The Hobby

Diversity is highly valued in our modern culture. Yet when it comes to popular depictions of romance itself, there is a startling degree of conformity and uniformity in what the experience is ‘supposed to be’: super-intense…immediate…hyper-sexual….not going away.

And come on…who wouldn’t want this? But as couples soon discover (all of them!), intense feelings eventually settle to some degree. And when this happens, a demand for a return to this same super-charged experience can disrupt and get in the way of beautiful possibilities as that relationship continues to develop.

By broadening this conversation about romance, perhaps romantic possibilities and freedom might expand for all of us. In addition to the stories gathered in the book, I’ve been on the look-out for similar counter-cultural depictions of romance in pop culture songs, videos, or movies.  Because they’re not easy to find (try it sometime!), it’s become something of a personal hobby to collect anything I can find that illustrates notions of love that ‘betray’ the dominant discourse and point to an image of romance bigger and broader than what we usually see around us.

Do you know of any?  After checking out my list – please share. I’d love to add them to what I have below for others to enjoy:

The Practice of Love

“Love Comes Softly” (2003 – Katherine Heigl & Dale MidKiff). This is a touching film about the gradual, gentle way that romance can take hold over time – depending on what we choose in the moment when we may not be ‘feeling it’ enough! The film is available for free here.

“The Painted Veil” (2006 – Edward Norton & Naomi Watts). Based on a 1925 W. Somerset Maugham book by the same name, the acting, cinematography and music are stunning (2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score). The message, however, is what makes the film my favorite. (Heads up for the sensitive viewer – the film opens with a brief and tastefully done glimpse into an affair).  This film is also available for free here.

“Lead Me,” Sanctus Real Any guy and girl who have tied the knot will appreciate this song – especially if things are tough for you right now. It’s been an inspiration for me as a husband.

Practicing the Opposite of Love  

 “Slow Fade,” Casting Crowns If love is truly growable – then it can go in the other direction too. This song paints a picture of the slow deterioration that can lead to explosive, relationship-destroying moments.

Love as Seeing Clearly

Another view of love is simply to see another person truthfully. In our culture, however, this can be harder than it looks.

Evolution, Dove If you haven’t seen this yet – it’s definitely worth 3 minutes. From Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.   

Tuesdays with Morrie (1999, Jack Lemmon, Hank Azaria, Wendy Moniz). An Oprah Winfrey production of the Mitch Albom book by the same name – teaching and illustrating throughout the story lots of beautiful insights about a love-that-commits.

Just for Fun 

Sometimes if we don’t laugh about our relationships- then we’re going to cry. If you’re pulling your hair out about a relationship right now, then do me a favor and take one moment for a good belly laugh.

Jason Headley’s classic “It’s not about the nail”  Anyone who has ever struggled with opposite gender communication knows that Jason NAILED it!

Brian Regan at his best – on differences between men and women’s view of talking – go to 38:30 on the video and watch for 2 minutes!

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