An Officer and a Gentleman
We came to the end of yet another dissatisfying season of The Bachelor last night. It is especially instructive when my three girls are at home. I can see from the cheering section, what they like and what they want to happen. I had fairly high hopes that this bachelor was solid, in for the right reasons and prepared to make an honest woman out of somebody. But… he had misgivings. What might have been a proposal became “let’s date and see where this all goes”. The show tried to paint this as a triumph, and a horse drawn carriage showed up to haul them away to happily ever after… which didn’t last long.
This show is the stuff of fairy tales - the engagement ring, beautiful gowns, exotic dates and all the trappings pay tribute to something bigger than the sum of its parts. What fans really want, is the get-down-on-one-knee proposal where love carries the day and conquers all odds. This particular bachelor backed out, thinking over his own divorced parents, and wondering if he could be the man his father was not. It was disheartening. The dream took a beating. Love is supposed to be as perennial as the grass, or so we are told.
It makes me think about the marriage ceremony. If you have been married you have heard a version of these words.
Dearly beloved: we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony. Marriage is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocence, signifying the mystical union between Christ and his Church... It is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God.
There’s a short required answer at the end of all this - I DO. Spoken in the presence of witnesses, you roll the dice and state your intentions. It’s always a gamble. It’s also kind of a romantic idea.
Love is really quite old fashioned. You just have to watch it in motion to see . All three of my daughters have boyfriends. The youngest is home for the weekend and her boyfriend showed up with flowers. I don’t think there is any girl who does not like to receive flowers. Her sisters ooh’ed and aah’ed over them. Her mother smiled a nod of approval. The guy was making an effort to woo. I hope that in the end, my girls will all get the guy with the ring who gets down on one knee. The big love that triumphs and wins all.
You can see it in the movies, the age old chick flick. They have the kind of plot that retreads the basics. An Officer and a Gentleman is an iconic one. The movie is about love, but not really. It is the challenge of becoming a man. The big question throughout the movie, whether he is going to BE the standup guy with honourable intentions. Most of the guys in the naval academy play around and move on. The girls are used to being left in the dust. That’s why when Richard Gere shows up in uniform, sweeps Debrah Winger into his arms and carries her off, you have to smile. Everyone in the factory stops working and claps. It’s the fairly tale come to life, a version of the same thing my girls are waiting for when they watch The Bachelor, the moment the frog mans up and becomes a prince.
Manning up never gets old. Neither does faith hope, and love, just like saint Paul said.
That happily ever after you are seeking, happens some twenty or thirty years down the road when you look at your grown children and see their mother in their eyes. That’s right, we get to be the happily ever after. And for the men, imagine that you get to BE the officer and the gentleman, all for the price of a few good intentions and the humble words I DO. It might even be better than the movie.
Real love is rare because at it's essence it is unselfish. I don't know if you ever read "The Road Less Travelled" by Scott Peck. He was an American Christian psychiatrist and this book was on the NYT best sellers list for 11 years which is still a record. There is a whole chapter on what love is and isn't and he explains that the Romantic love that is so popular with women in TV and movies is a physiological phenomenon that causes a form of temporary insanity or emotional rush that is never lasting
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