You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally, three of our favorite movies about partnership. And like all silver screen storylines, they share a narrative structure: set-up and turning point, confrontation and climax, conflict and resolution.
Nora Ephron, who wrote our three favorite romantic comedies, was asked what she had figured out about relationships after a career in Hollywood. She responded, “Great movies have plot; great marriages don’t.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
In Ken Burns documentary on the Civil War, the narrator describes a scene that took place on the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1913. The two armies decided to reenact Pickett’s Charge. The old Union veterans took their places on the ridge, among the rocks. All the Confederate soldiers took their places in the field below. As the old men among the rocks began to rush down at the old men in the field, a great cry went up. Only instead of doing battle as they had a half century earlier, they threw their arms around each other. They embraced and wept. (Paraphrase by Fredrick Buechner)
Holy Matrimony is the disarmament of conflict, the abandoning of entrenched positions, and the making of vows to end the war of separation for the peace of partnership.
For Ronald and Donna, enough of yesterday’s storyline, the theatre curtain has closed on that drama. Marriage isn’t like the movies, it’s better.