What is the love story mold into which you want your marriage to grow? Cinderella, Pretty Woman, Snow White, Titanic, Gone with the Wind, It’s a Wonderful Life, Sleepless in Seattle, Grease, Jerry Maguire, Dirty Dancing, etc…? Whether the plot line comes from Hollywood cinema or not, we all have an ideal “narrative” we want our marriage to follow.
As one friend of my wife pointed out, “All chic-flicks are about the same thing. The guy does everything the girl wants to win the girl’s love and attention. She gets to be a god.” The same could be said of the pornographic films to which many men are becoming addicted, “The girl does everything the guy wants to win his love and attention. He gets to be a god.”
This is the really dangerous parts about our ideal love stories (even more than sexual lust); we are a god in the story–the story centers on us. Everyone else, including God, is a supporting actor in our story. This tendency doesn’t go away when we get married. In fact, for many people, it only gets worse as we try to make our “forever relationship” into the “happily ever after” we’ve been creating with each book we read and move we watch. This was the human tendency before modern media, but the multi-billion dollar, idealized story-telling industry greatly exacerbates the tendency.
In this chapter we want to combat [full material in the seminar mentoring notebook] these tendencies in two ways:
- Examine how and where a non-gospel narrative takes root and gains power in your marriage.
- Discover simple, powerful practices to keep the gospel as the grand narrative of your marital love.
In order to help you appreciate how we’ll approach these two things, consider the following question, “How does a news story catch traction and gain definition in our modern media?” The answer is “sound bites” – a clip is played over and over, and opposite sides compete so their phrase is used to describe the event.
This is more than political theatre or the product of cramming world news into a 30 minute program. It is a basic human tendency played out on a large scale. We give things meaning and reinforce that meaning through frequently repeated small messages or images. This is as true of individuals as it is of cultures.
Where does it happen for individuals? In our self-talk, the things we replay in our minds. As Paul Tripp is fond of saying, “No one is more influential in your world than you are, because no one talks to you more than you do.” We spin (for better or worse) the events of our lives and quality of our marriage in our own mind constantly. The bias of our “coverage” will either be gospel-gospel-gospel or self-self-self.
Here is the evaluation from this section of the upcoming GCM: Intimacy seminar to help you assess this aspect of your marriage: GCM_Intimacy_Eval_The Story