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Lessons I Learned from the Hallmark Channel

Hey girls, don’t you think there’s a major shortage of wholesome Romance Movies these days!? Yes, me too! Fifty Shades and Magic Mike have taken over the big screen, and it truly stinks! 

 

There is no question in my mind that it’s harmful on many levels to watch movies that portray men as meat and women as slaves, and so when I discovered the Hallmark Channel, I was truly overjoyed. Yes, it’s true that they are cheesy and predictable, but hey, so am I. I have enough stress in my own life, and so when I watch television, I prefer fluff.

And, fluff it is – The setting is usually a quaint town called “Mistletoe”  or “Holley Lodge”. Two beautiful strangers find themselves trapped in a snowstorm. They are initially repulsed by one another. But, in close quarters, they are forced to get along. Soon their feelings for one another soften. Just as they are finally about to kiss, an adorable child will enter the scene, interrupting their moment and creating romantic tension. As they cut down a Christmas tree together, an old arrogant boyfriend enters the scene. So, will they get together!? Do not dismay – of course they will! And, the closing scene hints that one will quit their job back home and move to create a happily ever after life with the other. Finally, an uninterrupted G rated kiss.

Totally lovely and harmless, right!?

I had thought so too, which is why Hallmark became my go-to channel for winding down at the end of the day. Soon, our DVR was 90% full of Hallmark. And, before I knew it, I was watching parts of a Hallmark movie nearly every day.

And then, I noticed something happening. I began to find myself irritated at my husband a bit more than usual. “I wish he would hug me longer and look into my eyes more lovingly”, I’d think to myself. “Why can’t he be more patient, and declare his unwavering love for me? Why can’t we be like what I’m seeing on the screen?” 

Now, these were truly subconscious thoughts. I didn’t even realize I was thinking them. But, the truth of what was happening to my brain, was that it was being trained to believe that Hallmark behavior was real life. And, we know ladies, that it is lightyears away from reality.

It was after a conversation where frankly, my husband called me on it, that I decided to give up Hallmark cold turkey. I realized that my outlook on my real life relationship began to suffer because of a fantasy world. And girls, as much as I love cozying up with a coffee, blanket and a romance film, I love cozying up with my real life husband lightyears more.

I know that my husband is not perfect, but he is wonderful. As wonderful as he is, he’ll be hard pressed to live up to what’s created in a well crafted romantic scene; purposely designed to draw us in. I have news for you, girls: Tom Cruise was fed the line “You complete me”, and Richard Gere really didn’t buy Julia Roberts a big ruby necklace. I realized that if I continue to regularly feed my mind and feast my eyes on men who don’t know me from Adam, I’ll hinder my connection and closeness to the man who’s actually devoted to me and thinks I’m the pretty woman.

Ladies, listen up: in the same way we don’t want our men comparing us with the facade that Hollywood and the Porn industry have created about women, we must be careful not to compare our loving, well meaning, devoted men to the unrealistic ideals in romance novels, television and movies. Romance porn is real, and it can be just as destructive to marriage as sexual porn.

Now, does this mean I’m never going to watch a chick flick again in my life. Heck, no! I just have to know my limits. And, this is why: There are things in life that are lovely and harmless in and of themselves, but when they progress and begin to take over, they become harmful. 

I love the way marriage blogger Sheila Wray Gregoire put it: “Beware of progression. Don’t let an appetite for something relatively innocent feed an appetite for something that’s not.”

I know that when I cut sugar from my diet, after a few days, I simply don’t miss it. But, when I allow it back in, my craving can become insatiable. I notice I get hungrier and hungrier for sweet things until the results are not so sweet. Knowing our limits is a good thing, but it is completely individual. What might be harmless for one woman could trip up another. But, here’s some food for thought for you to chew on:

When consuming romantic material… Does it stir up dissatisfaction with my relationship? Does it cause me to compare my mate with someone else? Am I thinking about it too much, or can I watch/read, and then leave it alone?

These are a few great questions to help you evaluate what is harmless, and what is harmful for you to take in, and in what type of doses. Ultimately, you need to know yourself and your temptations and tendencies. Realize that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Above all else, guard your heart and always air on the side of caution, because ladies, our men are worth it. They are the leading men of our lives.

 

 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23

 

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