Most romance movies tend to portray love as something that is easy and quick. They teach us that the most important things in a relationship are the level of attraction and the superficial knowledge that is gained about a person. When I was younger, this is what I thought love was. However, as I grew older I began to understand that I would never find the “Perfect Prince” I had always dreamed of. It all started when I saw the 2005 version of the movie #PrideAndPrejudice. This movie helped me understand three of the most important things about love: Overlooking imperfection, commitment and patience
3. Overlooking Imperfections
It is obvious that Mr. Darcy intrigues Elizabeth from the first time she met him. Her pride convinced us that she couldn’t stand him; that she would never marry him, not for his looks and not for his money. As the movie progressed however, she learned to see him in a different light — she learned that he was not the stuck-up snob that he once seemed to be.
Mr. Darcy, on the other hand, was fighting against his prior belief of what kind of woman he wanted to marry; of who the “accomplished woman” was. He grew up with an idea of what kind of person would be acceptable for him: someone as wealthy, refined and intelligent as he was. When he proposed to Elizabeth the first time, he gave her a list of all the reasons he was fighting against that love: Against his better judgement, family expectations and even his birth by rank. He confessed that he was willing to let all that go, and said that he loved her, “most ardently.”
Just as Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth had to change their prior beliefs of who they would marry, so must we. Many expect perfection when it comes to love. They have an idea of the perfect person for them, and tend to ignore all that do not fit their specific “type.”
"I love you, most ardently"
Although we do not necessarily know what happened with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy after marriage, we do know that they intended on committing to one another. We know this because of the steps that they took to make the relationship work. That day that Mr. Darcy proposed to Elizabeth for the first time, she denied his proposal. She did so because she understood that he was the reason for Jane and Mr. Bingley’s ruined attempt at getting married. She believed that Mr. Darcy had greedily denied Mr. Wickham of his inheritance, and she was drowning in the lies and assumptions that consumed her. That being said, she was not greedy with love. She knew that when she married someone, she had to love him, and she had to be committed to that love, regardless of financial appeal.
In this day and age, we can get most of the things we want instantaneously. We have fast food, Amazon and the internet in the palm of our hands. Our society has become impatient as a whole. We expect things to come right to us without much work, and we expect them to come quickly. I believe that our society has the same idea when it comes to love. Love is sometimes mistaken for something that should be easy, when in reality it is like nurturing a plant: planting the seed, watering and helping it to grow. You cannot force a plant to grow any faster than it is supposed to. It takes time and care in order for it to grow up healthy. As such is love.
One of the most symbolic scenes in the movie is just after Elizabeth finds out that her best friend has become engaged to Mr. Collins. Elizabeth is disturbed by the fact that her friend would enter into an engagement that was so “ridiculous,” as she put it. Elizabeth is sitting on a swing and spinning around it. As she spins we look in from her perspective and see the seasons change. We hear the classical music being played and see the weather change from sunny skies, to dark and rainy days, followed by snow and then back to sun again. This scene is very moving because we see that all of these events did not just happen overnight — Elizabeth was patient in her endeavors and did not want to give up.
In another scene, Jane received a letter from Mr. Bingley explaining that he was leaving town to go to London. While reading the letter that contained the news of his departure, Jane became distraught and upset. The moment Elizabeth heard the news that he was gone, she helped Jane pack her bags and told her, “He loves you, Jane. Do not give up.”
It is clear in this moment that the movie is not trying to convince us to marry the first person who comes into our lives; it is trying to convince us that we must be patient and understand that sometimes love is a fight.
Sometimes in life we are taught that there is no such thing as a happily ever after. I suppose that depends on what your definition of happily ever after is. Some define it as the end of the movie when the hero and the heroine come together and have true love’s kiss. Others may define it as the day they are married or have children.
I, however, believe that a happily ever after is only achieved through constant nourishment of love. It must be obtained day by day. No matter where we are in life — searching for love, rebuilding a relationship or recovering from one — we can learn from the lessons taught in Pride and Prejudice and hope that each person can someday find their happily ever after.
What is your happily ever after?