Monday, April 19, 2010

What Vince Vaughn has to say About Marriage

I just watched Couples Retreat. At the outset, I will say that there were plenty of very funny (if not appropriate) spots in the film, but overall, the movie fell flat. The intention of a movie is not to periodically entertain, but to bring you along as it weaves a story. This is like those people who say "Yeah, Dumb and Dumber made me laugh, but overall I didn't like it" (yes, there really are people like this, and I pray for them). So, while I will agree that there are areas where Vince Vaughn's story struck the comedic chord he was aiming for, I can still say it left me totally cold at the end.

Four couples make the trip to an island paradise called Eden. It is in Eden, where they will re-create their marriage. Of course, it is lost on no-one that it was precisely in Eden where the first marriage was created.

The island is made up of two parts, East and West. Eden West is where the married couples go to rejuvenate their relationships through the aid of a demanding schedule requiring them to learn "couples skills" amidst decidedly unhelpful yoga sessions and swimming lessons.

The stress of their itinerary takes its toll, and all of the couples start fighting with their respective.... partner (have to be inclusive here). One of the partners goes missing, and... it must be... they went to Eden East!

Eden East is the hedonistic singles side, where all they do is drink, dance, and have sex. As the whole troupe voyages over to the forbidden side of the island, they, like Odysseus, are all tempted by the nymphs of Eden East (be they male or female).

Of course, this is where the "redemption" occurs. Most of the spouses are tempted by the writhing flesh of Eden East, but once confronted by all of the free-fruit (and maybe taking a few quick bites), they realize what they really want: someone to go to Applebees with (translation: a partner to share even the most mundane parts of their life).

The proverb of the whole film was summed up when one of the characters' "inner animal" is revealed to be a Honey Bee, who "eats the sweet nectar of many different flowers, but always comes home." Wow. That's gotta make a spouse proud: Oh Gee, that's great, he always comes home.

Couples Retreat and the many other recent films dealing with marriage can only deal with what they believe to be the highest calling for marriage: compatibility. In order for the many couples to realize that the spouse they had was the one they really wanted was to sample the goods and spend some time on "Singles Island."

The Bible tells us that our marriage is about so much more than compatibility. Our marriage is an image of the relationship between Christ and the Church. We learn how to live in genuine community through the trials and difficulties of marriage. There is a leader and there is someone who needs to submit to that leader. In the case of my marriage, my wife's role is to submit to me, but in the case of the church, I am to submit to the elders. I am to give myself to my wife like Jesus did to the church -- even giving up his own life.

Marriage is an act of sacrifice and submission, not of playing the field until you find the partner with whom you work best. Marriage is one of the hardest things we do in this life, but it is also one of the most beautiful, for in it we enact the beauty of a loving God who condescended to us, sacrificed himself, and saved us.

P.S. if you insist on watching it, know that my favorite part is when Vince Vaughn is chasing Jason Bateman with the handgun. I almost died.

1 comment:

  1. Good article. My wife and I definitely going through the trials, but you know we are learning and growing. Divorce is a real cop-out.

    BTW, my favorite part was Guitar Hero..and Applebee's was funny too.