Relationships are hard.
Now, I don’t know a whole lot about life or love, but I know that. I’ve been with my girlfriend for almost 5 years now, and we’ve found a way to make things work even when they aren’t easy. That’s not me saying that our love is stronger or better or more pure or more right. That’s me saying that we try and that we care. If the TV show Scrubs has taught me anything (and it’s taught me a lot, mostly about how I wish I had a black best friend to tell me when I was acting like a nerd), it’s that we aren’t special. People in relationships (especially when they’re at that beautiful, ignorant beginning stage), tend to believe that they’re going to have an easier time than other people, that they aren’t going to fight about the same things as other couples, that they’re going to be blissfully in love until the day that they die, and that they’re going to screw like bunnies until even a handful of pills can’t get the juices flowing. Well, they’re idiots. They’re going to fight just like the rest of us; they’re going to cry, they’re going to get their hearts broken, and they’re going to break hearts themselves. That’s life and that’s love. And that’s This is 40.
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann fight and make up, fight and make up, fight, wait for a bit, fight some more, and then finally make up. And after the credits roll, chances are, they’ll be fighting again. People in movies are selfish, proud, and more often than not, act without thinking. Guess what? Art imitates life. I saw so much of myself in Paul Rudd’s character that it honestly scared me for a bit. I didn’t want to end up resenting my father for failing me somehow, or resenting my wife for not supporting my business, or resenting my children for not appreciating all of the sacrifices I’ve made for them. I wanted to have a great relationship with my father, my wife, and my kids. But that’s hard. It’d be nice if all of that stuff came easy. It’d be nice if my wife just supported me no matter what and never said no to any of my decisions. It’d be nice if my kids followed all of my rules obediently and never fought against my authority. But that would make for a boring movie, and more importantly, a boring life.
This is 40 is what I want my marriage to be. I want it to be full of messiness, and stress, and fights, and tears, and tough decisions. But I also want it to be full of laughter, and joy, and hope, and triumphs, and all those things tend to go together. Because that’s life and that’s love. And that’s This is 40.