Saturday, February 4, 2017

Is romance a myth? Thoughts on Trapped in the Magic Mirror by Deborah Dunn

Trapped in the Magic Mirror: Shattering Illusions about Romance and Marriage by Deborah B. Dunn, published by Life Journey ©2006 (from my mother's library)

I've been reading about love, relationships, and singleness lately. I'm at the age where people expect you to be in a relationship, and sometimes I have no clue how to answer people who ask. For as long as I can remember I'm pretty much content and happy being single, and I can't see myself in a relationship. The only time I feel sad about singleness is when advertising and stories rub on my face that I need a guy to be happy! When that is not the truth, the only thing that will complete us humans is not another person but Christ alone.

I am lucky to know great single people in my life, and I am also lucky to know couples in good marriages. Though I know my parents' marriage isn't perfect, the negative side of it also affected how I view relationships. I have also seen my friends in relationships that lead to nothing but tears. I've seen relatives get pregnant only to be left by their boyfriends. Romantic relationships could give us the chance to be happy in being the most important person in someone's life, but it has also the greatest potential to be so destructive. No wonder I cringe every time I hear those sleazy radio shows who seem to talk about nothing else but sex and love lives. Can't we all find something smarter to talk about? I don't really get the point.

Only time will tell, but I only pray to God that if its His will for me to be single or married, I hope to just be contented the way I am! Singleness or marriage does not guarantee a happy and fulfilled life. I believe that if we aren't contented with our lives just as we are, no marriage or relationship will satisfy us.

One thing I've always wondered about, though, is the notion that we need romantic relationships to be happy and fulfilled. Fairy tales and childrens' stories we watched growing up like Cinderella, Snow White, the Little Mermaid, always has a Prince who will love the Princess. One underlying message is that for 'Happily ever after' to happen, one must find the Prince first. I'm happy to see that modern fairy tales in Disney movies like Frozen and Brave question this notion.

Though in my own experience, friends always joke about finding or waiting for 'Mr. Right'. I sometimes think that Mr. Right is a fictional, mythical persona!

In this book, the author herself fancied that marriage and finding her happy ending is a myth, and if we chase after these idealized notions, we will only be disappointed. And this book suggests that all these false romantic notions are a kind of fairy-tale magic mirror of illusions. There is nothing wrong with love, but when it turns into an obsession, that's where things get dangerous.

One point of the book, too, is the real pointlessness of 'big events' like proms, marriages, etc. And we have all been brainwashed to believe that marriage is the One Big Important Event in women's lives.
Big events are those special occasions by which we women mark our lives. These huge, dramatically staged occassions allow us to be the center of attention and attain perfection, if only for a brief moment in time. They usually involve months of planning, lots of daydreaming, and certainly spending tons of money. But for what?
I guess sometimes we focus on that one Big Event and neglect the grind of daily life. But the point is, these big events will not make us happy!
There is going to be a huge wedding feast when Christ returns. If you want a fulfilled life, that's the only Big Event you really need to plan for. 
Because of these false notions of love, many women tend to believe that they have to strive for physical perfection, put down other women, and feel good when others feel jealous of us. Instead of putting each other down, women should build each other up.

This is a good book to read for women, for us to realize that we are trying to find a perfect happiness will only lead to not finding it. In trying to be perfect, one will only disappoint herself.

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