Have you seen the movie “The Dilemma” yet? In that movie, Ronny (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Kevin James) are best friends. Nick is married to Geneva (Winona Ryder) and for the most part Ronny loves her and thinks Nick is a lucky man and they are a happy couple. He’s thinking about asking his girlfriend, Beth (Jennifer Connelly) to marry him, but they have a BIG deal coming up with Chrysler to make electric cars sound and feel like muscles cars again…and he wants to wait until the big deal is signed. Then, by literally freak accident one day he sees Geneva out spending the day with another man–kissing him! And hence the name of the movie: should he tell his friend he knows–tell Geneva he saw her–what should he do?
As a general rule I love Vince Vaughn movies because he portrays marriage in a positive way and supports FAITHFULNESS rather than glamorizing adultery. This movie is no exception. But there was one scene in this film that really stood out in my mind as a perfect example of how affairs start. In the movie, Ronny just found out Geneva was cheating and decided he wanted to be sure he wasn’t just seeing things–sort of “Gather Evidence” and be sure it really was what he thought he saw. So he follows her. She goes to the Other Man’s (OM’s) house and there’s Ronny, across from them taking pictures of them talking, laughing, drinking wine, undressing, and making love. He got it all ON FILM, and he got so mad that once she left, he walked up to the OM’s door and BANGED on the door and they got in a huge, hilarious fight (let’s just say that no innocent fish were killed in the filming of this movie). Anyway, he really gave it to the OM, and the OM really dished it back to him…but one thing about that scene really bothered me.
WHERE WAS HER HUSBAND?
Why wasn’t HE the one caring enough about his wife to wonder where she was? Why wasn’t he with her? Why wasn’t he wondering, “Hey where is she?” Why did his best friend care about her whereabouts and her own husband didn’t?
In the movie, eventually the affair is brought to light and with the evidence out there for everyone to see…she confesses. But they never really do go into whether or not they recover or even try to save their marriage–the movie ends once Nick knows, they get their big Chrysler deal, and Ronny asks Beth to marry him. We do get to have a great scene between Ronny and Beth where he keeps secrets from her and she completely assumes the wrong thing and it harms their relationship…and she keeps secrets from him and it harms their relationship…so the movie is really clear about the way that hiding things and keeping secrets (even little ones) can be like the tip of a wedge that slowly drives a couple apart.
But I want to discuss that one scene–the “where is her husband” scene. I want to discuss this scene because it so eloquently demonstrates exactly how an affair starts in a marriage. She had “her life” where she spoke with and spent time with people other than her husband…and he had “his life” where he spoke with and spent time with people other than his wife. I have no doubts whatsoever than when they started off as a couple, they had PLENTY of time together, but gradually as time wore on…she spent more time on her own life (separate from Nick) and he spent more time on his own life (separate from Geneva). I also have no doubt that at some point she noticed it and missed him–and likewise he missed her! They may have even tried to talk to each other and fought about it. I bet she tried to say something like, “Honey you spend so much time working I never get to see you” and he said “Well how else do you think we pay for everything you spend?” I bet she felt neglected and he felt criticized, and eventually when she’d bring it up he would ignore her or worse avoid it and sleep on the couch.
Marriage is a commitment. We marry each other voluntarily, and at that time we promise to forsake all others for our spouse–and that means that we freely offer ourselves AND OUR TIME. Marriage means that given the option between a ladies’ prayer meeting (a very nice choice) or a night with our spouse–we will willingly and happily enjoy time with our spouse to meet their needs. When a husband is spending time with his wife meeting her needs, she WANTS to be with him and he looks forward to time with her. When a wife is spending time with her husband giving of herself to meet his needs, likewise she WANTS to be with him and enjoys it, and she looks forward to being with him. And then..if they were to suddenly “not be there” or be spending time with another person.. then THEY would be the one who’s wondering “Where is he/she? Why aren’t they with me?” and they would care enough to look for them and see where they are.
It may seem like a small thing, but spending time together can be the glue that holds your marriage together or you can spend time apart and it will be the tip of the wedge that drives you apart.