The lights are dim inside the cool theater. Amidst the rustling of popcorn bags and squeaky straws, sniffles fill the room. Kleenexes are passed as the hero and heroine run toward each other in slow motion across the beach. The waves crash on the shore in the film as the music rises to its full crescendo. Credits roll, women sob, and men roll their eyes. Another tear jerking, heart-wrenching movie is over.

It usually ends the same way -- people filing quietly out of the cinema, lost in their own thoughts. The women are casting glances at their husbands from the corner of their eyes, secretly wishing they had married someone as romantic as the male lead in the movie. The men are usually glancing at their watches, thinking they can probably still catch the sports highlights on the news if they hurry. One movie, two people - two completely different reactions.

If women aren't careful, they can take that temporary feeling of "blah" from their emotions and let it rule them. It is not your husband's fault he doesn't have a beach on which to run toward you, even if he wanted to -- which he probably doesn't. Movies aren't real. They just represent the extreme inner workings and emotions of people and turn it into a temporary reality. Producers are out for one thing - a profit. If they can touch people's hearts, they'll make their money. If you take it too seriously, you could put your marriage into real jeopardy.

Every woman has a favorite film, a specific moment in a movie where they sigh dreamily every time they watch it. They have a hero in their mind and that character fully represents everything they think they could ever want or need in a man. It sounds harmless enough on the surface, but if you start comparing fantasy to your very real, very imperfect husband, you're asking for trouble.

Men, the same truth goes both ways. Most wives will never resemble a movie star, and rightly so. She doesn't have famous makeup artists and talented hair stylists at her disposal. She doesn't have a fan to blow her hair just the right way or someone to yell, "Cut! Do over - she had celery in her teeth!"

You have a choice to love your husband or wife and treat them as if you are their biggest fan. You might not have married Tom Cruise or Catherine Zeta Jones, but you can be just as much in awe of your spouse as if you were with a celebrity. It is all about the effort you put forth. You will only get out of your marriage what you put into it!

God has provided you with a spouse - a helpmate, a lover, a friend, and a lifelong companion. This is not something to take for granted! Treat your mate with the respect and love they deserve.

For example, consider your reactions to the opposite sex. For some newlyweds, it is hard to learn how to tone down or change the way you behave around your friends, or even strangers, for that matter. Men, you can't treat girls the same way you did before you got married! Women, you can't flirt with your guy friends the way you did before you said your vows! It is simply not acceptable, no matter how innocent your heart's intention is, for it can make your spouse feel insecure and unwanted. Your job as a wife or husband is to make your spouse feel as if they are the most important, most desirable person in the entire world.

Women, you might watch that romantic movie on the screen, feeling all warm and fuzzy inside, then suddenly realize with a jolt that your days of carefree flirting and teasing are over. This is not bad news! Decide today to make your husband your "summer fling"!

Men, chase after your wife just as you did the first time you met her. Here's a secret - we still like to be pursued! Don't stop just because you "caught us" and married us! We enjoy being sought after just as much as you enjoy the seeking.

Keep trying new things to make your marriage fresh and exciting. Surprise each other and put forth an effort to renew those "warm fuzzies" you felt at the beginning of your relationship. The best is not behind you, it is yet to come! Enjoy the season you are at with your spouse and revel in each new memory you make together.

Next time you're at the movies, watching that summer romance on screen, don't be dismayed or envious about what you don't have, but instead, rejoice that your very own hero is sitting beside you, comfortably holding your hand in his. Smile at the fact that you get to go home with your spouse and share your lives together. A lifelong commitment with the person you love is so much deeper, so much more real than the temporary flings that litter Hollywood. God has blessed you, indeed.



Betsy St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her newly wed husband, Brandon. She is currently attending Louisiana Baptist University with a major in Christian Communications and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. You can contact her at Angelkiss216@bellsouth.net.