Hollywood Marriage or Intentional Community?

This weekend I decided to turn my brain off for about two hours and re-watch ‘What Happens in Vegas.’ Following the typical motif of girl meets guy, girl and guy make disastrous mistake, hate one another, and then of course fall in love. Like every other love story spun by Hollywood it is completely ridiculous but has a grain of truth to it. For me it was the judge-ordered marriage. They were forced to spend six months together, attempting to get along and give their “marriage” a chance. Their forced matrimony reminded me of my commitment to intentional community over the past 18 months.

Intentional community looks and feels what I imagine marriage is. A commitment to another person through the good and the bad. From my experience you definitely get both. Like in the movie, there are arguments over who’s turn it is to clean the bathroom and who cooks what. There is an amusing scene where they’re in court-ordered therapy. After trying to sabotage the marriage (again) they sit there arguing about all the annoying habits the other person has. The therapist sits there and just nods, making notes, and smiling.

As someone who has sat in a room in silence because no one wants to admit who left the dishes in the sink again, I can relate. When you finally get to the point where you’ll be honest, is when progress is finally being made. There are still the frustrating moments where you can’t give up and call it quits; because you are apart of this, even when you don’t want to be. There is also the fulfilling parts. When you make it to the other side of a conversation happier than you were before. You learn to treat each other with grace and love. To be vulnerable. Knowing that if you cut off the bad feelings, you also cut off the good stuff too.

The movie ends with the typical reconciliation and big romantic gesture. Often the part that gets left off from real life. We don’t get the clarity that everything worked out and that everyone was happy with the experience. Instead you’re left with grumblings, sometimes regret, and smiles as you remember the happier moments. It might not be the happy Hollywood ending but it is something that shows you that you truly lived.

As a note, if Hollywood wants to produce a film or show on what it’s like to put four strangers in a two bedroom apartment with one bathroom in New York City, I’ll be waiting for the call.

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