The Bridges of Madison County – A Cautionary Tale

I’ve been coming back to old movies recently and watched one of my favorite movies of all time – “The Bridges of Madison County” with my favorite actress, Meryl Streep. I don’t know what happened, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that movie for a week. It’s about a photographer (Clint Eastwood) who gets an assignment for National Geographic to shoot some old bridges, and while he’s doing that he meets a married housewife whose husband and kids have left for fours days. The affair had to happen. What distinguishes that couple from any other couple that has an affair is that they really are the missing element in each other’s lives. They fall in love and she struggles with the decision of whether she should leave her life and walk away with him. The movie hit me because even though I have never been in a  situation like that (obviously), I somehow felt the pain of that decision. What do you do? You have a loving husband who is a good father, but you sacrificed yourself and don’t remember who you are anymore. Then you meet a guy who is your soulmate, who’d be able to help you to spread your wings and finally be your true self, but you have a family that you care about. What should you do?

For me, this movie is a warning. When you get yourself into a relationship, you never know how long it will last. You can never know that, you can never predict that, but what you do know is if you truly want to be with that man. Your gut feeling tells you that, and it’s up to you to listen. It’s important to not to lie to yourself and pretend you don’t hear this inner voice that is sending you clear signals. Especially if you want to marry the guy.  It’s really important to truly love the guy you promise to be with for the rest of your life. Why is it so important? Because if you say “yes” just because he’s nice and just because he asked you to marry him, there might come a day that it won’t be enough. Of course, there also might be a scenario in which you really love your guy, but the love faded away after a few years, and this is something you can’t have full control over. But when you enter into a relationship unsure if this is the right guy, the chances that someone will sweep you off your feet are greater. That’s why it’s so important to not lie to yourself and not be afraid to say no to something that doesn’t fulfill your needs. Don’t be afraid that if you say no that “no one else will come into your life”. He will show up, trust me. Focus on yourself and be patient and as a reward you’ll get a guy who not only helps you to grow, but who makes you a better version of yourself. It’s worth the wait. Don’t be like Meryl, who spent the rest of her life thinking about Clint. Don’t rush into a relationship just because you want to be in one and it seems like a good idea at the time. And remember – you deserve more than you think you do, so mediocre decisions and guys shouldn’t be enough for you.