Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

Did Hollywood Weaken "The Vow"?

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2012 Feb 16






The Vow,starring Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum, was the number one film at the box office this past weekend, pulling in a remarkable $41 million. The romantic drama was billed as the ultimate "chick flick" with a lot of suspense rolled in for good measure.

The story revolves around a young couple who fall in love, marry and shortly thereafter, encounter the ultimate test in their relationship. The young wife is gravely injured in a car accident. Not only does she lose her memory and not remember ever being married, but she reverts back to being 18 years old. Then she was in love with another guy, who happens to be available again.

The plot makes for an interesting story with plenty of twists and turns, made even more remarkable by the fact that the movie is based on a true story.

Sort of.

[Spoiler Alert]

In the movie, the characters, Paige and Leo, wind up getting a divorce after the accident, although by the end of the film, it's suggested they've eventually gotten back together again and, presumably, have remarried.

That's a good thing, of course, and it makes for a predictable Hollywood script. But if you ask me, the true story is even more incredible, inspiring - and beautiful.

It was a Christian couple from New Mexico, Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, whose real life story inspired the film. A car accident robbed Krickitt of 18 months of memories just ten weeks into their marriage, including any memory of Kim.

At the time, the young husband, though devastated, was resolute in his commitment to help his bride. 

"This isn't my wife," he said. "My wife is in this body, trapped and trying to get out."

He was also candid. "I honestly didn't think our marriage would work," he said, but he wouldn't give up trying to help her fall in love with him all over again.

"I made a vow before God," he explains,” 'until death do you part.'"

Unlike in the movie, the Carpenters didn't divorce. And unlike in the film, there were no other love interests to contend with. Instead, they gutted out a grueling process - and kept their sacred vows.

If you ask me, that's more beautiful - and more dramatic - than the Hollywood version of this film.

Since Monday on our radio broadcast, we've been talking with Dr. Tim and Kathy Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City about their new book, The Meaning of Marriage. At the very core of the book’s message is this matter of ironclad commitment within matrimony. Marriage is about making and keeping the vow - no matter what tragedy or discomfort may befall you.

I hope you'll click here to listen or download the three programs - all at no charge.

In the meantime, I'd appreciate hearing from you. Did you see the movie? How do you think you'd respond if your spouse forgot who you were?

It happens more than you might imagine, not usually in this manner, but frequently in the twilight of life as disease grabs hold of the mind. My friend, Jim Singleton, also a local pastor, is friends with the country singer Mark Brinkman. Mark penned a haunting but beautiful song a few years ago about the ravages of Alzheimer's. This is how he describes a sad scene that plays out all too many times in the world today.

I'll leave you with the lyrics:

She softly walked into his room, sat down and said "hello"

He said, "You look familiar, are you someone I should know?

I’ve got this funny feeling we’ve met somewhere before.

There was a fleeting memory as you came in through the door."

She smiled and said, "My darling, you’re looking mighty fine.

In fact we’ve known each other since 1949."

They had a lifetime of memories but there’s nothing left to show.

When the mind and a body choose a different time to go.

She’s a stranger in his mind. The memories are gone,

but his heart’s still keeping time.

The cruelest fate for the loved ones left behind.

How can life be so unkind? She’s a stranger in his mind.

She tells him stories of the man he used to be.

All about their children and his loving family.

Every day they spend together is both a blessing and a curse
But she’s faithful to her wedding vows, for better or for worse.

Kneeling by his bedside the tears pour down like rain
She prays that tomorrow he’ll remember her name.

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