The cynic in all of us learns that Hollywood romances are meant to stay on the big screen. We stop believing in the fateful meeting at a coffee shop or the miraculous reunion that results in true love. After all, some plots are a bit too cliche to even want. But what remains long after you watch a movie? The lessons.
Here are 10 pieces of advice we still keep in mind long after these movies roll the final credits.
A Walk To Remember
Remember the simple things.
“Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous.”
Remember when you were younger and you thought that love was all about feeling warm and safe in someone’s arms? This movie was a personal favorite when I was younger. It captured the pure kind of relationship that I thought love was as a kid. A Walk to Remember taught us that relationships don’t have to rely on physical passion. They can be slow and gentle.
Fight for the things that matter.
“All my life you made believe I was only worth what someone would pay for me! But Christian loves me… And that is worth everything!
A romance between a penniless poet and a mysterious courtesan may not happen these days, but we can still relate to their struggles. There will come a time when people might not approve of your relationship. When the world feels like it’s against you, it makes you feel small and vulnerable. That’s when you have to keep the people you love close because even if you don’t believe in yourself, they will believe in you. You are worth more than you know.
Relationships take work.
“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s going to be really hard; we’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you.”
Relationships take a lot of commitment to make it work. You kiss, you hug and inevitably you’ll fight. Sometimes these moments can be painful and make you regret falling in love in the first place. When this happens you have to ask yourself what you want out of this relationship.
If you’re insecure or lost about something, you should be able to trust your partner.
Embrace your flaws.
“I love that word “relationship.” Covers all manner of sins, doesn’t it?”
Love Actually covered a lot of relationship bases. It gave us the story of the one that got away, the tense marriage, the coworker romance and more. Despite these different stories, they all had certain things in common: the lesson that your flaws are what make you uniquely you. My personal favorite example in the film was the relationship of Prime Minister and Natalie (Hugh Grant’s silly dancing had absolutely no part in this decision).
What’s Your Number?
Don’t believe everything you hear.
“If he was so perfect, why didn’t it work out in the first place?”
Although I say this at the risk of my writing career, don’t trust everything you read online or in magazines. Not all relationships work the same way. There’s no cookie cutter answer to romance or dating. Accepting advice is fine, but trust your instincts as well. The trial and error part of relationships is part of what makes dating new and exciting every time. Don’t take shortcuts. You’d be missing out on an adventure.
Good Will Hunting
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
“You’re not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you’ve met, she’s not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you’re perfect for each other.”
While it’s not exactly a romantic film, Robin Williams stole my breath away with his monologue in the park. Humans aren’t perfect, infallible creatures, so don’t expect perfection from someone. Don’t reduce someone to only their flaws either.
Me Before You
Make everything an adventure.
“You only get one life. It’s actually your duty to live it as fully as possible.”
When you’re in a relationship for a long time it’s normal to fall into a routine. You get used to relaxing on the couch and watching TV. Remember when you first started dating and you tried to plan exciting dates to keep them interested? Remember when you kept learning new things about your partner before you fell into a day-to-day routine?
Step outside of your comfort zones. Share your hobbies and try something new. You can go on a road trip or even enjoy some spa treatments. There’s always something new to learn about your partner.
It’s okay to be an awkward mess.
“Because that’s what people do. They leap, and hope to God they can fly, because otherwise you just drop like a rock, wondering the whole way down “Why in the hell did I jump?” “
Love is awkward. The clammy hands and butterflies in the stomach are all included in the package. Its meant to have its ups and downs, and it’s okay. We aren’t supposed to have all of the answers. That’s the beauty of it. Relationships are all about figuring it out together. Later down the line, you’ll look back on all the painful dances and misunderstandings with fondness.
The Ugly Truth
Honesty is the best policy.
“So there you have it. Never assume a girl is easy or assume she’s a prude. There are many layers in between, and it’s your job, gentlemen, to peel back those layers and figure out exactly what type of woman you’re dealing with.”
You know that bro code rule about women who ask, “Does this make me look fat?” How you’re not supposed to say what you really think about how that dress just doesn’t quite fit? Newsflash: tell her. Even if it’s the simple things like she talks about a subject that bothers you, you have to speak up. That goes for you too, girls. If your partner picks at your pet peeves, be honest about it. Nip it in the bud before it changes from a minor discomfort to a full on fight.
I’ve had friends comment on my past relationship saying, “You two never fight. What’s your secret?”
La La Land
The one that got away.
“I’m always gonna love you.” “I’m always gonna love you, too”
Dating isn’t only about being in the present. It’s also about accepting what happened in the past and thinking about the future. Relationships come and go. We look back on “the one that got away” and wallow in self-pity about what went wrong. That’s not fair to any future partners or even to yourself. The important thing is to look back on the good things rather than the bad. There is no such thing as wasted time.
Maybe getting that Hollywood romance for ourselves is a long shot. Maybe wishing for the perfect relationship just sets us up for heartbreak. But there is a reason why we keep watching the silver screen. It gives us hope for what we can have.