Sunday
Feb242013

Marriage Friendly Movies

Marriage Friendly Movies

The Notebook- with Ryan Gosling-A wonderful movie about a man whose wife has Alzheimer's and his undying patience with her as he remembers their shared history and loves her through it. 

The Incredibles- A delightful story where the superheroes work together to raise their family and save the world at the same time. 
 

Fireproof- A powerful movie about the importance of prayer and spirituality in marriage. Wonderful images of kindness, shunning adultery and choosing to be true to your commitment.

Arranged- This tender movie portrays the contrast between cultures where marriage is strongly supported and guided through parental and religious traditions, with the contemporary trend of "anything goes". It is a delightful picture of two girls who love and honor marriage, family and religion and still want to marry the man of their dreams. 

Courageous- Made by the congregation that created Fireproof this landmark film honors fathers and their contribution to marriage.

It's a Wonderful Life- Starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, this is a timeless movie about how a woman is her husband's faithful companion through life's trials, and his joy at rediscovering all they are blessed with.

Friendly Persuasion- A sweet movie about a Quaker couple who struggle to keep their own individual dreams while still honoring their couplehood. They face the pain of reconciling their ideals in an unideal world.
 

Yours, Mine and Ours- Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo take on the roles made famous by Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in this remake of the 1968 comedy about two single parents who plan to marry and merge their broods into one "happy" family.
 

Swiss Family Robinson- This family works together to survive being stranded on an island. Their marriage is healthy ans sweet.

For Richer or Poorer- New York society couple Brad (Tim Allen) and Caroline (Kirstie Alley) Sexton find themselves targets of an IRS investigation. Running from the law, they discover a safe haven in the Amish community of Intercourse, Pa. Posing as long-lost relatives of local farmer Samuel Yoder, the Sextons must give up their glamorous ways in order to escape the IRS.
 

Guess Who's Coming for Dinner- Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn star as wealthy Californians who consider themselves progressive -- until their daughter brings home her black fiancé, Sidney Poitier. Produced in 1967, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner took on pointed subject matter (for its time). Watching Tracy's and Hepburn's characters struggle with prejudices they didn't know they had is a powerful metaphor for a society's long-overdue awakening.
 

The Story of Us- A wonderful story of a couple that gets stale and wonders if they are meant to stay together. But in the end she gives an impassioned speech about how they are "Us" and have a shared history that is precious.

Random Harvest- The girl who falls in love with and marries the man with amnesia...stays true to him even when he 'regains' his old memory, and loses the period in which they were married.  Later they meet again....and it's a neat commentary on the idea that there might be JUST ONE right person 'out there'.

Regarding Henry- Harrison Ford starts out as a merciless, arrogant lawyer; is shot, suffers severe brain damage, and has to re-learn everything. His wife and daughter help him all along the way, and it turns out great, with an interesting turn of events.

The Quiet Man- John Wayne hangs up his spurs to star as a bachelor ex-boxer in this well-loved classic. Back in his native Ireland, the Duke's thoughts turn to domestic tranquility after courting Maureen O'Hara

Return to Me.- A beautiful story about falling in love that includes a sister whose marriage is healthy and playful.
The Thin Man MoviesThis is one of the most successful detective serials in film history, introduces stylish sleuthing spouses Nick (William Powell) and Nora Charles (Myrna Loy). Powell and Loy's quick-witted repartee set a Hollywood tradition in their debut as they investigate the disappearance of a wealthy inventor.
Apollo 13 - This one does a good job with marriage as well, even if there is one unsavory bachelor.
 
Lady Jane- This is a great love story about a very short lived marriage.
The Family Man- Nicholas Cage portrays a man caught between family life, as messy and crazy as it is,  and the emptiness of endless money all alone.
 
Lorenzo's Oil- Susan Saradon stars in a wonderful true depiction of a family that works together to find a cure for their son's disease.
 
Searching For Bobby Fisher-This deals well with healthy marriages under stress.
 
The River- Mel Gibson and Sissy Spacek are a couple struggling to safeguard their farm from devastating floodwaters and repossession. With the local power authority ready to snatch up their failing farm, the pressure rises, they dig in with steely resolve to save their way of life.
Raisin In The Sun- This movie recounts the dilemma of whether to spend inheritance money on a seemingly sure bet of buying a bar, or buying a house in a nice neighborhood in contrast to the cramped quarters the extended family finds themselves in now. 

 

Sweet Land - It recounts the story of an immigrant bride trying to marry a farmer in Minnesota, but being unfairly treated because of her German heritage shortly after the war with Hitler. After trying more than once the traditional way, and after some time has passed the couple determines that they're committed before God if not before man, and that that's more than enough.

Smilin' Through- The more the man does what is right the more he hears his wife's voice.  The more he is selfish and bitter the less he can hear her. 

Shall We Dance?- A warm movie about a couple that has slid into old patterns that lack a sense of fun, so he starts to learn ballroom dancing. He is attracted to the woman who teaches him but he clearly shuns adultery and loves his wife through it all.

When a Man Loves a Woman This is a hard but powerful story about a woman who is an alcoholic and undergoes treatment to get sober. Her husband loves her through the painful process and readjusts to her life of 12 steps to regain sanity.

Beautiful Mind- Painful depiction of the struggle of mental illness and how it puts enormous stress on a marriage, and yet they make it to a wonderful conclusion.

Please Don't Eat the Daisies- Doris Day and David Niven star in a story about a warm and playful family that moves to the country and discovers that slowing down is ok.

Victoria and Albert -The film is about Queen Victoria's reign. There is a lot about their marriage and how tough it is for him to be married to the queen of England.

The Scarlet Pimpernel- The plot is about the French Revolution, but they have marriage problems and need to work a lot on communication.

Fiddler on the Roof-  It is about family, struggle and traditions. It portrays how through it all the father and mother realize they love each other.

Amazing Grace- It is about William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade. It's because of his wife that he carries through with getting it abolished.

A Man Called Peter -Based on a true story, this drama centers on young Scotsman Peter Marshall, who heeds his "calling" from God to be a minister. Marshall leaves Scotland and travels to America, where he lands the position of pastor of the Church of the Presidents in Washington, D.C., on his way to becoming chaplain of the U.S. Senate.

Monday
Jan282013

Ideas for Marriage Mentors

Caring for Marriage is currently working to help couples mentor other couples.  Our strategy is to have a more experienced couple meet with a less experienced couple monthly for one hour over the span of two years.  This page is here to give mentor couples some ideas about what subjects to bring up. during those meetings. Hopefully you can talk about good guidlines like no interrupting, no cross talk, and confidentiality. It is important that they trust that what they say will be kept in confidence. 

Listen

When you meet with a couple to mentor them, the most important part of your job is to listen.  Listening to the other couple shows that you care about them and what they are feeling and experiencing, more than you care about your own ideas.  More importantly, by listening and reflecting back things that the other couple says you can model good listening skills, helping them have a better picture of what attentiion looks like.  Keep listening in the foreground with all the subjects below, so that it will be a conversation, not a lecture or giving advice.

Sometimes you may not know what to say to someone.  Rather than feeling that you have to come up with some conversation to fill the silence, work on the assumption that if you don't know what to say, it is time to listen instead.  So while it is good to have an idea to bring up in conversation, never let the topic push aside your top priority of listening. Your presence will help them to give attention to each other in a way that sometimes gets lost in the frenzy of everyday life.

With this in mind, here are a baker's dozen ideas in addition to the first two which we always include, to have in your pocket when you meet. These focus on the positive aspects of marriage, rather than the problems.

How are you?

How-are-you's are a great place to start any meeting.  Let each person take a turn talking about their past day, week or month, sharing their joys or concerns.  As the mentor couple, you can help set the healthy boundaries of no interuptions, and good attention. Model it, and if necessary, gently remind them. Give each person a chance to be heard. It makes a big difference. We always start with these. In some of our meetings this is the only thing we do--each person takes 10 to 15 minutes to talk, and the hour is soon gone.  More often each person takes 3-5 minutes and we move on to some of the subjects below.

Brag Time

This is a chance to say good things about your partner. It is good to be the one talking and nice to be the one hearing. These can be short. Be specific, like "I appreciate that my husband drove us home last night while I slept in the car" not vague such as "I am glad he helps me." We do this every time we meet.

1. Love Stories

Tell the story of how you fell in love. Let each of them talk, and soak up their faces. This is a wonderful way to rekindle good feelings. This is one of my favorite ways to get to know each other. I still remember the details of couples we have been in groups with and it is a lot of fun to hear the two of them tell it together. 

2. Sentimental Journey

Invite them each to bring a photo, or other sentimental object to your meeting. (You can bring some, too.) Then let them tell their stories and remember. We have had people bring clothing, music, special foods, gifts they gave each other, jewelry, and things found in nature. 

3. The Five Love Languages

Gary Chapman's book The Five Love Languages is an excellent resource for helping couples understand each other and communicate better.  Read the book or check out their website for an online test. Then share your thoughts with the couple you mentor.  John has a great downloadable hand out if you want that.

4. Love and Respect

Talk about what each of these words means to you. You can mention that in several surveys 80% of men say they would rather have respect and 80% of women say they would rather have love. Are you in the 80% or the 20%? You can also talk about fear and shame.  Brain studies suggest that fear is often more painful for women than for men, while shame tends to be more painful for men than for women.  Women can undermine respect with nagging. Men can undermine love with anger. Find out how these qualities show up in their relationship. Talk about a time you felt respected or loved. 

5. Money

You might begin with asking each of them to describe their childhood experience of how their parents handled  money.  Chat about who pays the bills, does the taxes, and makes decisions. Does this work for you? There are many good books about this, and we can lend you one. Again it is not about right or wrong, but finding ways that work and bring you together. 

6. Prayer

Prayer is a powerful relationship glue. Studies show that praying for your partner increases couple satisfaction. You can begin or end your mentoring meetings with a prayer if you like. Some couples use the Lord's Prayer or the Serenity Prayer, or you can just ask God to bless your partner and to give you the patience and wisdom to be a good spouse.  You can also talk about prayer with the couple.  Are you bringing God into your relationship? How is it working? 

7. Having Fun Together

Do you have a plan for spending time doing things you enjoy? Watching funny shows, reading jokes, tickling, walking outside, making music, hugging, kissing, playing badminton, cooking together, riding bikes and going to the beach are all ways to enjoy time together. Ideas can take one minute or three hours. There is a list on this website under the heading of Start a Group. Make your own list and get cracking.

8. Extended Family

Talk about the strengths and struggles of your larger families. Do holidays bring up stress? Do you have expectations that are not being met? Can you tweak those to be more realistic? Tell stories about how your family of origin handled vacations or hoiidays. How can you take the best of both worlds to create your own family traditions? 

9. Sex

Perhaps you are uncomfortable talking about this, but even short conversations can be helpful. Hearing that another couple has difficulties finding time, energy, or balance in sexual needs can be reassuring. We have books if you want to borrow one.

10. Close Calls

It is important to understand that all marriages can be attacked by lust. No one is immune. There are very tangible ways to protect your marriage. Close Calls, and Not Just Friends are reviewed elsewhere on this website and in marriage moats. You can borrow the books as well.

11. Forgiveness

This is an incredible skill, yet we have few if any resources for learning forgiveness. There are ways to get better at this. The book Five Languages of Apology describes how some people feel healing from an offer to make restitution, or taking full responsibility. Others need a promise not to do it again, and others want to be asked "Do you fogive me?" Talk about times you were able to forgive.

12. Goals for Marriage

If you would like to get somewhere in your relationship it can help to articulate it to each other and to yourself. Where would you like your marriage to be in a year? What would it take to get there? In ten years? Write it down. Remember it. Help it come true.

13. Romance

There are physiological strategies for rekindling love. Hold hands. Look in each other's eyes for a full minute. Smile. Pray. Cuddle. Remember.  Say "I love you" as an invitation for the love to return, not an announcement that it is already here.