Instead of rehashing the whole plot of the story, about how love prevails after a wife get’s inconvenient amnesia after a car accident, forgetting how she fell in love with her husband, I am just going to pass a couple of comments that I find edifying.
First, the movie is about an artsy couple that rejects all tradition and promises to love each other. However, love in the year 2012 is not one of those unshakable, rock solid sort of things, but rather a pretty compelling bond that keeps you together through some rough patches until it is decided that a journey of self-discovery is more important to any promises people make towards one another, because after all, everyone breaks their promises if the circumstances call for it, right? So, they go on to leave each other to date other people and then after realizing the event turned them into different people, they become intrigued with each other again and fall back in love.
However, the real couple the movie is based on were held together by a greater love for God and an obedience to Him that they made a vow that they were not supposed to break. Here is a brief synopsis from a 1996 People Magazine article:
But when the nurse asked, “Who’s your husband?” she replied, “I’m not married.” Tests soon showed that she had maintained most of her long-term memory. As for her husband, he was a complete stranger—she felt nothing for him. “I don’t have a visual memory in my head, and I have no memory in my heart,” she says now.
Kim remembers comforting himself by saying, “This isn’t my wife; my wife is in this body, trapped and trying to get out.” He worked to encourage her rehabilitation. But Krickitt found his presence and pep talks annoying. “I think she resented his pushing, because at that point she wasn’t Krickitt,” says her mother, Mary, adding that the process of reteaching her daughter the most basic tasks “was like raising her again.” Facing medical bills in excess of $200,000 and relentless bill collectors, Kim returned to his Las Vegas job with serious doubts about the future. “I honestly didn’t think our marriage would work,” says Kim, but he wouldn’t give up. “I made a vow before God,” he explains, ” ‘until death do you part.’ “
It was difficult to make the marriage work again. Mike Hill, a therapist the couple started seeing in fall ’94, pinpointed the problem. “There wasn’t that emotional attachment that comes through the early part of the relationship,” Hill says. “You need to establish some memories of your own.” So Kim and Krickitt began dating again—chatting over pizza, shopping, Jet Skiing at a nearby lake. “I got to know my husband again,” says Krickitt. “There was a point when I really started to enjoy this companion. I would miss him if he wasn’t around.”
This year on Valentine’s Day, Kim proposed again. Krickitt accepted. “I could’ve not fallen in love with him again, but the Lord didn’t allow that,” she says. On May 25, the two again exchanged rings—new ones—and read newly written vows.
Now, this brings me to my second point. The real story is about an all-powerful and merciful God who teaches us to “love because He loved us first” (1 John 4:19) and it was ultimately this that gave two people the ability to overcome some strange circumstances and devote themselves to keeping their marriage. Meanwhile, the movie is a twist of fatalism and the desire for new beginnings.
You see, the characters in the movie went through events in their lives that shaped them into a “perfect match.” They were so compatible, they essentially fell deeply in love with themselves. Their meaningless and shallow wedding vows reflect this well:
I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness and to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree on red velvet cake, and to live within the warmth of your heart and always call it home.
I vow to fiercely love you in all your forms, now and forever. I promise to never forget that this is a once in a lifetime love. And to always know in the deepest part of my soul that no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find our way back to each other.
To sum up this nonsense, their vow is to “love you as much as I humanly can.” The “deepest part” of their souls were not deep enough to hold them together after the whole amnesia incident, because guess what, she wasn’t the same person he fell in love with! So, in effect, she was a different soul so they were not soul-mates anymore. When events in her life oddly transpired to make her go back to art school and start acting and feeling like the girl pre-amnesia days did, all of the sudden a guy like her ex-husband seemed like a real catch!
When he realizes that she’s a new version of the old her and that he’s this perfect guy, they decide to give the relationship another go. This “new beginning” is the heart-warming climax to the movie.
I can see the major appeal to this. Do you remember what it was like to be freshly in love? How deep the devotion was and just the chemicals your body had running through you? It is probably the best feeling outside getting to know the Lord. I believe God gives us this feeling as a way of giving us a memory of devotion so when life continues on and the relationship isn’t fresh, there is a long-term loyalty. Those early feelings are the catalyst to forming a profound bond.
Now, what do you do if you have done things to hurt your spouse so that you have damaged the warm feelings that formed your marital bond? Ultimately, you cannot undo them by erasing the past. Neither are there any “do overs.” A new beginning would allow you to experience all those beautiful feelings you experienced at the beginning of your relationship. However, that is not available to us.
This is why a lot of people cheat, because they desire the feeling of falling in love more than what real love is, ultimately a long hard slog with many great moments and difficulties along the way.
Even in our Christian walks, may it be far from us to forsake Him so we can experience the joy of “conversion experiences” for several different religions when the “new” feeling fades away after time. Our love for God is maintained by His Spirit in us that gives us a desire to commit our lives to Him.
And so, all good relationships are ultimately not based in our own goodness or our feelings. Events in life will preclude us from ultimately being good enough to merit someone’s unquestionable love and from always feeling the same way. However, commitment without reason stands the test of time. God died for His enemies, for those whom their every thought and inclination were against Him. Yet, He has mercy and commits Himself to saving us from the condemnation we deserve for the wickedness in our own hearts.
So, while we may want a new beginning so that we may undo all the things we have done to hurt each other and then have things be the way they used to be, that’s not realistic. Ultimately, we want commitment. May God bless us with a commitment towards one another like the one He has for us. Amen.