Saturday, February 16, 2008

It's a Dog's Life!

We watched one of my very favorite old movies last night. I had found it accidentally at Hastings the other night and was beside myself with joy! I have not seen this movie since before Daniel was born (over 17 years ago) and had decided I must have dreamed it up because I never saw anything about it again and no one seemed to have heard of it either. The name of the movie is "If a Man Answers" and it stars Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. While many would consider it quite old fashioned and maybe even chauvinistic, I think it's charming!

The movie tells the story of Chantal (Sandra Dee) and her quest to be a good wife to Mr. Wright (Bobby Darin). Her mother, a lovely French woman, gives her wise, but hilarious advice. Included in this advice is her tip to treat her husband like a dog. She even gives her a well-worn book about training man's best friend. At first Chantal is repulsed by the idea of training her husband as she would a dog, but her savvy mother convinces her that many people actually treat their pets better than a husband. I think she's got something there! Chantal proceeds to teach her "pet" to come on command, do as he is told, and follow her "on a leash" by employing a few dog training techniques. She rewards her husband profusely, speaks firmly but gently to him, and makes obedience worth his while!

Now, lest you think I believe men are nothing but dogs, think again. Chantal treats her husband extremely well. In fact, Chantal's mother has told her on her wedding day, "Do not go into love demanding that it not disappoint you. Do not disappoint love." (Of course she says it with a smooth French accent!) She's telling Chantal, you see, to be a giver and not a taker in her marriage. And if you consider the advice carefully you will see that indeed the pet owner who wants an obedient, controlled, and affectionate dog is one who gives love and attention to his pet, provides all of his basic needs, and is consistent and trustworthy. Isn't that what is needed in a good marriage as well?

Marriage is a blessing, but it can be a bit testy too. It requires selflessness, being aware of the other person's needs, being consistent, and giving lots of love and attention, even when you don't feel like it. Like Chantal in "If a Man Answers," I've found that the happiness I get in my marriage is more directly correlated to how I treat my husband than to how he treats me. If I'm constantly holding out my empty cup and expecting him to fill it, I'm going to be disappointed. But if I get my cup filled from the One who always has living water to spare (John 4:13-14) and then I generously give from the overflow to my husband, we're both satisfied and no one is pouting over unmet, unrealistic expectations. This is a lesson I have learned, but, I must admit, I do not always practice it!

Now my little movie won't fix major marriage problems, but if you're just struggling with a little resentment, weariness, or boredom in your marriage, consider hunting down "If a Man Answers." I found it at Hastings. Pop the video in, pop some popcorn, and plop down on the sofa with your honey. I think you'll find it charming and fun. The women's clothes are fun too! Let me know what you think of the movie!

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