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Why you’re definitely going to marry the wrong person

Posted by / October 31, 2018

Sleepless in Seattle is one of my favorite films of all time. The writing is so tight. Think of the apple peeling, for example. Annie peels an apple in one long strand with a knife, and later we find out that Sam’s deceased wife used to do the same thing. It was one of his favorite details about her, in fact. That little moment sealed the connection between Sam’s lost love and his new love, and that’s where the movie’s romantic atmosphere comes from. But that moment––and others, such as the countless missed connections between the two protagonists––is precisely the reason the movie misrepresents love.

Consider this: we never see Sam in love with a living woman, nor do we see him in a romantic relationship with a woman. We only see him in a foil relationship with his fawning girlfriend, and  he’s obviously not that her into since he drops her like a bad habit the moment he meets Annie. For that matter, we never see Annie in love and in a romantic relationship with the same person. She is in a “romantic” relationship with her fiancé, technically, but she’s obviously not in love with him. Instead, she’s in love with Sam. So the whole movie is about the potential for romantic love, not necessarily its fruition.

That’s an important point, because as this video (and this New York Times opinion piece) argue, “romance,” especially as it’s portrayed in movies like Sleepless in Seattle, is a trap. Again, consider how Sleepless in Seattle Ends. It ends with a visual representation of the fairytale trope, “And they lived happily ever after.” You never see the details of “happily ever after” because there’s no such thing as happily ever after when it comes to marriage. Marriage is hard because living in close proximity to literally any human is hard. Exposing your intimacies, which you do when you live with someone, is hard. You’re going to hate them sometimes, and they’re going to hate you.

Because they don’t show that reality, romantic movies give us a false hope that we can meet the perfect person. And so we exercise extreme discernment and fret over meeting the right person. We go to weddings and hear speeches about how perfect the couple is––we don’t hear the reality, that even their relationship (gasp!) took work and will be, at some point, miserable for both of them.

This video doesn’t argue that you should avoid marriage or that marriage is worthless. Quite the opposite, in fact. It argues that you’re going to marry the wrong person, but that’s ok. Take a look.

Full story at YouTube.

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