I recently finished watching all seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls on Netflix. Considering that it was just added to Netflix in the fall, this is either pretty impressive or pretty sad. Or simply testament to many late nights writing and crafting and eating all the best snacks.
At first, my husband and I watched the episodes together. He appreciated the sharp wit and clever banter of the characters as well as the overall fun storylines. However, after watching a while, he grew tired of the incessant drama between Lorelai and her parents, and some of the ridiculous behaviors of the characters.
So my husband quit the show and Gilmore Girls was relegated to a very short list of shows that I watch without him. And even though some of the same things he found irritating bugged me a little, I was hooked. I stuck it out because, among other reasons, I had hopes of finally seeing one of the girls find happiness in a relationship.
SPOILER ALERT! It never happens. At least not in a lasting way, or a way in which you don’t eventually watch every relationship’s untimely demise.
I won’t go into all the details because maybe you’re like I was and you’re on the edge of your not-so-proverbial seat in anticipation of finding out if this relationship will finally last????!! But the further I progressed into the series, the more painful it became to watch both mother and daughter tread the same self-destructive paths in their relationships.
Lorelai (mother) and Rory (daughter) are funny and smart and endearing. The show is silly and heartwarming and tender. But like everything we watch, we should watch it critically and with eyes of discernment.
There are lessons to be learned from the Gilmore Girls. Lessons on love with a twist. A what not to do twist.
I hope that you have a wonderful week celebrating love and happy Valentines Day this weekend. I also hope that these simple lessons encourage us all to love well. May we all have a day (life) full of love so much greater than the movies and so much deeper than what we see on tv!
Love Lessons from the Gilmore Girls
Lesson #1: Love is not about being hooked on a feeling.
Over the course of the series, Lorelai (the young, beautiful mother) was incurably indecisive. She was dating, then engaged, then running away on her wedding day, then almost engaged, then dating someone else, engaged again, broken up, married for a few weeks, and then, finally, back to being unsure of how she felt towards an old friend, her ex-fiance.
If I could pick one lesson from the show it would probably be this. Your feelings are never to be the foundation of your love. If they are, then chances are you don’t have love, but rather a less valuable substitute like infatuation, lust, or means to self-fulfillment.
It is true that feelings are a beautiful gift in a relationship. The rush of affection you feel when caught up in an embrace. The looks you share that make your stomach do somersaults. The wonderful anticipation you feel when you have been separated and are about to see each other again. Love is richer with these feelings.
The difference is learning that these feelings are meant to be the outworking of something more secure. The deepest and most exhilarating feelings spring up from friendship, from life lived together, and from the ability to be completely vulnerable without fear of rejection.
Love chooses intentionally. Love commits fully. In the hard moments when feelings falter, love holds on.
Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18
Lesson #2: Love does not pout, run from conflict, or hold grudges.
So often I just wanted to reach through the tv and shake Lorelai or Rory when there was obviously something bothering them, but rather than being open and discussing it with their boyfriend/spouse/fiance, they insisted that they were fine and then tried to ignore the issue. However, it is neither considerate nor loving to pretend things are fine when they are not.
There will always be hurt feelings. There will always be disagreements, arguments, and misunderstandings. These things will be present in every relationship because none of us are perfect no matter how much we love each other.
But learning how to handle conflict is an extremely important lesson to learn. Love does not give the silent treatment when upset. It does not withhold affection as a way to “punish” another for wrongs committed.
Love is honest even when it’s hard. Love seeks to make things right. Love has the awkward conversations even when words are difficult to say. Love pursues peace.
Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17:3
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:6
Lesson #3: Love is not self-centered or independent.
Putting this lesson into practice is admittedly very difficult at times. It’s not easy to lay down your preferences or to compromise with how you are used to doing things. It may get a little easier over time but the challenge to put another person before yourself is never vanquished.
This challenge too often proved to be an insurmountable barrier for the Gilmore girls. Unwilling to change or give in, relationships became strained and eventually broken up. It really was sad to watch.
I suppose a person could live a life insisting on “my way or the highway” at every turn. But that isn’t the way of love.
Love desires the good of another. Love gives and then forgets. In decisions big or small, love remembers the joy found in making someone else happy.