstrating “His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 NKJV). He loves us in spite of any annoying traits we might have, and no matter how long He knows us, He never gets tired or bothered by us. God never “falls out of love.” And that is because His love is not based on His feelings.
MYTH #3: Love Equals Sex
A trend that you see in Hollywood films and music all the time is falling in love with someone always leads to sex. I sometimes wonder if this presentation has lead to a lot of the sexual identity problems we are seeing today. We have been fed this idea that if you love something you sleep with it. Of course people are getting confused when they have feelings of affection toward the same gender. They assume that must mean they want to have sex with them. It couldn’t possibly be just brotherly, friendly, or neighborly affection – all feelings of love are sexual feelings, according to culture. At least, that is what the media of our day seems to tell us.
TRUTH: Love is actually sacrifice
Sex with anyone you have fond feelings toward is a sad and selfish way of life. True love is much more than physical pleasure. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13 NKJV). This shows us that God’s definition of love is actually sacrificing your pleasures and desires, not seeking them.
MYTH #4: When you find “The One” they will complete you
There is this concept of a soul mate that is popular in a lot of films and songs. This is an extremely unhealthy mindset coming into a relationship because it will only ever leave you disappointed. Even secular psychologists agree that this is toxic. If you are hoping for a person to be your savior and fill up the parts of you that you can’t on your own, it will lead you to a codependent unhealthy relationship. If you are waiting to find the one person in the world who will complete you, you will never be satisfied. No person is going to make you feel whole, or fill up the emptiness and loneliness that is in everyone’s soul.
TRUTH: Only Jesus can complete you
It may be a cliché, but just because you’ve heard it a lot doesn’t make it any less true. The reason we feel lonely and broken is because we were created for relationship with God, but sin separated us from Him and so we are missing a very crucial aspect to make a whole soul. Relationships are beautiful and it is also important for us to be connected with people, but in order to really interact with others in a way that is healthy, we must already be whole in Christ. People will always let you down, God will not.
MYTH #5: Getting married is the ‘Grand Finalé’
Every movie and TV show hypes up the “endgame” relationship to a point and then finally, they get married. They live happily ever after. The end.
This is not real life at all, after marriage comes… years and years of marriage, kids, taxes, mortgages, moves, sickness, disagreements, career changes, and whatever else life will through at you. The romantic idea that once you get married that is the grand ending of your love story is really setting up a lot of people for a sobering slap in the face by reality.
TRUTH: Marriage is a journey of its own
One of the most in-depth looks we get at marriage is found in Ephesians 5. Paul talks about each spouses role and attitude, the husband is to be a sacrifice, the wife is to be a servant, just like Christ and the Church. Marriage is a journey we as Christians get to embark upon that helps mold us more into the image of Christ. It is part of our sanctification here on earth, and a part of the teaching process that ultimately leads us into being just like Jesus. That is actually what marriage and relationships are all about.
It is truly sad that relationships have become such a self-seeking endeavor. Many people want to find someone so they won’t be lonely, or so they can be happy, or have affirmation and feel good. But the truth about good healthy relationships is they are hard work and they are actually designed to teach us more about being selfless as Christ was selfless. Hollywood has made love all about “me and my happiness” but true love is about seeking someone else’s good above your own no matter what.
The opinions in this article are specific to its author, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Counter Culture Mom team.
Relationships can be tricky, but with the Bible as our guiding light, it’s easy to see that God designed men and women to live in loving complementarianism! Counter Culture Mom’s Tina Griffin has a wonderful interview about this very subject that you can check out below. In it, she chats with life coach Rebecca Hoehne, who talks about changing your dating MINDSET and committing to a life of PURITY!
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