I’ve got a bit of a confession to make: occasionally I go to the cinema on my own. I’ve always thought that it’s an unusual social activity, but the first time I went to the counter to buy a ticket – just one ticket – it was rather awkward, I could feel the person at the counter judging me.
But that’s enough of a tangent before I actually begin, it is all to say that earlier this week I walked out of work with my head spinning and headed to the cinema picking the film that best suited my arrival time regardless of what it was. This is how I ended up watching ‘This Means War’. I know that’s no excuse, my taste in films is dreadful, but as usually happens, even in the most dreadful films, something catches my attention.
Curiously it was a similar theme that had already piqued my interest while rampaging through the Hunger Games trilogy all in around a week.
A girl likes two guys at the same time.
Yes, I’m back to blogging about relationships.
I had slightly accidentally eased off writing too much about relationships because I didn’t like being referred to as having a ‘relationship blog’. But you may have noticed that I have more or less eased off writing about anything in these hallowed lines of html in the past month or so. Here a minor side note: I will return to women in leadership at some point, and those who offered to write guest posts, I haven’t forgotten.
In the Hunger Games the issue lingers below the surface gradually pushing its way to the surface as the pages turn into books and one cover closes and the sequel opens as quickly as you can get to the shop to pick up the next instalment. In contrast, This Means War could not be more obvious if it tried, the posters make watching the film an optional extra.
There are stand out lines in each that sum up the main protagonist’s efforts to make their minds up. In This Means War she is told to pick the man who will make her better, in the Hunger Games the two competing love interests accept she’ll go for the one who she thinks will give her the best chance of survival.
Because we all make choices. We all have a frame of reference that informs and influences our decisions. In Bill Hybels’ book Courageous Leadership he examines how he makes decisions and the factors that come into play; it’s a combination of experience, rationality, emotion and prejudice. The things that allow us to decide when to cross the road. The things that tell us that we like one person a little more than appropriate for us to be friends.
The things that might tell us we like more than one person more than appropriate to just be friends.
Is that just crazy? Or is it really just owning up to what actually goes on in our crazy little heads? And does it force us to re-evaluate the frame of reference that we use to come to those conclusions?
First of all, this is not crazy. It happens, I don’t think I’m making some stunning revelation to dare suggest that I have, and others have too, liked more than one person at once. And in my case, I should say not at present, that dilemma has been the cause of hesitation and avoidance, and the hope that in time one would take precedence. Usually in time honoured fashion not one but both fade from my affection.
Now we’ve got over the fact that it is not analogous to polygamy to have split affections how do we deal with it? Because it’s not a sustainable place to linger. For a while you can juggle the competing claims on your heart, and rearrange the aspects of your life that tessellate with each in turn. But sooner or later you have to make a decision. And that’s where it stops being about emotion and it starts being about will.
So often I opt out of making a choice in the hope that it will be made for me. I hope that events will conspire to lead me to one and them to me. And make it clear that choosing them is like waking up each morning and the night sky eclipsed each morning as it fades to light.
Both the Hunger Games and This Means War offer a selfish view of love, but a selfish view that exists within us, and one which we often do not try to disown. We chose the partner who will make us happy, or make us better, or making it sound all to utilitarian the one who will give us the best chance to survive.
And there is something selfish in our thinking when we try and decide if we like someone and if they like us. When we might be attracted to more than one person at once maybe it is time to make you mind up and follow through on that decision. It’s not easy, or perfect, or certain, but it’s better than trying to get everything you want. That’s just a merger of gluttony and lust.
But when that phase of shadow boxing is in the past and we are committed to one person as an act of will. Then selfishness just doesn’t get a look in. It is, as marriage was recently described, something designed to gently destroy the ego.
Perhaps, in the words of Summer, we hope that one day we will wake up and just know. But I think it’s a bit harder than that.