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Marriage counseling - or movie date?

By Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis
Tracy Lee Curtis is a humorist, writer and speaker. She writes family humor for the Charlotte Observer. Her column appears each Sunday.

The New York Times reports a new study shows that Hollywood relationship movies can actually help strengthen relationships in the real world. That a “Love Story” intervention is as effective as therapy.

I like this. In movie intervention, couples pick from a list of movies showing the ups and downs of daily life, then answer questions about how the on-screen couple handled various challenges.

Step One: Pick a Movie.

Isn’t this cool? As for which movie to pick, the study says, “Researchers eliminated romantic comedies like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “When Harry Met Sally” because the idea that you’re supposed to fall in love instantly and effortlessly is not reality …”

Excuse me? Meg Ryan movies are lessons in instant and effortless love? It took TWELVE YEARS for her to finally get together with Harry in “When Harry Met Sally.” They had to deal with his marriage and divorce, her hookup and heartbreak, the marriage of two friends initially intended for THEM, topped off with an awkward one-night stand.

If that’s not enough, in “Sleepless in Seattle” she was engaged to Walter but intrigued with Sam – writing goofy letters and flying back and forth between Boston and Seattle, trying to juggle wedding plans and dates on top of the Empire State Building – on Valentine’s Day – in rush hour traffic.

And don’t even get me started on “You’ve Got Mail.” She endured a virtual relationship with Joe as he dumps his gal, she dumps her guy, and Joe puts her out of business. Then meeting real Joe, not knowing he’s e-Joe, she spends months hating him, then weeks coming around to him, thinking she’s fallen for two people, when actually the two Joes are the same schmo.

What’s quick and easy about any of that? To say nothing of Meg’s real life. Ironically, she got married on Valentine’s Day to Dennis Quaid after he promised to kick his addictions. But then Russell Crowe got in the way, and it wasn’t until 2010 that she hooked up with John Mellencamp.

All told, it took 50 years for Meg Ryan to find love. So you movie intervention “researchers” might want to study Meg Ryan’s filmography and Wikipedia page when observing couples in different aspects of their relationships.

Because Meg’s movies proved that men and women CAN be friends. And to never settle, but take a chance that the unknown is gonna be better. And that getting to know someone through email is legit and probably paved the way for Match.com’s 20 million users.

Meg Ryan IS your movie intervention. Nothing could take as long or be any harder than her movie relationships, except for maybe her relationships in real life. “Love Story” – are you kidding me? Ali MacGraw died in that movie! But Meg Ryan is alive and well and ALWAYS gets her man, GEEZ.

Step Two: Watch the movie …

tcurtis@charlotteobserver.com
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