September 24, 2014

Live with Standards: Must Love Dogs (2005)


Since I was a little girl, I have always had standards for pretty much anything you can think of. Truly, I had standards for my food, my clothing and of course relationships. I didn't date much before meeting my husband, but that was mostly because of all my standards when it came to the opposite sex. The irony though is that without a lot of dating experiences, I wasn't able to develop any realistic standards based on my own experiences. As you may know, sometimes you think you may not like something and then when you try it, you find out you do like it. All I had was a list of what I didn't want and little did I know standards work both ways; it's not just about what you don't want, but also what you do want. That's why the movie Must Love Dogs (2005) is so important; because it deals with this very issue.

In the movie Must Love Dogs (2005), the theme that sticks out the most to me is the message that everyone should and must have standards and the movie so eloquently demonstrates this by showing exactly what happens when you don't have standards in your life. Specifically, the movie is about how Sarah Nolan (Diane Lane) and Jake Anderson (John Cusack) find true love in one another after suffering through the trials and tribulations of love.

From the beginning of the movie, we see that Sarah is a bit lost and overwhelmed with her family butting into her romantic life (or lack thereof). Without any standards regarding a potential romantic interest, she ended up dating pretty much anybody who didn't seem like a homicidal maniac; which she eventually learned was not a formula for a successful long lasting relationship. This is important because that's exactly what happens when you don't have any standards...you get all kinds of crap thrown your way. Jake, on the hand, knew exactly what he wanted as a result of his failed marriage and was able to immediately spot the kind of woman that he could really see himself with for the long haul. Although they were both initially set up by meddling family/friends, because Jake knew exactly what he wanted he could easily detect something special about Sarah upon their first meeting. Sarah, however, needed some convincing thanks to her lack standards and overall lack of clarity.

After several failed dates with obvious romantic mismatches (like dating a few figurative dogs), Sarah finally started to realize that Jake possessed the qualities of the mature type of relationship that she really wanted. Sure, she made mistakes along the way, like sleeping with one of her student's father although her instincts told her to stay away from his womanizing ways, but in the end she was able to rebound, undo any damage that she may have caused with Jake and ultimately salvage the potentiality of a budding relationship. This is a key point for all of us really. Just think of all the drama she could have saved herself if she had just taken the time to get to know herself and figure out exactly what she was looking for. While this movie mostly dealt with romantic standards, I feel like there is no reason we can't all apply this to any aspect of our lives in an effort to enhance it.

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