Love In the Movies: First Impressions Can Be So Wrong

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Watch the movie Pride and Prejudice to learn about slow love and how it can happen. Learn how a  first-date impression can be so wrong.  Someone you dislike can turn out to be that special person you marry.  What makes the people in the relationships in this movie compatible?

Pride and Prejudice 2005
Starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Tallulah Riley. 2 hrs 8 min.

The movie is based on Jane Austen’s novel about five sisters in rural England around 1800. They are looking for love, or at least a husband. Their lives are turned upside down and a whole courting and dating drama unfold when a wealthy young man (Mr. Bingley) and his best friend (Mr. Darcy) arrive in their neighborhood.

It is about life for the rural land-owning gentry of the early 1800's. It is beautifully done in that regard. The costumes for the two social levels depicted, and the settings for their homes, are spectacular and probably more realistic than most other movie and TV versions of this story. There is a great opening scene with Lizzie, one of the sisters, walking through an idyllic outdoor field/stream scene and reading; then she walks across a little bridge and through hanging laundry into a house. This place is not the usual British TV version of a middle class gentry mansion, but instead a seemingly realistic and warm Darbyshire household. Note how she walks through the field and the yard with pigs: full of ease. The scenes are often idyllic, giving inner warmth to the viewer.

The story is mostly about a clever young woman, Lizzie, who “bucks” the system repeatedly. She is well-educated and interested in reading, as you see in the opening scene, and her behavior in “dating” situations is unusual for the time, but perfect for us. Within the first 15 min of the movie she has asked Mr. Darcy to dance with her, rather than wait to be asked. He refuses! He doesn’t like to dance. Later in the evening when she says that a sonnet can kill love, he asks her ‘What, then, can make love grow’? (He obviously likes her even though he refused her invitation.) She says, “Dancing!” and gives him a smile while turning away and holding her head in a special way. The flirting has begun! But, oh, it takes many dramatic events for this relationship to play out.

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS MOVIE?

The story is about one of our favorite themes this year: slow love: learning to love someone who you were not particularly interested in at first, and who you may even dislike for a while. Mr. Darcy is truly unlikeable in the beginning. The first view of him in this movie makes him look stunningly ugly in face and demeanor. The story is a great lesson for how feelings of attraction can change, and the moviemakers are very good at emphasizing that point.

Another relationship that is highlighted and very interesting to us is the long-term relationship of the parents. It includes a lot of humor on the part of the husband/father. He makes the family and his wife laugh. They all laugh a lot in general, and that may be his best influence. In the beginning of the movie, when his energetic but slightly annoying, whining, pushing wife askes, “Don’t you respect my nerves?” he replies, “On the contrary,” he smiles. “They have been my constant companion for many years.” This interchange, and the character, is a great example of learning to cope with your partner’s faults. Humor and acceptance of the other—overlooking faults, even—may be essential to happy long-term relationships.

WHY ARE THE CHARACTERS COMPATIBLE ROMANTIC PARTNERS, OR NOT?

Finally, what personalities do we have here in this story? Are they compatible? Mr. Darcy and Lizzie each have pride; and prejudice against the other’s class or attitudes, but they overcome them. Why? Maybe they are they both mainly Builders, with deep Explorer and Negotiator tendencies, and that is why it does finally work. Maybe both are Directors, too.  We all have a little of the Explorer, Director, Builder, and Negotiator in us.  See what we say about personality and compatibility:

BUILDERS are pillars of society. Most likely highly expressive of the serotonin system in the brain, they are traditional and conventional, as well as cautious, calm and often social. Community and family are important to them. They make good managers because they are orderly, conscientious, thorough and loyal. And they respect rules and like schedules. Builders seek a stable and predictable team player, someone who shares their fidelity to family and tradition. They take courtship seriously, too. Builders don’t choose a partner impulsively. They believe in good manners, old-fashioned courtesy, punctuality and well-arranged schedules. Builders tend to think concretely; they are literal; they like and trust facts. So on a date, a Builder is likely to engage in tangible conversations - about food, travel, sports, the weather, TV programs and/or movies. They are often good at “small talk,” short conversations on concrete topics. They can be very modest when discussing their achievements. And they tend to take the opinions of their friends and relatives seriously.

You: Builder/Director (Darcy?)
Partner: Builder/Director (Lizzie?)

How your primary types work together:

Two Builders make a highly compatible and natural match. You both tend to be outwardly calm, socially skilled and interested in building and maintaining family, community and business relations. You will make a great team working together to create a stable network of close friends.

Builders also tend to be cautious and traditional; you both like the familiar and the tried and true. So neither of you will push the other out of his/her comfort zone. Both of you are likely to have strong values, too. So you will easily understand one another and come to feel a deep trust in and unity with your partner. Making plans, sticking to schedules and respecting the rules is another mutual strength. Moreover, you are both likely to be modest and loyal to your duties, your beliefs and one another.

How your secondary types work together:

When two Directors fall in love, they can be thrilling company for each other. Both are highly analytical, exacting, informed and competent. They focus deeply on their interests and want to learn about yours. So conversations can be detailed, inventive, theoretical and magnetic. Directors are natural “mind mates.”

Moreover, Directors say what they mean. They are direct and decisive and can appreciate this style in their partner. Both also like to debate; and both can appreciate the skeptical, assertive approach of the other. Directors are also emotionally contained; so both are likely to understand that still waters run deep: their love, though not often expressed in words, is deep and real.

What to look out for:

Builders have strong, often unbendable, values; they believe there is a “right” thing to do and a “right” way to do it. So two Builders can butt heads when their values don’t mesh. Builders can be critical, too; they can argue over trivial matters. And two Directors can become overly competitive with one another, even in a game of cards. But these bumps in the road usually take a back seat to the Builder’s (and the Director’s) indefatigable desire to honor their romantic commitments and build an enduring partnership.

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most loved and popular English novels. It has sold over 20 million copies.  There are also several great movie versions, and TV series.

Click here to see more personality combination compatibility descriptions

Click here to take the personality quiz for partner compatibility 

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can watch this version of Pride and Prejudice for free until December 31, 2016

4 Comments

Matheus

Is it possible to love more than one person at the same time? Also, how can I overcome a romantic love?

Reply
Lucy Brown

Ah, yes, the follow-up question to your first question. You can feel deeply attached and love someone, and also fall “in Love” romantically with someone else. That obsessive, romantic love is only possible for one person at a time, though.

Reply
Matheus

I am in a relationship of 5 years, so far. At this point, romance already faded, but I really like my wife, and I want to keep this relationship going (I believe we are now ate the attachment stage). I am ok with the fade of the romance. The problem is: I falled in love again, with another woman. However, I don’t want to end my marriage, I really like my wife. But, you know how romance goes, that obsessive thoughts keeps haunting me. Is there a way to overcome this, or at least, reconcile this romantic feelings with my marriage?

Reply
Lucy Brown

This is, of course, a tough one. Here is an answer. Research has even started on this knotty problem. The results suggest that it can be useful to devote at least 10 minutes a day thinking first about all the faults of the person you are “in love” with, and then about the beginning of the relationship with your spouse and when you first kissed and when you married and all their good traits. Concentrate on the disadvantages of the relationship with the other person. Find the ways that you would be incompatible. Think about those a lot. Obsess about the faults, although it can be hard at first. Remember, even if you were to leave your marriage for this new person, romance will fade in the new relationship, too, and you will be back to where you started. Almost everyone strays a few times in a marriage. Stay away from the new person. Remember that love is a natural addiction. Use your best self-control to lose contact with the other person, think about all the trouble the relationship causes, or will cause. Think of all that you would lose if you chose the other person. The research shows that it helps to make the other person less attractive in the long run. It is a natural tendency to stray, which is something it is good to realize early so that you can avoid it in the future, but we also have abilities to look ahead and make more rational decisions that we know are better for us in the long run. Be sure to do some romantic and fun things with your spouse. Compliment him/her whenever you can. Think negatively about the other! Find anything negative you can! Take a trip away from home, even for an evening. You can have romantic times with your spouse again.

From the scientific article: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161087#sec018

“Love feelings can be more intense than desired (e.g., after a break-up) or less intense than desired (e.g., in long-term relationships). If only we could control our love feelings! We present the concept of explicit love regulation, which we define as the use of behavioral and cognitive strategies to change the intensity of current feelings of romantic love. We present the first two studies on preconceptions about, strategies for, and the feasibility of love regulation. Questionnaire responses showed that people perceive love feelings as somewhat uncontrollable. Still, in four open questions people reported to use strategies such as cognitive reappraisal, distraction, avoidance, and undertaking (new) activities to cope with break-ups, to maintain long-term relationships, and to regulate love feelings. Instructed up-regulation of love using reappraisal increased subjective feelings of attachment, while love down-regulation decreased subjective feelings of infatuation and attachment.”

The link to the news article, which is very good: How to Fall Back In Love- http://www.wsj.com/articles/how-to-fall-back-in-love-1482164387?tesla=y

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