Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why Nicholas Sparks Books Aren't Reality (I KNOW, OH MY GOSH) - PART 1

Okay so the title was VERY hard for me to even write. I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea - I LOVE Nicholas Sparks books and movies. I feel terrible even writing this, but everything has a purpose, including this heinous-titled post.
A good friend told me a while back that I have the "Cinderella Complex." That basically means I live in a fairy-tale world where I think that all relationships are rainbows and unicorns and Nicholas Sparks-esque. I took it hard at first, but the more I've grown over the past year, the more I've seen that that's true. YES, I do still believe in fairy-tale romance, but there IS a reality to every relationship.
The book Boundaries in Dating has really helped me to see that harsh reality isn't as bad as I thought, amongst MANY other things (so expect lots of posts about this literary gem).
So I was reading today and after reading this one chapter, I made a crazy connection in my head that scared me to death - this chapter proved Nicholas Sparks novels to be faulty in a sense. That thought seemed blasphemous to me, but after thinking on it, I decided something.
Nicholas Sparks books and movies are great for what they are - entertainment. I'm sure that Nick Sparks would say that his books are meant to be fictional in many ways.
Anyway, this chapter was called "Don't Get Kidnapped" and it opened with a story about a very well-rounded woman with a ton of great friends who had suffered a broken engagement and was on the mend and met a guy that she really fell for, and soon she was hanging out with that guy 24/7 and had totally forgotten about her friends. The guy was controlling and judgmental in the most subtle way, and the woman couldn't see it. He eventually let his true colors come out, and thankfully her friends were still there for her when she went back to them, and they helped her get up the courage to dump the guy.
The chapter is about not getting so blinded by being in love and so caught up with the person you're dating that you ditch your friends and family. The reason why there's a discrepancy between this important aspect of dating and Nicholas Sparks works is because in his books and movies, the main characters don't have a support group of friends and family that can provide outside objective views, feedback, and support. The main characters are often loners who meet each other and fall madly in love and spend every waking hour together right off bat. Boundaries says to do it differently.
"Being in love... is the inability to see reality. {We} omit large chunks of reality about the person {we are} in love with. This is why staying connected to a group of friends who know you well is so important. Your friends and often family can see things about your new love that you will not be able to see. And you should trust them...they will not be looking through the eyes of idealization and need and will see the person more clearly."
"Also, they know you, and they know what is important to you. They can see if you are becoming a more well-rounded, complete you with this person, or if you are becoming someone other than yourself. They know who you are and will be able to see if you are growing into more of who God created you to be."
The chapter goes on to talk about how the woman in the example lost parts of herself while dating the guy because she gave up her activities and interests to participate in what he wanted to do all the time.
"If she had been involved with her friends all along, she would not have lost these parts of herself." (182)
It talks about how sometimes relationships can change a person for the worse, but that person can't see it - only his or her friends can see it because they are on the outside looking in. The two people in the relationship can't see it because they are so caught up.
"Relationships have that kind of power when someone does not have good boundaries. It is up to friends to help give you feedback if it is happening. ...'Wounds from a friend can be trusted' (Proverbs 27:6). Sometimes we need to hear what our friends have to say about things that we cannot see."
"Safe Dating"
"Remember, one aspect of safe dating is to remain connected to your friends and support system. A wolf attacks the lone sheep that has gotten away from the pack. Make sure that you are not vulnerable to what you cannot see, but with the help of other people, would otherwise be able to see very clearly. Stay connected, stay safe, and stay wise."
*Don't even attempt to get serious in a dating relationship until you are connected to a good support system and friends who know you.
*Stay involved with your friends and community as an individual, just like you were before you were dating this person.
*Include the person you are dating in your circle of friends.
*Be open and honest with your friends about what is going on in the relationship.
*Be spiritually accountable to your friends and stay involved in the spiritual community that is responsible for your spiritual growth.
*Be open to their feedback, even if it is difficult to hear.
*Stay involved with your individual activities and time apart. Even if you begin to share the things you love, make sure you have alone time and outside interests.
*Keep dating others until you are SURE you want to commit to this one person. Don't get swept out of the pack too early.
IN THE NICHOLAS SPARKS books, the characters do not have these kinds of support systems. Yes, they're just books and movies but that's one more reason not to idealize these works as real-life relationship models. 
ALSO, I keep seeing these quotes on Instagram about not telling people your relationship business. But honestly, it's like the book says. We NEED good friends that can give us their advice and input. That doesn't mean tell EVERYONE your relationship business - just your little support group. You can't do it alone!
I can for SURE say that I have had the BEST support group of friends and family that have helped me sooooo much throughout the years. I don't know what I'd do without them - if I was a Nicholas Sparks character, I wouldn't have them!!
They've helped me sort through things and deal with breakups and constantly reminded me that everything will be okay.
They've spend hours listening to me and texting with me and praying for me.
Of course, we have to rely on God and prayer first. But He DID give us friends and family as support for a reason - to utilize!
Don't know if this made sense because I've had a lot of coffee and I'm trying to catch up on a bunch of stuff, but this is just some stuff I read/thought about today and I wanted to share!
Much more soonnnn.

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