Hollywood has done us a great disservice, though this should come as no surprise. This time, I’m thinking about relationships and how they are portrayed in movies, specifically when the relationship ends due to the death of one of the partners. In the average movie, when someone’s husband or wife dies, they spend a disproportionate amount of time watching their wedding video and being sad. The being sad bit I can understand, the wedding video I don’t.
I know its symbolic and is a quick and cheap way of showing how much this individual misses the other, but its also really wrong. As well as fuelling the wedding video market, which is stupidly overpriced and terribly saccharine, its not even a good representation of what a relationship is. A relationship isn’t one event, it is a series of events, both good and bad, over a period of time.
Although family videos were made of my wedding day, I never watch them and don’t think I actually have them anymore. I had a photographer come and take photos, and I look at them once every year or so, because they’re pretty, but not because “it was the happiest day of my life™”. I define my relationship with my (legal) husband by many different events, and I wouldn’t want just one to define my entire relationship. To only let my wedding day define my relationship of over 16 years with him cheats both of us the life experience we’ve gained together and the good and bad times we’ve spent together.
I’m far more likely to remember out 10th wedding anniversary, countless weekends lying in bed and talking about everything, discoveries that we’ve made while being out and about together, songs we’ve made up, laughing until we cry and much awesome sex. All of this is far more fun than that one day where I dressed up in a white dress and said, “I do” in front of family and friends.
To let a wedding day define an entire relationship is wrong and unfair. It puts impossible expectations on people to make their wedding day be the best day of their life, and suggests that everything from there onwards will be downhill. It fuels an industry that already gouges people, encourages conspicuous consumption and suggests to those who cannot afford the most outrageous wedding ever that they will be miserable for all eternity – when perhaps all they wanted (if they want to get married – that’s a whole different debate) was a simple ceremony in front of a few close friends and family.
I’d much prefer a montage of time spent together, as I have seen some movies do. Picnics, birthdays, anniversaries, parties and just time spent together to sum up the essence of a lifetime spent together. That is far more realistic than just one event being played over and over.