Most Disney fans believe in fairytales and happy endings. And while most Disney fans understand that those classic stories are certainly not very realistic, they do offer valuable life lessons, some of which we can even use to strengthen our marriages.
"Do you wanna build a snowman?" -- Frozen
One of the saddest and most poignant songs in Frozen is "Do You Want to Build a Snowman." In this song, Anna is desperate to reconnect with her sister Elsa -- to go back to better times, when they built a snowman together. But Elsa has locked herself in a self-imposed isolation based on her fear that nobody can handle her unique qualities.
Many couples find themselves inextricably growing apart over time, and sometimes it even feels as if there is a wall between them. There are millions of excuses for the distance that grows between a couple, but at its core, this distance can often be explained as one or both of the partners feeling flawed -- so flawed that they must protect the people they love. As much as it may seem like a good idea to close doors on the uncomfortable aspects of yourself, it will inevitably decrease intimacy within your marriage. Show your spouse your authentic self -- it might be scary, but it will lead to higher levels of intimacy.
"There's no one I'd rather be than me." -- Wreck-It Ralph
Have you ever lost your individuality and independence in a relationship? Both men and women may experience this once married. They desperately want approval and love from their spouse, so they try to be everything their partner wants them to be. This can lead to some beautiful experiences -- such as trying new foods, traveling to new places and gaining new family members. But sometimes, in trying to tie themselves closer to their partners, spouses lose sight of their own selves.
It is critical to remember that the person you truly are is the person who inspired intimacy and love -- leading to your marriage -- in the first place. No matter how long a couple has been together, both partners need to maintain a sense of their own identity, and an appreciation for what their individuality brings to the marriage.
"The very things that hold you down are going to lift you up." -- Dumbo
It is important to open up to your spouse about your past, even if it is difficult. For example, a woman named Eileen was in her second marriage. She had never told her current husband the entire story about her first marriage, which ended because of aggression and threats of violence.
After that terrible experience, Eileen was hesitant to enter a new relationship, but she did indeed find happiness again. Even though it took a lot of courage to do so, she found that sharing the difficult story of her first marriage with her current spouse was a relief. Better still, by sharing, she was able to connect with him on a deeper level and unburden herself in the process. Everyone has a past and every relationship has ups and downs, but you may be surprised to find that negative experiences can actually strengthen the bond you have with your spouse.
"All it takes is faith and trust." -- Peter Pan
No relationship is perfect, just as no person is perfect. There will always be mistakes and conflicts that you and your partner will face. It is how you deal with these problems that will determine the health and longevity of your relationship. Having faith and trust in your marriage helps you get through little spats along the way. Even when you're angry with your spouse or in conflict, you can still have faith in your marriage and trust in your love.
"Even miracles take a little time." -- Cinderella
That whole faith and trust foundation is certainly not built overnight. It takes work and conscious effort by both partners. But strong marriages are based on each spouse putting their best foot forward each and every day in pursuit of the "miracle" of a healthy marriage. A lifetime marriage requires adjustment and growth, but if you apply yourself to it regularly, it will truly feel like a miracle that brings joy to your life.
Even though they can be wrapped in cutesy cartoons and old-fashioned messages, there is still value underlying many of the Disney movies. For your next movie night, take a minute to evaluate how Disney messages might strengthen your marriage.