“What Happy Couples Know”
Anyone else remember going to the video store and renting, not only the VHS tape you were going to watch, but also the VHS player? Y’all, that was a thing. It was a thing right before the era when people started buying their own VHS players and blank tapes to record the shows on tv we wanted to keep or watch later.
Ah, the world that was opening up. My mom had a recording of “Dirty Dancing” from the first time it aired on tv and she thought my sister and I didn’t know it existed. We would find it the minute my parents left for choir practice at church and watch it. No one was putting baby in a corner without us seeing it. We were rebels, only not good ones because my mom quickly figured it out and the tape disappeared for good.
But even while some movies were deemed inappropriate for our childhood days, the ability to watch movies at home opened up a new world of possibilities and my mom filled the Swayze void with an education in classic romances. My sister and I were raised with movies like “Three Coins in a Fountain,” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” and “An Affair to Remember.” Cary Grant was a household name, and even though he fell into the “old guy” category, we knew enough to realize he was dreamy.
It was around this time every year when the classic “April Love” would get pulled out. Pat Boone, another dreamy old guy, played the bad boy sent off to the country to get his act together, only to fall in love with the wide-eyed, innocent farm girl next door, played by the ever-singing Shirley Jones. Spring meant love, and love (at least on screen) meant chaperoned dances and furtive glances across the room. And we fell for it…every time.
I wanted to grow up and find a man who would look at me like Pat Boone looked at Shirley Jones. I wanted a man who would wait for me all day at the top of the Empire State Building after turning his life upside-down to be worthy. I wanted a guy who could sing and dance and race cars and fix things and play football and paint…and before I knew it, I no longer wanted to be in love, I wanted “to be in love in a movie.” (Name that classic, friends!)
Whether it’s on screen or in real life, we tend to look at what other people have and want it for ourselves. Only we’re never seeing the whole picture. And even though our brains know that, our hearts aren’t equally convinced of the disconnect. We think there are secrets happy couples know, and if only we could know the secrets too, we could have the fairytale, made-for-screen love affair. We want to be happy. We want to feel like singing, even if we can’t sing at all.
Clark and I will celebrate 13 years of marriage this spring. And while Clark is far dreamier than Pat Boone, Cary Grant, and Patrick Swayze combined (Lord, have mercy!), we know the real secret, which is that reality is far more messy, far more vulnerable, far more terrifying, far more ordinary, and far more beautiful than what could be captured on screen or in a 2-hour telling, or a snapshot taken by a stranger on our honeymoon.
But what if I told you there really are secrets happy couples know? And what if I told you they are not really secrets at all – just pieces of hard-fought wisdom that happy couples would love to share that could change the landscape of your current and future relationships?
Spring is coming and love is in the air, and it’s time for us to talk – really talk – about what happy couples know.
This April at Ashley Ridge Church, we’re going to be using Andy Stanley’s series “What Happy Couples Know” to have the conversation. If you’re local, we’d love for you to jump into one of our 4-week small groups. We have groups for singles, couples, newly married/engaged, married, divorced, widowed, and mixtures of all of the above. The conversation really is for everyone! More sign-up info is coming soon. If you’re not local, we’d love for you to follow along with us online and let us know if you’d like us to send you the discussion questions so you can get a group of friends together wherever you are to talk about it.
But, why wait? Let’s start talking now. What secrets have you learned? What classic movies do you still have copied onto VHS tapes in your attic? And, come on, name the movie – “You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.”