Shut Up, Hallmark: Reconstructing Our Top 5 Expectations About Romance

Dear Hallmark, I only watched two of your movies for Christmas 2020. I’ve officially had enough crushed romantic expectations, and you’re a major expectation crusher. You’ve officially disappointed me…along with 99% of other single American women. I hope you’re happy.

Hallmark, I don’t want to sound cynical, but are you trying to disappoint us single ladies? Romance seems so easy in your movies. A beautiful, career-minded single woman meets an almost-as-beautiful, also-career-minded single man. There is some relatively critical reason why they can’t be together, but they end up putting aside their differences to let themselves fall in love with each other. Of course, there’s a happily ever after. Every. Stinkin’. Time.

Even though I haven’t seen that many Hallmark movies, I’ve seen enough to know what all the endings will be: happily ever after. Honestly, Hallmark, you’re deceiving so many women with your cookie-cutter romances. Our expectations for dating and marriage are completely skewed, thanks to you and your sidekick, Disney.

False Expectation #1: I’m definitely going to have dated by the time I start college.

To be honest, I totally thought this was going to be me. Since I was allowed to date when I turned 18, I was sure there would be guys lining up to ask me out. Several years later, I still haven’t dated. And I have several friends who are my age and have no (or very little) experience dating.

False Expectation #2: I’m definitely going to be married by the time I finish college.

This is less of a Hallmark-based expectation and more of a Disney-based expectation, by the way. While there are some gals who get a ring by spring, there are more gals who don’t. I know a handful of people who got married during college. But, even as an almost-graduated college student, I’m nowhere near mature enough to get married. And I’ve observed very few guys in my stage of life who are.

False Expectation #3: At some point during my young adulthood, at least two guys will be pursuing me at the same time.

This idea is common in Disney shows and Hallmark movies. In Murder, She Baked, which is one of the few Hallmark movies I actually like, Hannah Swenson has to choose between two lovers: the wealthy dentist or the handsome cop. Honestly, I’ll be fortunate if one guy pursues me, let alone two. I don’t see that happening in my life, and I don’t know many women who have experienced that.

False Expectation #4: When I meet my future husband, it will be love at first sight.

Maybe this concept works for Disney princesses, but it doesn’t work for most couples. The best way to know if a guy will be a good future husband is by observing him with his friends and family, having meaningful conversations with him, and letting him lead by pursuing you, (If he’s mature enough, I promise that he will.) Falling in love based on first sight isn’t based on a guy’s character; it’s based on his outward appearance.

False Expectation #5: The right guy will be essentially flawless.

Ah, this false expectation is so convicting because I’ve really believed it, even though I know how unrealistic it is. In chick flicks, it seems like the main guy character’s only flaw is that he doesn’t have a woman in his life. (And he always conveniently finds one, thus making him flawless by the ending scene.) In real life, both women and men are flawed to the core and need Jesus (not each other) to solve that problem.

Expecting the Right Things

To conclude, Hallmark, I know you may not be trying to play a cruel joke on us about romance and true love. But in creating movies that portray seemingly perfect relationships, you make us forget about what we have and covet the fake lives of actors and actresses on a screen. In reality, we have everything we need because God provides it.  

The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. (Psalm 145:15-16 NKJV)

Perhaps we shouldn’t expect to date by college, marry by graduation, have two romantic pursuers at once, fall in love on the spot, or find the perfect guy. But we can always look expectantly to our Father to provide exactly the right things at exactly the right moments.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!


Image credit: Melody

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