(Photo courtesy of hallmarkchannel.com)
Hallmark Relationships Don’t (Usually) Exist
By Jehn Kubiak
One of my closest coworkers at Biola, Steph, loves Hallmark movies. So do I––and we appreciate the cheesy, predictable scenes for reasons we can’t explain. I told her about a recent Christmas Hallmark movie I watched, and Steph told me she could sum up all Hallmark movies in one sentence. Curiosity drove me to say, “Mhm. So, tell me.”
Here’s what she said: “A woman moves to a new place or takes a new job and meets this handsome man, but something happens and they get mad, and then they get back together.”
After hearing that, I thought through all Hallmark movies I’ve seen. Although they have different narratives, each movie literally had the same basic plot line!
Lovable movies like these make it hard to understand that relationships aren’t that perfect. Storybook endings exist, yet they’re rare. The majority of people will fight with their spouse or significant other, or they may even fall in love with someone they absolutely detest for unexplainable reasons. That person may take several years to find, and you’ll wait endlessly through sufferable singleness (or sweet, depending on your perspective).
Once upon a time, a mentor gave me a valuable tidbit: “A relationship that has no problems is usually a sign that something will go wrong eventually, or that you’re not meant for each other.” Here’s why. Relationships that don’t have problems could indicate that both persons are too afraid to discuss hard topics, or they don’t know each other well enough to disagree on anything.
All people are different, and as you discover more about someone else, they may say or do something that you just don’t like. That could lead to a debate, or even a fight, but it grows the relationship as each person learns more about the other.
Relationships without conflict don’t allow couples to hold each other accountable and prevent them from bringing out the best in each other. Every person has blind spots, and the one we love most is often the person who calls us out on weaknesses. You don’t really see that in a Hallmark movie, but think about it: do you really love someone if you’re hiding the truth from them?
Honestly, I would rather have a relationship with some difficulties than a perfect mate because it would actually be real. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the magic of Hallmark movies, but that is exactly what they are: magic. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t find the one person that’s right for you––but it probably won’t turn out as expected. You’ll fall down flat on your face and receive bruises. The person you care for most may be the person who also hurts you the most at some point. However, the hard things often bring people closer together. We must become content with discontent and learn what love truly means: forgiveness, grace, and mercy––just as God shows us.