We just got home from seeing the new movie "Ruby Sparks" from Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton, the Dynamic Directing Duo of "Little Miss Sunshine" fame. I can't go to sleep until I write about it because it's the best relationship movie of the year! Who would have guessed it would come out in August of all months?! Here is a link to the trailer if you want to get the movie's flavor: www.youtube.com/watch
The movie opens with a dreamlike character, and we learn she is created by the lead character, Calvin, who writes about the woman of his dreams. Not only is she created on paper; she comes alive and lives with him. The constant temptation of writing her just the way he wants her to be frames this movie as we watch their Pygmalion relationship develop. Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan make you believe in their characters and make you root that they will end up together. Loved the ending...no spoiler alert here!
This film provides an opportunity to examine our own relationship with our partner. If we were the all-powerful authors of our marriage, would we write our spouse's character "as is" or would we change our character to fit an ideal or fantasy? What would our fairy tale character be like?
The curse of fairy tales as we get older is that we still have some of the epic myths tucked away in our emotions that cause us to search for "the one." We are actually thinking about "the perfect one" even though the "perfect" is silent. The fairy tales are fiction, yet we want to believe they are true at an emotional level because they give us hope that we can all find true love and vanquish the dragons, or evil people, in our lives who want to steal our happiness. Enlightened couples know that the dragons live within, and we need to start vanquishing them internally so we can love ourselves and one another.
In the fairy tales, we never get to find out what happens after a year or two of marriage and the arrival of children. The wedding ritual sets the stage for the idealized bride and groom to begin their shared life on top of the world (or cake). The celebration of the marriage is a confection built with layers of hope, vows, love, passion and joy sprinkled with the best wishes of family and friends. It is part of the fairy tale to keep that moment frozen in time as though we can forever suspend that perfect day.
Part of growing together instead of drifting apart is to truly accept one another. Acceptance means knowing that partners don't have to be perfect. Acceptance means tolerating the "good, the bad and the ugly" in each other, or as we say in our vows, "for better or for worse."
In the Q & A afterwards at the Cinemas Palme d'Or in Palm Desert, Valerie Faris and Jonathan Dayton (the directors who are also married to one another) said they work well together because they really like one another and care about one another. Valerie said she likes to listen to what Jonathan says because she never is sure just exactly what he will say. The same holds true for life...the mystery is that you never know what magic awaits you in your relationship each day.