Hubby and I watched Marley & Me last night. Overall, we gave the movie a B. While the story was neither fascinating nor surprising, it was fun to watch and had the expected tear-jerker moment at the end. We've found ourselves bringing up little parts of the movie today, remembering specific scenes and commenting on them. The movie reminds us of ourselves and our marriage.
I think what we liked the most about the movie is that it validates what we've got going on. Yes, we love each other. Yes, life can be CHAOTIC and STRESSFUL with three kids (and no dog) and yes, sometimes we take it out on each other. But we love each other and are thankful to be together. We're thankful for each child that God gave us to love and raise.
There is one scene in the movie where Jennifer Aniston's character is overwrought and says "I know I chose this, but I didn't expect it to be this hard. Nobody told me it would be this hard." I can totally relate to feeling that way. There is just times when you feel like there is no way one person can possibly manage all that is coming at her and yet this is what you chose for your life and you don't want to give it up for someone else to do.
She has another line that says something about "I've given up all the things that made me me" and that line resonates too. Especially in the baby years, I found it challenging to maintain any part of my life that wasn't related to child-rearing. It is comforting at that time to think that it is only a temporary suspension of those things...that you can add some of those things back in when the kids get a little older and you can carve out more time for yourself. Sometimes I think that and then I catch myself just looking forward to when my kids are older and I have more freedoms. I don't want to miss out on what is good about this time in their lives because I'm focusing on what's coming next.
I like that the story ends with both the husband and the wife looking back and realizing that what they thought they needed (i.e. the things that made them "them") was not what made them happy and what makes them happy is the things that perhaps they thought were burdens. I love the love they shared between them and the love they had for their family and that stupid-but-adorable dog.
BTW, anyone who things that someone should have actually warned them about how hard marriage and child-raising can be is on crack. What do they really expect us to say? "Oh congrats on your engagement...you know that both good times and tough times are coming...right?" or "Oh, a new baby is coming, I hope you enjoy what time you have left before you give up life as you know it for your child". Yeah, that's just not going to happen.