If you had the opportunity to see 'Silver Linings Playbook' recently, you may have found it was not the most traditionally entertaining movie. Much headache producing shouting between the main character Pat (Bradley Cooper) and his parents was enough to make me want to leave early.
The family drama that seemed to go from bad (Pat talks his mother into giving his friend a ride when she picks him up from the hospital, only to find out he was not discharged) to worse (Pat goes into several manic attacks, one particularly disturbing episode occurs when he can’t find his wedding video). Eventually, Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and a relationship eventually develops. In the end, the viewer sees Pat realize he loves Tiffany and not his ex-wife, with scenes of supposedly happy-ever-after.
While the movie is clear about the lack of emotional stability of Pat and Tiffany, their relationship experience demonstrates several traps that are easy to fall into in love, especially if one does not have a growing, active faith life.
- Idol worship. Anyone or anything that dominates your thoughts such as the main character’s single-minded pursuit of getting his ex-wife back becomes an idol. This type of thinking crowds out faith in God, which should be the most important relationship in every person’s life. By developing one’s faith, all other relationships benefit from that intimacy. If you have experienced a broken heart, a relationship break up that you did not anticipate or did not want, you know just how easy it is to have your thoughts flooded with nothing else but reconciliation. A key to true fulfillment is not pushing open closed doors, but learning from those life events and making wiser choices in the future.
- Relying primarily on positive affirmations. Pat had a mantra: “You have to do everything you can. You have to work your hardest. If you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining.” Learning from past choices and not allowing those experiences define who you are is a step towards healing. However, lasting healing comes from the combination of mental awareness of why you made particular choices and proactively moving in a different direction with developing your faith. True acceptance does not come from another person, positive affirmations or even getting what you think you desire, but from your relationship with the Lord.
- Acceptance driven. Like Pat and Tiffany, many couples look for total acceptance of who they are to fill a void of past rejection by others. Many people place the foundation of their life on a romantic relationship to keep themselves afloat emotionally. Eventually, a break in that ideal occurs and mutual trust becomes an issue. Looking to another person for self-confidence, acceptance and a sense of belonging in the world is asking for a let down. Faith is the answer to lasting acceptance that will not crumble when emotional triggers are set off.
Building a solid life foundation on belief in the Lord will lead to the fulfillment of emotional voids that seem to drive one for that answer. No person, career success, monetary gain or life event will ever match the true peace that surpasses all understanding in the love that God has for you.