Marriage worship

How many of you have watched romantic comedies where all the problems are solved when the man and woman finally become a couple? It’s the plot of a few of my favorite movies (Hitch, The Notebook, Serendipity) and EVERY Hallmark movie. There’s the main character who is dating someone who is clearly the opposite of a good match, then a love interest pops on screen who initially has conflicts with the main character but is clearly the perfect match for them romantically. An hour and a half later bells are ringing and everyone’s cry-laughing and hugging.

Gosh, I love The Notebook. I just watched this boat/swan scene again and I’m not crying, YOU’RE crying. But anyway, what I’ve noticed as a single man in my 30s and 40s about marriage specifically are a few things. One, it’s a wonderful thing most of the time. I’m not here to bash the institution of marriage at all. I hope to one day experience it. There are many great things about it (so I’ve heard), but there’s something else…

Marriage worship.

The idea that a relationship (and marriage, specifically) is the highest of life goals one can pursue and achieve. As a single person, this idea can be so hurtful. Imagine going up to a woman who hasn’t had children yet and talking to her all about how great being a parent is. Try approaching a blind person to tell them how beautiful the sunset was last night. Do either of those examples sound like a good time for the childless woman or the blind person?

We’ve put marriage on a pedestal and that’s not at all where it belongs. Yes, it should be sacred and cherished, guarded and nurtured, but I fear that in America it’s become a thing we worship. The lesson is that a person is not reaching their full potential until they have a love in their life. We’ve been conditioned to think this way and it’s so unhealthy.

I need to stop watching these clips before I include them. You’re crying again. But to get back to the point… it bothers me how marriage is worshipped in this country.

You complete me.

That’s a classic line and it sounds good, but sorry, no. You can be a complete person with or without a wife or husband. I’m a Christian so my slant on the solution is this: I would rather worship God and if I ever get married, yay. If I don’t, yay. I hope and pray that at the end of my life if I’ve never been married, I don’t feel as though I didn’t reach some sort of man-made goal and have despair about it.

Let’s take marriage and love OFF the pedestal and treat it as a great thing, but not the ultimate goal of life. There is so much more out there than finding someone to grow old with. At least that’s my take as a happy man looking in from the outside.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

Favorite romantic movie endings

For the longest time I’ve thought of myself as a sucker for a good romantic comedy. It’s true, rom-com’s are my favorite movie category, and I’m only a little embarrassed to say that! As a dude, shouldn’t I like action or gory films or just straight comedies? I don’t know, I like what I like. So now that I’ve confessed this to you, here’s a list of a few of my favorite romantic movie endings, and I’ll try hard to pick out a favorite scene from each.

The Wedding Singer

Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler in their 329th movie together but this one is set in the 1980s. Most romantic scene in the movie is in the airplane with Adam singing to Drew, with the help of Billy Idol… a very very memorable moment.


Elizabethtown

This whole movie is amazing. If you haven’t seen it, take a couple hours one night and let yourself be immersed in the humor of life in the south- crickets chirping at night, screened porches, big family gatherings, and romance! Towards the end there’s a scavenger hunt of sorts involving Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom, and it’s an amazingly romantic way to wrap up the story. This movie is in my top 3 all time favorites.


Serendipity

The beautiful Kate Beckinsale stars in this along with John Cusack. A story of fate, chance, and doing everything you can to find “the one,” I really like this movie! My favorite scene, without giving too much away, is when the guy (John C) opens up a particular book and finds her (Kate B) name written in it. That’ll make more sense if/when you seen the movie, but it’s a really heart-stopping moment.


Hitch

Will Smith and Kevin James… need I say more? OK, I will. It’s got a fantastic cast including Eva Mendes and Amber Valletta. Amber is also the star of this Keith Urban music video. The movie is equal parts comedy and romance, and has a really great ending. My favorite scene…

Will: “Where are you going?”

Kevin: “Skydiving!”


Never Been Kissed

Another Drew Barrymore movie, also set in the 80s, but this time she’s an adult posing as a student to find out more about what popular life is like. Also stars David Arquette as a funny popular guy. Great movie, and this one is my #1 music to movie combo. The scene where Drew is on the baseball field standing on the pitcher’s mound waiting for her love interest to arrive… the countdown clock hits 0 and the guy doesn’t show up… major letdown… crowd is deflated, as is Drew…. then from the furthest end of the bleachers, teacher comes briskly down the steps to the Beach Boys “Don’t Worry Baby” and it’s quite the moment! Whoever thought to use that song in that moment, major kudos to you. That’s the best scene, capped off with this exchange…

Teacher: “Sorry I’m late, it took me forever to get here.”

Drew: “I know what you mean.”


Dan in Real Life

Steve Carrell in a more serious role, although very likable and still funny at times. This movie builds and builds and by the end, you’re cheering so much for Steve’s character. The best scene is a song by Steve and Dane Cook. Such a deep moment for Steve’s character…

 


Enchanted

Amy Adams is a cartoon princess who gets whisked away into a physical 3-dimensional world (the one we live in, ya know?) and it’s so charming and funny. Her character is really cute and by the end, she’s in love but not with a cartoon prince. The scene I remember the most (besides the squirrel going “bloop, bloop, bloop!” with the ice tea) is a dance featuring a great song by Jon Mclaughlin. The song steals the moment, but the romance is real, too.

 


Jerry Maguire

I don’t suppose you can have a list of romantic movies without including this one. “You had me at hello” became a phrase everyone and their mother knew, along with “You complete me.” Of course, there was also “Show me the money!” but that one wasn’t quite as romantic as the former quotes. Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger are the two sharing the romance, and it’s a great movie.  I’d say it’s in my top 10 because it combines humor, sports, and love. Here’s the scene that’s uber lovely…

 

Thanks for checking out my list! What are some of your favorite romantic movie endings?

-Out of the Wilderness

 

On having jury duty and getting laid off in the same week

Well, jury duty was very interesting. Maybe I’d have a different opinion if it was more than getting a chance to observe in real-life something I only typically see on TV. And now I’d like to thank my parents for raising me well enough that court is something I only typically see on TV. As a potential juror, I experienced a lot in the two days required of me. It was fascinating, even if the actual case sounded somewhat trivial. One person wants money, the other doesn’t want to give them money. Which means it was a civil case, as opposed to criminal.

“You can’t handle the truth!”

That line from A Few Good Men? Criminal case.

“Show me the money!”

That line from Jerry Maguire? Not a court case at all, but more likely to be said in a civil case unless you’re Cuba Gooding, Jr. Then you’re saying it all the time because hey, you’ve got the kwan.

One thing I learned is that in a civil case, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to show the accusations made are more likely true. In criminal, it’s the “beyond a reasonable doubt” we always here on TV (again, something I’ve never heard in real life, thanks Mom and Dad). I also learned about cases that involve someone stealing the spouse of someone else. Yeah, it has a name… Alienation of Affection. Crazy stuff.

“What’s love got to do with it?”

Evidently nothing. Alienation of Affection is a civil case because it’s about money. Unless O.J. Simpson’s involved. Then it would probably turn into criminal. But he’s innocent. I’m just speaking hypothetically.

On day 2 of the jury selection process, it was my turn to answer questions from the judge and the 2 attorneys. This is where they ask a laundry list of questions to find out if I’m fit to be a juror on this particular case. The thing is, I would’ve been a juror if they’d ask me all the questions before our lunch break.

Timing is everything.

After our 1-hour break for lunch, the judge began asking me his questions. The first, “What’s your employment?” My answer, “Actually, during lunch I was laid off.” What!? Laid off during lunch!? That never happens! I don’t know if it was compassion, or doubting I could make a clear judgement, but I was released from the jury. So the case was left up to 12 other people not named Ben. All of which had jobs. So I got broken up with twice on the same day! Ouchy. I returned to work to face the music.

“Gentlemen, this is the final rose of the night.”

Those words from the Bachelorette definitely apply to my last day at work. A lot of people were eliminated, and I was one of them. I found people throughout the building and said my goodbyes. Hugs. Laughter. Encouragement. I promised myself I wouldn’t cry in the limousine ride to the airport. Wait, what? No. I collected my things, got in my car, and drove away from the parking garage, knowing as I left this was the last time I’d be at CMT for a long time. Things will forever be different.

I got home to be greeted by the wagging tails of my dogs. We went to the dog park. I ate dinner. I watched another episode of Arrested Development.

“Just so you have it… because then at least you’ll have it.”

What I have is confidence that I did good work at CMT. I worked hard. People liked me. A few of my closest friends came from my time in that building. Some of them I even Snapchat with. I’m different now than I was when I started way back in 2006. I’ve got more confidence in what I can offer professionally. I’ve grown and blossomed more than just professionally. I have no regrets working for CMT, who’s most popular show right now features a lifestyle I only typically see on TV. Yes, I’m referring to Party Down South (thanks Mom and Dad!).

On to the next thing!
-Out of the Wilderness