Do you believe in magic? – John Sebastian

Could it be magic? – Barry Manilow (with help from F. Chopin)

It was like… magic. – Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks)

Don’t trust the magic. – Randy Greenwald

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Leave it to me to be the buzz killer. But actually, in my weekend article for the Bradenton Herald, my intention is to add stability to the spark, not to extinguish it.

Below is the article. Here it is online, though it will be accessible for only a limited time.

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A Few Words about ‘the Magic’

It’s Valentine’s Day weekend – a commercial reminder to those who want a relationship that they don’t have one, and an occasion for those in a relationship to enjoy some ‘magic’.

My counsel to singles: Watch The Return of the King, encourage Frodo up Mount Doom, cheer “I am no man!” Eowyn as she slays the Nazgûl. Eat some popcorn and trust the providence and wisdom of a good God.

To those in relationship, my counsel is different. Do what is appropriate to the day and your relationship status, but do NOT trust the ‘magic’.

In the Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks movie Sleepless in Seattle what Annie (Ryan) is looking for and not finding in her relationship with her fiancé Walter is, we find out, ‘magic’. We are left to assume that she finds that magic with Sam (Hanks).

‘Magic’, that surge of romantic energy and emotion, is a wonderful thing. But don’t trust it.

It is possible to generate and program ‘magic’ by the right element of thoughtfulness, conversation, chivalry, and charm. And certainly a good and long term relationship will have sparks of ‘magic’ woven throughout.

But if all you see is ‘magic’, don’t trust it. Long term relationship is not about the ‘magic’. It is about commitment, devotion, and faithfulness.

Long tern love is a matter of daily wanting to have conversation with the one you love. It is a matter of forgiving one another daily. It is about refusing to go to bed angry, daily. It is about serving one another daily. It is about doing all of these things whether one feels like it or not.

Some days ‘magic’ will accompany service and forgiveness and conversation. Most days it won’t.

The movie Marley and Me is purportedly about a dog. But the real beauty of that film is the relationship portrayed by Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson as they grow together over time. Yes, there is ‘magic’. But there is also tension and argument and strife, as in any marriage. But there is also conversation, sacrifice, and forgiveness.

I overheard a family talking about seeing Marley and Me. A child commented that he did not think it was real. “The parents kissed too much,” he said.

Too much? I don’t think so. But that they kissed at the beginning and at the end of a long relationship was due more to the work they put into being friends than it was to magic.

Don’t trust the magic.

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UPDATE: I surveyed a number of insightful friends for help on this article. I want to pass on my thanks to them!