Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"The Vow": Classic Ephesians 5

In a country where the divorce rate is a whopping fifty percent, it seems we have lost our sense of faithfulness to one another, and most of the time, films reflect that - which is why The Vow is so refreshing to see.

Starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams, The Vow shows the beauty of a faithful marriage when loving a person isn’t easy. Leo and Paige are a newly married couple who end up in a car crash, resulting in Paige’s memory loss, and their vows are tested to their limits.

Leo is a heroic husband amid the tragedy, sacrificing his money and business to help Paige remember the last four years of their life together. In Paige’s mind, she is still engaged to her previous guy and is in law school instead of an art institute.

Despite Paige’s difficult situation, Leo upholds his role as an Ephesians 5 husband.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.”

Although the Christian aspect of the true story isn’t in the film, Leo still lays down everything to help his wife through her confusion and pain. Even with his goodness, he’s still human, and at one point reminds Paige that she still needs to respect him as he tries his best to love her even when she’s difficult to love.

Leo never stops pursuing his wife. When Paige’s memory doesn’t return, he decides to try to make her fall in love with him again. He tells her, “You know when you read a good book, and you want a friend to experience the same excitement you had? Well, our life together was really great, and I want to share it with you, as if I’m lending you a book. So how about one date?”

Paige struggles with remembering the person she was when the accident happened, and it causes her to drift away from Leo until she remembers why she made those decisions in the first place. She ends up making the same decisions again, this time, after making peace with the broken relationships in her family.

While Leo’s self-sacrificing love is a beautiful example, in the end, it isn’t Leo and Paige’s marriage that is the best example of faithfulness to their marriage vows: it’s her parents, broken and imperfect. The most touching moment in the movie is when her mother shares why she never left her husband after he had an affair.

With tears running down her face, she tells Paige, “I chose to stay with him for all the things he did right, instead of leaving him for the one thing he did wrong. I chose to forgive him.”

As romance movies go, this one is surprisingly deep in an industry that thrives on stories about superficiality and infidelity. The script had some great lines, and while Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams weren’t their best, they had tremendous depth and emotion in their characters. Overall, the film isn’t perfect, but the message is worth the viewing.

This film shows the beauty of self-sacrifice in marriage, and that real love involves a daily choice. Real love is willing the goodness of another more than your own needs. Despite faults and failings, real love is to choose to love one another – especially in the times where the warm, romantic feelings are absent. Sometimes it isn’t pretty, but in the end, faithfulness is always worth it.

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