Relationship 101: Tips from the Runaway Bride

I find myself watching The Runaway Bride again tonight. The first time I ever saw this movie, I was living in San Antonio and rented it from the library at the university where I worked. I watched it four times over the course of that weekend. Not only did I like the on-screen chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, I also liked the message that came through loud and clear from the film: Be true and honest with yourself and who you are and the rest will work itself out.

The tips to a successful relationship that seem to come out of this movie are the following:

  • If you run from something, you’re likely only running from yourself. You won’t get far until you stop and do the work.
    • Never underestimate the importance of getting to know yourself, even as detailed as what kind of eggs you like (versus just ordering what someone else does)
    • Be honest with that person you discover that you are
    • You can fool some people by becoming a chameleon, but in the end, you’re just doing yourself an injustice
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable in your honesty with someone you love. It’s uncomfortable, yet the riches you harvest are unbeatable.
  • Sometimes, you “just know” when you’ve found someone compatible, yet it won’t work if he/she doesn’t know him/herself yet.

And related to a theme here,

  • A perfect proposal* seems to be an honest one.

So far, the best proposal I’ve heard is from Runaway Bride and is at both the beginning (as a hypothetical) and the end (as a tribute to said hypothetical, but for real):

Look, I guarantee there’ll be tough times. I guarantee that at some point one, or both, of us is gonna wanna get out of this thing. But I also guarantee that if I don’t ask you to be mine, I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. Because I know, in my heart, you’re the only one for me.

Sure makes sense to me.

And these themes are why I continue to watch this film. I’ve easily seen it over 20 times since the first time in 2003. And I’ve taken heed to its advice and gotten to know myself well enough to be who I am, not who I think someone wants/needs me to be, in a relationship. (I’ve even learned that despite only eating scrambled eggs with ketchup growing up, I don’t like them much at all. I love my eggs over medium with salt and pepper.) I’ve also learned some of the other lessons first-hand and they seem to ring true. I’m still working on the last one; there’s still hope.

* A proposal doesn’t have to be for a wedding/marriage. It can be a request for “forever” with someone. Commitment doesn’t have to be sanctioned by the government.

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