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Movies That Surprised Me
At the request of a friend, I'm going to start writing about movies or books that I've enjoyed on Mondays. We'll call it Media Mondays! And you can follow along and link up about media that you want to talk about, too!

Cover of Cover of Couples Retreat

Today, two movies: Sherlock Holmes and Couples Retreat.

Because we don't get any TV channels, we watch more movies than usual. I like it because at least I'm choosing what to watch, rather than mindlessly hitting the remote control. But because I'm so used to being choosy I don't put up with much. And I often turn off movies halfway through if they're pathetic.

Sherlock Holmes is one I should have listened to my instincts about and shut off. I didn't enjoy it one iota. They wrecked it. The Sherlock Holmes books are some of the great classics of the English language, but they tried to portray them using an action flick with a supposed paranormal tilt. All through the movie, I kept telling myself it would get better. And although everything had a logical explanation in the end, it wasn't worth sitting through to get to. So don't watch it.

Now for one that pleasantly surprised me: Couples Retreat.

It's rude. It's crude. If you watch it, fast forward through the massage scenes and hit fast forward as soon as Joe picks up the brochure. Just trust me.

But here's the neat thing: it's a movie that in the end says very clearly and loudly these things:

1. Marriage is worth it.
2. Don't get divorced for stupid reasons.
3. Don't have an affair and mess up your marriage. Your marriage, even if you're miserable, is worth way more than that.
4. If you've grown apart, the solution is not to break up. It's to find each other again.
5. Working it out with someone you already have is infinitely easier than trying to find someone else.
6. The single scene is awful.
7. Having someone to love is amazing. Who wants to go to Appleby's alone?

If a movie says that, then it's time to say a prayer of thanksgiving!

The problem, of course, is that the movie is peppered with lots of things Christians would find objectionable. But the overall message is a good one.

Does that mean you should see it? Not necessarily. It has some funny moments, and I think overall it's a good film, but it is crude, and it depends on what you and your spouse like. I also find it interesting that the four men are all kind of dumpy, or at least ordinary looking, while the women are all drop dead gorgeous size 2s who spend a lot of time in bikinis. So watch with caution.

But just like the movie Knocked Up, I'm glad it's out there. Knocked Up was way more crude than Couples Retreat, but the message was a great one: don't get an abortion. Try to make relationships work, and family matters.

When Christians start taking these movies and complaining about the swearing or the crudity, I think we do ourselves a bit of a disservice. We need to remember that these movies were not made for us. We already know that abortion is wrong; we already know that you should stick it out in a marriage. But the majority of our culture does not necessarily believe these things.

The fact that movies like these that speak directly to that culture are actually made is an amazing thing. They demonstrate the emptiness of the pursuit of self-fulfillment and happiness above commitment and family, and isn't that what we want? Ultimately fulfillment and happiness can't be found when one lives a self-centred life. It's only found when we learn to share and commit, and these movies say that.

Yes, there's much that's objectionable. But I am so grateful they're being made, and rather heartened to see people like Vince Vaughn, who was once a playboy, making a movie extolling the virtues of settling down--and staying settled down. If people watching it get a better view of marriage, then more power to them!

In the meantime, I'm doing my own version of Couples Retreat in real life, at the end of April. Keith and I are speaking at a Family Life marriage conference in Ottawa, and if you're in the area, I encourage you to join us!

But if travelling to Ottawa is geographically impossible for you, then I have another great opportunity! On March 10-12, A Woman Inspired "One" Online marriage conference is running! It's mostly meant for women, but if you want some help, encouragement, and inspiration to grow your marriage, what a great opportunity! You don't even have to leave your home. And when you sign up, you get access to all the seminars, even those you can't attend live. You can download the .mp3s afterwards, and listen in.

Best of all, I'm giving away a free ticket to someone who comments in this thread! So if you'd like to attend an online marriage conference, just leave a comment! And I'll give the prize away on Friday!

For those of us who are married, our marriage is definitely our most important earthly possession. It smooths life's rough patches, it helps us give stability to raise great kids, and it provides us with health, companionship, and happiness. Don't ignore your marriage. If you're frustrated, or having trouble, go to this conference. It could just be the boost you need to rescue your love life!

So leave a comment to win. And I'm rooting for you!


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At 8:49 AM , Blogger Mrs W said…

Haha first comment never wins but we need all the help we can get. We are not able to get counselling right now.


At 9:08 AM , Blogger Amy Butler said…

We've only been married for 3 1/2 years, but it is amazing to me how fragile yet strong a marriage can be. We are committed for sure but I'm almost 3 months pregnant with our first child and that has changed little things that could so easily turn into big things. If you stop working at it, well it is no wonder divorce is so rampant. If you're not willing to work at it, then misery will most likely be yours. Would LOVE to attend a marriage conference.


At 10:20 AM , Blogger barb said…

Just started following your blog after attending one of your sessions at the RVHEA homeschooling conference this past weekend (on organizing ... after a year of teaching while recording a CD, boy, did I ever need that!!). I really enjoyed your insights, suggestions, and humour.

I appreciate you reviewing movies and finding the good points in them. There are many people for whom that's the only place they will see a message like that. You never know what those seeds may yield.

And, to add a plug - we're out of town that weekend, but dear friends of ours have attended Ottawa's Family Life marriage conference several years now. They credit it with literally saving their marriage, and strengthening it since. Do go if you get a chance!


At 10:21 AM , Blogger Sheri said…

You stated something I say all of the time. I find movies with great messages, just sometimes you have to wade through some muck and mire to get to the message. I KNOW the old story about the dad who puts just a little bit of "poo" in the brownies and asks if his kids want some, but I don't think it really relates to this issue.

Christians need to look outside their pretty little boxes and realize that not everyone lives the same life...even within their own church or even group of friends.


At 4:00 PM , Blogger Tessa said…

I Have a hard time with the rude and crude movies because we pretty much never get a chance to watch a movie without a toddler running around. And I don't really want him to see/repeat things that he hears. But it's good ot hear that aobu Couple's Retreat because I thought it would have had the complete opposite morals!
The most recent movies we watched: Fast and Furious (Caleb was soooo excited about the cars) and Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakqual. And last night we watched Spanglish, love that movie!


At 10:17 PM , Blogger Lisa said…

Sounds like a great conference Sheila! I love that it is online for those who cannot make the trip to Ottawa. I am so looking for marriage help these days. Crises seem to be happening on top of each other with our marriage and our children. I need all the help I can get! How do people do handle these storms without God??


At 12:42 PM , Blogger Jennifer said…

I'd love to win this. We were suppose to go to a marriage conference last weekend but last minute work issues made it impossible. I was disappointed to say the least as I think we could use some tools to help reaffirm our marriage.


At 8:49 PM , Blogger Julie said…

First and foremost I would like to say how much I respect you and enjoy your blog! You give honest and direct opinions, regardless of "religion". Thank you, it's soo refreshing!

My hubby and I have been married for 17 (as of this June) years! It has been quite the ride. I would say the single most important thing for marriage to survive is communication. Would love to attend the marriage conference!

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Name: Sheila

Home: Belleville, Ontario, Canada

About Me: I'm a Christian author of a bunch of books, and a frequent speaker to women's groups and marriage conferences. Best of all, I love homeschooling my daughters, Rebecca and Katie. And I love to knit. Preferably simultaneously.

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