I will now admit: one of the most profound ideas regarding relationships–marriage in specific–I gleaned from a Jennifer Lopez movie. I’m tempted to write a paragraph to explain why I was watching a Jennifer Lopez movie in the first place, but I’ll fight the urge. All I will say is that I had just completed a sentence in which I mocked my mom and sister for getting so into the movie (Shall We Dance if you’re wondering) when I was hit by the following line delivered by Susan Sarandon’s character:
[on marriage] We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.”
In fact, thanks to the joys of Youtube you can see for yourself.
(Thanks Susan’s character, I will quote you.)
Anyway, I think there is a lot of truth that that. Who would have thought, buried right there in the middle of an awkward J. Lo/Richard Gere vehicle? We marry a person to assign value to our own life. I know that’s not one of the reasons that they will list in the wedding vows, because unlike the oft quoted passage from the book of Corinthians (Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs) the aforementioned idea, that of having a witness to your life, is largely a selfish one. And marriage is supposed to be about selflessness, and fundamentally I prefer that reason, the Corinthians reason. Because it sounds so noble. But realistically I don’t know. Realistically–and I’m not proud to admit this–I’m more interested in knowing that my life will matter to that one person than I am about submitting myself fully for the good of my husband. Maybe that just means I’m not ready for marriage. Or maybe I just have to admit, at the chagrin of my good taste, that this forgettable romantic comedy struck a cord with me.