Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Need More Movies Like This!

This weekend was our weekend off. DH and I had 26 glorious, child-free hours to spend together. Once a month, we are trading our 3 kids with another family with 3 kids. Each month, one couple gets 26 hours to spend on their marriage. It is a trade that works for both our families, and is so worth the work of managing 6 kids every other month.

We decided to go see "Fireproof," which had gotten rave reviews from another friend. I cannot recommend this movie more highly. It is an unabashedly Christian, intensely pro-marriage movie. We need more movies like this one. When it was over, we stood in the lobby talking with two other couples, and all 6 of us kept repeating that one phrase: We need more movies like this one.

"Fireproof" is the story of Caleb, a firefighter, whose marriage of 7 years is headed for divorce. He and his wife communicate only in angry barbs and snide comments. She asks him for a divorce and he is ready to agree, but his father asks him to try a 40 day "love dare" to save his marriage. Caleb doesn't want to agree, but his father presses him, and he does so only out of respect for him.

This "love dare" is not the magic bullet Caleb was thinking it would be, and his marriage continues to fall apart. About halfway through, his dad comes to visit, and as they walk, they talk about faith. Caleb has little, at this point. He is frustrated and angry with his wife, and he cries out: "How am I supposed to love someone who spits in my face, and keeps pushing me away?" Dad says, "That's a good question, son." and the camera pans up to a shot of a cross.

This is Caleb's conversion moment. I can relate so well. Having walked away from God so many years ago, only really back in His arms less than two years, I was deeply moved by this scene. And I was challenged: this is what it means to love another... not from a selfish need for something in return, but to love as Christ loved... wholly, incarnationally, selflessly, unto death.

This movie really spoke to DH and me. We've been married for 8 years. Long enough that we've gone through some ups and downs. We've had times when our desire for each other has waned, and times when the passion has flared. We've gotten too caught up in the grind and lost touch with each other. We've seen the tides of marriage, and we know the work and the commitment involved in this covenant. Just last month, we were in a rough patch. DH was enamored with the political circus, and I was always running, running, running, busy with our fall schedule. We stopped making time together a priority, and ended up both feeling estranged from each other. Marriage is a commitment. It requires time, effort, energy, and selflessness.

On our way home from the movie, we were talking about the scenes that touched us, the parts we could relate to. DH made a comment about our marriage being a Sacrament, being specifically blessed by God. At that moment, I felt this intense desire to pray with my husband. I suggested that we stop off at the Perpetual Adoration Chapel before going home. We did. It was the first time we've gone there together. As I knelt before the Blessed Sacrament, I had only one prayer in my heart: "Thank you."

We sat up talking in front of the fire for a long while that evening. And the next day, as we spent our day together, reconnecting and falling deeper in love once again, we kept bringing up scenes and words from the movie. We agreed to buy the DVD as soon as it comes out, and to pick a date twice a year to watch the movie together... no matter what.

Every married couple needs to see this movie. It is Christian. There are no attempts made to hide it. This movie states several times that "marriage is meant to be forever" and that "God makes marriages." I really loved that it was completely non-denominational. Caleb did not ever "join" a church or commit to any particular branch of Christianity. That wasn't the focus of this movie. But his faith and his developing relationship with Jesus Christ did impact his marriage, his person. The deeper he grew in his faith, the more committed he grew in his marriage. In the scene where he apologizes to his wife and asks for her forgiveness, DH and I both went through more than a few tissues.

The movie has a website, and on the website, there are resources specifically for Catholics. I have not yet had much time to explore these, but I plan to. And I plan to discuss this movie with my Pastor, and see where and how we can make this available to the couples in my parish.

I said it before. We need more movies like this one. We need more movies that are adamantly pro-marriage, pro-family. We need movies that build us up and bring us together. Enough with the crap that tears us apart and pits us against each other. We need more movies like this one.


  1. I have come across this by way of Catholic Carnival. My dh and I had a date weekend a few weeks back. Our two boys stayed with his parents. We went to dinner and then saw this movie. I liked it for all the reasons you mentioned and it encouraged me to know that my husband was touched by it as well (I saw him tear up a couple of times - very rare). Anyway it was a great way to begin a reconnecting weekend. The only complaint we had was that some of the acting reminded us of a high school play. But the message of the movie and the content was bigger than that.

  2. Jennifer,

    I forgot to mention that. You are right. The acting left a lot to be desired. I think Kirk Cameron was the only "professional" actor in the cast. But the message was so strong, we were able to overlook the high school quality acting.

    Glad to hear you and your husband enjoyed it too!