The 50 First Dates Challenge
I love a good romantic movie. The kind that leaves you a sappy, soppy, mascara-streaked, hiccuping mess of emotions. The top movie that always leaves me crying – always – is 50 First Dates. And I’m pretty sure it’s screwed up my vision of romance forever.
Fall in Love EVERY DAY??
I admit it – 50 First Dates is my go-to movie when I’m happy, when I’m in love, when I’m sad, when I just AM. A rom-com for sure but the overarching love story is one for the ages.
How many of us have asked our significant others, “What would you do if…[bad thing]…happened to me?” If I went blind? If I couldn’t talk? If I lost a limb? If I lost my memory and didn’t remember you? And in this movie Henry Roth [Adam Sandler] proves to be the ultimate romantic hero.
[Spoilers below…skip this section if you haven’t seen the movie yet…]
Lucy [Drew Barrymore] has severe head trauma removing her short-term memory. She doesn’t retain anything from a day-to-day basis and she’s essentially reliving the day before her car accident over and over again. Her dad and brother (also pretty good, albeit strange, men) remake the same day, every day. FOR YEARS.
At first, Henry understands what her family is doing but he immediately tries to change it. Why relive the same day over and over? Why not let her in on the situation, deal with it, and move forward. And he does just that. Eventually Lucy keeps a book she reads everyday to explain the accident, her situation and what’s happened since then. Henry, by movie’s end, makes her regular videos to watch to speed up the process.
Can you imagine – waking up, watching a movie and finding out you’ve lost your memory, you’re married…and you have a child? She always seems to accept it pretty quickly, a characteristic hard to find in the real world; in real life, I’m sure she would have long days of disbelief and days where she has raging denial. But, regardless, every day Henry reassures her, charms her, woos her and makes her fall in love with him again. EVERY. DAMN. DAY!
In Real Life? Not gonna happen!
Real life is more like this exchange from the movie:
Stacy: So every day you help her to realize what happened and you wait patiently for her to be okay with it… then you get her to fall in love with you again?
Henry: Yes, ma’am.
Stacy: [softly, almost beneath her breath] Gosh! [a longing sigh, then back slaps her husband’s chest right over his heart]
Stacy: You asshole! You don’t even open the fricking car door for me anymore.
Yep…that’s more like it. After awhile, people stop trying. They stop thinking they need to say the words that made someone fall in love with them in the first place. They think it should just be known. They stop doing the little things that makes someone fall in love with another. There’s work and kids and life outside the couple that “get in the way”.
Maybe, just maybe, if there was serious trauma like in this movie, a person would step up like Henry does. For awhile. But for life? I don’t see it. And without the trauma? Just on a day-to-day basis because they are so much in love they want to be sure their partner always knows it and remembers why they fell in love in the first place? Nope. Ain’t gonna happen.
I’m such a deep unfailing romantic. Full of crazy passionate ideals. And I want to live this passionately, this committed, every day of my life. The men I’ve loved don’t always understand that about me and honestly I think the thought overwhelms and confuses them. But…it’s who I am and I’m okay with it.
When I love someone I love them with every fiber of my being. I tell them every day, without fail. I hope that I do things that make them remember why I’m so amazing they had to love me in the first place. I can’t go a day without telling them they are loved and that they are special to me. Even if I’m upset with them, confused by them, stressed beyond thought or scared to death – I tell them. And I do whatever I can to make sure they believe it.
And, yes, I fully expect someone who loves me to do the SAME. DAMN. THINGS. No, they should NOT do it because I expect it. It should be done because they love me that much, to the same passionate extent I love them, that they have no choice but to do it. They HAVE to tell me for their own sanity and because they don’t ever want it doubted or forgotten. They do the little things they know I like or that have a sense of history between us. They simply never stop trying to win me even though they have me.
Love shouldn’t be a burden. It shouldn’t require nagging messages that something hasn’t been done in a while. It shouldn’t require a traumatic event to remind us why we fell in love or to keep love going. If we truly, unconditionally and completely love someone – adore, respect, need, want, desire them – telling them every day should be as natural as breathing. At least…that’s how I see it.
Is that really even possible?
Probable? Probably not. Life takes its toll. We forget. We get into a rut.
Realistic? Nope. But it’s damn romantic to consider, isn’t it?
Wouldn’t you love your significant other – the love of your life – to tell you EVERY DAY how unbelievably amazing you are? And remind you all over again why you are with them? Wouldn’t you love to give that same sense of completeness, of respect and admiration, of true love to the man/woman of your dreams? Wouldn’t you love it if they never had a reason to doubt your love and commitment?
Maybe it’s an old-fashioned concept – to be in love and unafraid. To put your heart on the line, to give without expecting return, to truly accept someone 100% AS IS. And to let them know that they are loved. Maybe it’s naive and simple-minded to think we can show that same commitment day after day, year after year. Maybe it’s the type of love from a bygone era – a world of black and white movies, of dancing in the rain, a time of sassy woman and bold brash men. Maybe it is. And if so, then I want to love the old fashioned way.
My 50 First Dates Challenge…to you.
Although widely believed to take 21 days to form a new habit, it really takes anywhere from 2 to 8 months for a habit to be ingrained [reference]. Going off the movie title, let’s go with 50 days. That’s more than twice as long as conventional beliefs but slightly less than 2 months.
In the next 50 days, I challenge you to do what Henry did. Make your significant other remember why they fell in love with you. Tell them every day that you love them and what makes them special to you. Do something you remember they like. Do something they usually nag you to complete – this time without the nagging. Surprise them with a flower or a trinket that reminds them of your past together. Woo them all over again.
I’m not talking 50 days of grand gestures, flowery sonnets or spending money most of us don’t have. I’m talking about 50 days of love. Of simple, unmitigated, unrestrained love. Take 50 days to remind someone you’re an amazing person just by being authentically and fully you and telling them every day that they are loved…and loved deeply. And if it works…do it the next 50 days. And the next 50 days…and so on. Repeat the 50 days 8 times and you’ll have done it more than a full year. Now…don’t stop. Do it another year. And another. Keep going. And keep loving.
And remember…nothing beats a first kiss…no matter how many times you’ve kissed. 🙂