My husband Paul and I have been happily married for almost 10 years. We both know that we have something special together, which is why I'm writing to you today.
Victoria, it seems like everything we see on TV only depicts married couples as having a lot of issues. It doesn't matter if it's a reality show, drama, sitcom, soap opera, or other daytime program. Just about everyone on these shows has major problems with their husband or wife. It's all about infidelity, bickering, suspicion, arguments, stealing money, abuse and so on. Paul and I get really upset because this way of presenting marriage is so common that viewers, especially teenagers and young adults, are now thinking this is the norm for relationships. It has become a hot button for us. We feel that whole generations of people out there are being influenced so much by what they see on TV, that they begin to slip into patterns of behaving like that themselves.
My husband and I have often mentioned over the years how we wished that television and movies would show marriage in a more positive light. Last weekend, we sat down and talked about it in earnest. We decided that it's important to us to actually attempt something that might make a difference from the tremendous, one-sided output coming from the media. All the insidious, negative ways that couples are portrayed, such as cheating on each other, being jealous, or hostile also hurt these viewers' children. They, too, learn this type of behavior, sort of by osmosis, both from programs they watch on TV and by how their parents behave. We want to share what we feel is working well for us, and be positive influences to as many people as possible, showing how loyal, loving relationships can work.
Since you have a lot of people who pay attention to you, I thought maybe you would give us some advice on what we might be able to do, and how to get started. Or do you think we would be wasting our time, that it would be a futile battle to go up against the media, and that we should drop the idea?
Thank you very much for your time.
When I read your question I thought it would be a perfect one to respond to for Valentine's Day. After all, Valentine's Day is all about--loving relationships!
I agree with you, the media blows all out of proportion many negative aspects of relationships. In addition to the movies and TV you bring up, I'm adding another large sphere of influence, tabloid magazines: one of the key focuses of these, is to present celebrity relationships in unattractive ways.
The world needs more people like you, endeavoring to counteract negativity--of any sort. I believe that everything makes a difference--one way or the other. Along the same lines, I believe that any kind of energy expands, whether it's positive or negative. (Thus, whatever you do will make at least some difference; it's definitely worth your trying!) Over and above those beliefs, I absolutely KNOW that there is some kind of 'Divine accounting' of everything each of us does. So, even if you think your attempts are insignificant--this is not the case' by the intention you and Paul have to help people create more harmonious relationships you have already joined, and will be enhancing a shift already in progress, occurring in that direction. Whether it becomes apparent to you in the near term, or not, you are already in the process of making a difference.
On to specifics re your quest to share with others what works in your marriage. The reason you're so driven to do this is--because you're meant to! By the way, keep this in mind for the future: what you're most passionate about is what you are meant to be doing' Another way of saying this is that by working together to assist others in improving their primary relationships, you both will be fulfilling your life's purpose. And, the good news is that we, down here on earth, receive an enormous amount of 'celestial' support to help us succeed in whatever it is we're meant to do, be and achieve. So, you and Paul will find it relatively easy to begin, and to make progress quickly in what can be called your destiny.
It's easy for me to see your strong religious convictions. Begin by consulting your Pastor about initiating a small, weekly group of parishioners. Decide that who ever shows up is meant to be there, even if it's only one or two to start with. Don't feel overwhelmed; you only need initially to have a general overview of what you want to address, plus some general concepts on how to achieve it; aim for a six-week series. You only need to prepare one week at a time. You'll want to have a variety of approaches: from why you are so passionate about having the class, to listening to their relationship woes, to what has worked for you, plus some exercises. These you can, initially at least, find from existing books on relationships.
Eventually, these small groups will lead to seminars, books of your own and even appearances on--television! Part of your joint purpose is to actually be seen on the medium you are currently so frustrated about. I see that happening, by the way, in four to five years, to give you some perspective.
Devour every book you can get your hands on. Include those on co-dependency, infidelity, divorce, blended families, spiritual partnering and sexuality, to name only several. Take notes from these, go to seminars given by those authors that you relate to most, and ask for feedback from your attendees. Decide that there is no upper limit to where you can take this, nor how good you can be. You are meant to succeed, and I feel strongly that you will.
What you are doing together is on a very fundamental level, called your soul level, is making up to yourselves for many lives when you were unable to marry (such as Romeo and Juliet, due to one of you being in the 'wrong' society, religion, color, etc.); or were taken away from each other (one life I can see was in Africa, where Paul was dragged away from your home to became a slave). Or died of decease, once being the plague, before you could experience much of a relationship.
Don't worry about 'going up against the media.' You'll take care of that when the time is right, and will make television 'your friend!'
Good luck. You're on your way!