The Thing I Like About …

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason: the part where she’s explaining why she’s angry at Mark Darcy.

Bridget has found herself in a Thai prison. All the other women in the over-crowded jail cell are telling her about their boyfriends – the men who beat them up, got them addicted to drugs, forced them into prostitution and other crimes, and treated them like expendable property. And Bridget starts to tell them about her boyfriend (sort-of-ex-boyfriend now because of his heinous behaviour); she tells them how he doesn’t always listen to her, and that he ignored her at a party. She … tells them … how he doesn’t always listen to her … and … he ignored her once at a … party. She looks around at these women who have endured so much, and she realizes how stupid she’s been. So she stops what she was saying, and fibs, “And beating me and forcing me to take drugs and stuff.” And all the other women nod their heads in solidarity and accept her into their fold.

But of course Mark Darcy had only ever been wonderful to her, and now that she sees that, she can’t wait to get back to him – this person who had been so “horrible” a moment before that she could barely stand the sound of his name.

It’s not that people should put up with things; if two people are going to be in a relationship – any two people, in any kind of relationship – it requires give-and-take, adjustments, copious amounts of respect and kindness, and a true honouring of one another’s boundaries. It isn’t that people should put up with things. It’s that people don’t seem to have any perspective anymore.

We don’t think two people can find a way to compromise about housework, so we quarrel and fight and walk away from love. We don’t think we can meet halfway, because we don’t think others really value us that much, so we quarrel and fight and walk away from love. We feel horrible for people who end up in abusive relationships, but we know we’ll never be in one of those, because we’re taking a stand and drawing a line! … at what brand of peanut butter the other person eats, or what movies they like, or whether they need more alone-time than we do. And we walk away from love.

Thanks to Bridget, though, we don’t have to wind up in a Thai prison to figure out how stupid we’ve been. We can follow her example, and say our complaints out loud to the empty room, and if we find upon hearing them that they are ridiculous, we can laugh and change our minds. No one need be the wiser, and we can just make our way back to love.
Thanks, Bridge.

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