Last week, the second entry in the Twilight vampire romance series – New Moon – was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Wildly popular, the movie made $142,839,137 at the box office in its opening weekend at the theatres (the third biggest opening weekend ever for a movie in the US and Canada). Over 4 million copies of the DVD have been purchased since they became available last Saturday. That adds up to a lot of people. (While I’ve read the book, I did not contribute to the above figures.)
I’d like to work on the assumption that by far most of these people understand that vampires and werewolves are make believe. I wonder, though, how many of the more implicit false messages are equally disregarded. When New Moon came out in theatres, Wired.com presented an enlightening piece called “Top 20 Unfortunate Lessons Girls Learn from Twilight.” A couple of these lessons include: “It’s OK for a potential romantic interest to be dimwitted, violent and vengeful – as long as he has great abs” and “If a boy leaves you, especially suddenly (while telling you he will never see you again), it is because he loves you so much he will suffer just to keep you safe.”
Here’s another implicit message: “Of the 6.8 billion people on planet earth, there is one with whom you are destined to fall in love. If you cannot find and be with this person, you’re hooped.”
This is a pernicious lie that circulates even among Christians. It suggests that love is directly connected with fate with no emphasis on how love is a choice.
Let’s say for the sake of argument that Monica and I never met at King’s and that we each married someone else. Can you picture God wringing His hands and giving up on Monica and I because we did not marry the person we were destined to marry (i.e. each other)? I believe that God would have been able to bless us even if we had married someone else.
Or, look at it from the human point of view. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Monica or I at some point meet an individual we wonder we were actually destined to marry. It might be tempting to give up on our marriage and pine over the “one that got away” instead of choosing to nurture the love we’ve established so far in our marriage.
Implicit messages in New Moon and many other romantic books and films suggest that we fall in love as though we are victims – we cannot help it or control it, so we might as well not fight it, especially if we fall in love with the one we’re meant to be with. While attraction plays a role in people meeting and loving each other, ultimately, love is a choice. Love is a verb; it’s something that we do (as Clint Black sings). When the initial attraction wears off or your marriage feels unfulfilling at the moment, choosing to love will carry you through. And sticking it out may bring you to a better place than you can currently imagine.
:: I find this interesting: Hollywood’s double standard on male and female minors showing off their bodies is mentioned at the end of the New Moon review at Plugged In and discussed in more depth at Identity Revealed.
:: A song by Michelle Tumes about two hearts that were indeed “destined to entwine” (lyrics here).