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How To Know If Your Relationship Is Great In 60 Seconds.

Updated: Oct 11, 2018

Have you ever seen a movie about a relationship that seemed so much better than yours? More exciting, more passionate, more fun? Who can possibly compete with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in La La Land? Well, maybe Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid Love.

Blame Hollywood writers, I know. Projecting their greatest fantasy relationships onto the page, which are later projected onto the screen for all of us to compare and envy. And they've got a nifty little trick up their sleeve to speed the process up and strengthen the compatibility of these couples: the montage.

A staple of the romantic comedy, the montage is a series of short scenes edited together to depict the passage of time. When a relationship is the subject, we are treated to scenes of the couple walking through Central Park on a perfect fall day, cooking at home together, one surprising the other with a brand new puppy, kissing on a hot air balloon, hugging at the ice rink after falling down, and making love on the beach at night. And all of it is exquisitely edited together with cuts and dissolves, scored with a perfect, mood-setting song.

Too good to be true, right? Wrong. Let me suggest a little Montage-Awareness Therapy: a quick and easy way to remember how great your relationship actually is. Try it right now by thinking of the following:

1. A moment from the very first date with your partner.

2. A time your partner gave you a present that was absolutely perfect.

3. Your first kiss.

4. The two of you doing some physical activity together.

5. A particularly passionate love-making session you had one time.

6. Laughing together so hard about something that it hurt.

7. A moment from a vacation that you'll never forget.

8. Seeing her in that dress.

9. Introducing him to your friends.

10. One of probably hundreds of quiet moments at home, cuddling and watching TV.

Of course, there are plenty of other, more couple-specific "scenes" you can choose from your life: when you found out your wife was pregnant, the night you celebrated your promotion together, seeing your baby's first steps, that ridiculous text conversation you had with each other about absolutely nothing. Obviously, feel free to think about scenes unique to your relationship.

Now string all of these moments together, and pick the perfect piece of music to go over them: something by Leonard Cohen perhaps? A Beatles song? Maybe it's something from a film score like Me Before You, Love Actually, or practically anything composed by John Barry. For mine, I'm thinking of picking "Girl", the song Davy Jones sang on that episode of The Brady Bunch. The sky's the limit here and it's royalty-free so pick any music that gives you goosebumps, warms your heart, or makes you smile.

Voilà! You now have your very own montage--as good as, if not better than anything you'll see at the Arclight. So the next time you find yourself having doubts, questioning compatibility, wondering about other options, or walking out of a movie believing your relationship simply cannot compare to the one you just sat through, repeat the above exercise.

We all have the scenes from our relationship required to create an exquisite, life-affirming montage; the key is to edit them together in our mind.

©2017 Adam Fields


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