The Oscars are coming on Sunday, February 27 (check your local listings). Many good movies have nominations; Blue Valentine being one of them. Blue Valentine stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling and is the most realistic portrayal of married life that comes to recent memory. Revolutionary Road (starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio) is another Oscar caliber film that was accurate as well, but because of some of the more traumatizing elements, one could dismiss it as a situation that would not happen to him or her. This is not so with Blue Valentine. The interactions that happen between the couple could and do happen to many people all the time. Go see Blue Valentine at the Magnolia and judge for yourself. In the meantime, here is a look at a couple of the issues and possible ways to address them.
In today’s society, it can be hard to define one’s role(s) within marriage. Many people enter into marriage with preconceived ideas about what men are supposed to be doing and what women are supposed to be doing. In areas such as money, household chores, and child care, sometimes what is expected can be hard to identify and hard to explain. This can become especially apparent when children come into the picture. It is one thing to talk about having children, it is quite another to have them. It is a lot easier to make plans together and separately when you only have the two of you to consider. The children themselves do not cause the problem. There is a whole new set of issues that come up in terms of division of labor when you have kids. This is where the surprises about yourself and your partner can pop up. So how can you know that you are ready for marriage? You must begin with yourself. If you are not done doing major things you had planned for yourself and don’t know yourself very well, marriage may not be for you. When that lovey-dovey feeling wears off, things get real, and that can be very jarring to someone who entered into marriage in order to complete himself or herself. Having a sufficient understanding of who you are and what you want in life can help you be honest with yourself and your significant other about what you expect from him or her. This makes it easier to put gender roles defined by society in the proper perspective within your marriage.
Marriage as the Culmination of a Relationship
There is a great article in the February issue of Real Simple magazine called “Toward a More Perfect Union”. In it, Kris Richards (a husband in one of the four couples featured) says, “A lot of people have a misconception that marriage is the culmination of a relationship. Far from it. Marriage is a constant process of finding the best possible way to connect with another person̶ and that’s what Akilah and I want from each other.” This comment contains an explanation of both the problem and the solution. It is not conducive to the marriage to think you have arrived and can now start taking for granted that the person you are with is there to stay. There has to be an effort on both parts to make sure that the connection is maintained. How? Communicate in the best forms that work for you as a couple (keeping in mind talking is not the only way to communicate).
As you watch Blue Valentine, you will see these major issues addressed through great acting and directing. Hopefully, seeing this movie will be an enlightening experience; one that will help more people have healthier marriages and avoid these common pit falls. Gordon and the Whale are having an Academy Awards watching party on Sunday at the Texas Theatre. Go together and pull for your favorite contenders.
In keeping with the theme of movies, go check out the Black Flim Festival at Studio Movie Grill, too (today-Saturday).