Whether you are dating someone or not, many people watch chick flicks on Valentine’s Day. I recently watched the movie Friends with Benefits—twice actually—as if the first go around wasn’t painful enough. Perhaps it was painful because it was an accurate reveal of our culture’s lack of understanding regarding love, relationships, and sexuality. It reflects how too many people go about relationships all the wrong way.
Analogous to many other chick flicks, Friends with Benefits will not teach you about true love, but about how to settle for a cheap counterfeit that disappoints.
In Friends with Benefits, the main character Jamie states that she desires true love and a faithfully, committed relationship. Doesn’t any normal woman? Sadly though, Jamie compromises her desire for true love by settling for a bogus imitation hook-up relationship with a man named Dylan. Ironically, she is convicted of this counterfeit by her pathetic 49-year-old mother, a sex craving hippie who is single and has done everything wrong.
Fearing that she will end up like her failure of a mother, Jamie is shocked into the reality that her hook-up relationship isn’t really what she desires in her heart of hearts. Being convicted of this, she makes the decision to stop hooking up with Dylan, to start dating again, and to start looking for a more committed relationship. Way to go Jamie!
Naturally, she has no problem finding a man to date, and the first one seems promising. In her search for a more committed relationship, Jamie informs her new beau that she now has a five day rule before having sex. Five dates? Really? Is that the price of your body, your mind, heart and emotions?
Naturally, the man plays the part, as men can play so well. He waits five days, gets the sex he desires, and then leaves Jamie lonely and heartbroken. Sadly, nobody told Jamie she was worth more than five dates, that her body, heart and emotions are priceless. The only price high enough is the complete self-donation and commitment of a man who gives everything he has in Holy Marriage. Too bad no one ever told her that a guy will be as much of a gentleman as she requires and that she needs to raise her standards out of the gutter, and have more respect for her body.
Though hurt and angry, Jamie still desires love in her heart. However, she always hijacks that pursuit by continuing to hook up with Dylan, by settling for a cheap and shallow counterfeit. Worse, she hooks up with a guy who doesn’t even have the capacity to love her or to commit to her as she desires. How many women date emotionally distant men who aren’t capable of giving them the love they need? And why? Needless to say, Jamie, eventually ends up fighting with Dylan and leaving him.
Both Jamie and Dylan separate and end up doing some real soul searching. Jamie wants true, committed love. Dylan wants Jamie back. He realizes that he needs to fight for her and win her heart “in some sappy way” (which he does). He comprehends the need to develop a relationship with her. It all sounds incredibly promising, like the beginning of a relationship that could mature and grow into something beautiful. If only the movie had followed this path, showing us how to create a successful relationship! But alas, like the simple flip of a switch, both characters flushed it all down the toilet and returned to the very things that caused them to “break up” in the first place. In the end it was a sad story with no-redemption.
People who hook up knowingly, or unknowingly, view their sexuality as a rusty van, where the interior is falling in and the mirrors are falling off. They don’t think this van is special and they don’t even bother to lock up. Others view their sexuality more like a beautiful sports car, clean inside and out, something that is special to them and worth a lot of money. They lock it, own a strong alarm for it, and not because it’s bad, but because it’s good and worth so much! These people are saving the passenger seat for their soulmate, for their spouse who will ride with them to happily-ever-after. These people realize that relationships aren’t cheap but beautiful, not arbitrary but meaningful, and all based on trust, kindness, selflessness, commitment, sacrifice, and love!