In case I haven’t mentioned this, I am currently unemployed and have had a LOT of time on my hands lately. While I have been getting a lot done, I have also been watching a lot of Netflix! As I’ve been watching TV shows I’ve noticed several patterns in modern entertainment. One of these is in relationships.
Almost every TV show has some focus on a romantic relationship that goes through ups and downs throughout the series. In order to keep people interested in watching the show, the relationships all must go through several phases, and the majority of these phases include a break up (or two or four…) at some point. As I’ve been watching these shows a very common theme runs through almost all of these break up scenes and it makes me really sad. Although there are often outlying factors that contribute to each particular break up, it very frequently seems to come down to one big thought that can be summed up in a line from a show I watched today. The line was (speaking of their relationship and whatever issue they were facing) something to the effect of “We shouldn’t have to work through it though! It should just……work.”
When I heard this a light bulb came on as I realized this is a very common viewpoint in a lot of TV shows and movies, and I believe it is really prevalent in our culture as well. For some reason there is this idea that if a relationship is meant to be everything will just “click” and it shouldn’t be a lot of work. It will just happen. I think this is part of the princess/fairy tale/happily-ever-after mindset we often have that when you find “the one” that’s all you need and you can all of a sudden live happily ever after, just like any other princess.
This viewpoint though is very unrealistic and I am afraid it leads to a lot of heartbreak. Anything in life that is worthwhile requires work. Usually the more worthwhile it is, the more work it requires. Relationships are no exception. Sadly this is the complete opposite of the perspective of most people you see on TV, which is setting the cultural norm for our society today. By having this idea of fairy tale relationships where you either click or you don’t, no extra work required, being put before us in everything we watch, it is being drilled into our heads that we SHOULDN’T have to work at our relationships and that if, in fact, we are having to work at it, then something is probably wrong.
This saddens me greatly. I don’t have any answers for this, it’s just something that has been weighing on me this morning. All I can say is that I am so grateful to have had people in my life pouring into me and giving me examples of relationships with a foundation of real love and hard work instead of echoing these voices of society that say “It’s too hard, just give up on it.” If you, like me, have had people encourage you in your relationships (of any kind!) and model for you what a REAL relationship looks like, go thank them! I am just now learning what a big deal that truly is.