The “Sparksification” of Love

As ashamed as I am to admit it — I did something this week that I’m not particularly proud of; something I swore many years ago, I would NEVER do again.  I went back on my promise to never see another Nicholas Sparks movie.

When faced with a few hours of time to kill that just happened to coincide with an emotional trial I’ve been circumnavigating – well let’s just say a Nicholas Sparks movie seemed like the lesser of two evils. Rather than assuaging my pre-depression emotions with a giant tub of pralines and cream ice cream, I succumbed to the pull of the sappy love story and bought a ticket to The Best of Me knowing full well that a Nicholas Sparks story rarely ends well.

With eyes wide open I vowed that The Best of Me would not get the best of me by making me cry over a love story that would surely be over the top on the sap-o-meter. The movie delivered exactly as expected and was very Notebook-esque weaving in the story of two people told in flashbacks of their teen romance and a modern day reunion some 21 years later.

Halfway through The Best of Me, I started blaming Nicholas Sparks for the high divorce rate and for the fact that more people are choosing to remain single these days rather than marrying. Young women nowadays have high expectations for boyfriends and/or husbands thanks in part to Mr. Sparks’ unrealistic portrayal of relationships. Why is it all of the male leads in a Sparks’ movie are always a DDG (drop dead gorgeous) Sparksified perfect guy?  Who doesn’t want that?

Women today are looking for a DDG Sparksified perfect guy. Women want Ryan Gosling, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, James Marsden, Liam Hemsworth and Channing Tatum. Heck … even middle-aged women would gladly settle for Richard Gere or Kevin Costner from Nicholas Sparks’ earlier movies.

The problem with the Sparksification of love is that women expect Ryan Gosling or Liam Hemsworth, but usually end up with Mr. Joe Average — the guy whose idea of romance is going in the bathroom to fart rather than farting in bed.  Mr. Average shows us he’s thinking of us by emptying the dishwasher without being asked, or texting us before he meets with his buddies reminding us not to bug him while he’s picking his fantasy football team. Mr. Joe Average doesn’t stand under the stars and tell us he dreamt of us last night and his love carried us to the moon.

Mr. Average doesn’t wax poetic or write us The Last Song to stash away as a Message in a Bottle.  Mr. Average doesn’t have the energy to journal his feelings in The Notebook or take us on a Walk to Remember because he’s living in the real world with jobs, family, traffic and bills. Sadly though, women want the Walk to Remember and pray for a romantic weekend away or at the very least a Night in Rodanthe. Women are looking for a DDG Sparksified guy to give them non-stop romance and provide them that Safe Harbor, all the while praying the guy looks just a little bit like Josh Duhamel.

Dear ladies, rather than holding out for Dear John, I say take a closer look at Mr. Joe Average and accept the fact that you have zero chance of ending up with a DDG Sparksified Ryan, Josh, Zac or Channing. Falling for Mr. Joe Average doesn’t mean you’re settling — especially if he is a man after God’s own heart.  That ladies, is a man worth a second look. For a woman who falls in love with a man who will love his wife as Christ loves the church is truly The Lucky One.

As for me — my guy isn’t a DDG Sparksified guy and I’m okay with that because I’m not a DDG Sparksified perfect woman. What I do know is that my guy loves me as Christ commands him to love me which makes me The Lucky One … and in the end that truly is the best way to bring out The Best of Me.

In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.   Ephesians 5:28 (NLT)