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Committed Love: Until Death Do Us Part

How much would you go through for someone you love? That was a question a man in his 80s named Craig Morrison (from the 2012 movie Still Mine) had to answer when his wife Irene got sick with dementia. In a similar way, a 78-year-old man named Carl Fredricksen (from the 2009 movie Up) had to answer the same question after his wife, Ellie, passed away. In honor of keeping a promise to their wives, both men challenged the odds that stood against them and redefined the meaning of love and marriage.

In the movie Still Mine, Craig and Irene have a conversation about their current living environment and how it wouldn’t be suitable for Irene’s physical health needs. Irene bluntly expresses that she doesn’t want to be sent away to a facility by saying, “You would have to shoot me before you find me in a retirement home.” Craig then insists that he could build a house that would be more suitable for Irene in which Irene shows her approval by saying, “Promise me one thing, we won’t move until we have to.”

In the movie Up, Carl and Ellie meet as children, and at Carl’s house Ellie expresses her love for adventure and has a dream of traveling to a place called Paradise Falls. Soon after, Ellie gets the idea that Carl can help fulfil her dream by having him promise to take her to Paradise Falls. He agrees, and Ellie approves, saying, “Good. You promised. No backing out.” This is an important step in redefining the concept of love because keeping a promise is important for any interpersonal relationship.

According to an article published on Very Well Mind, Author Sheri Stritof explains that accountability is the first reason why it’s important to keep your promise in marriage, saying, “Keeping your promises shows that you hold yourself accountable to stick to a plan and follow through.” In this case, Craig and Carl, committed to accountability, keep a promise to their wives no matter what, even though they didn’t know what keeping a promise would consist of.

For Craig Morrison, keeping his promise consists of playing footsies with the law. After being at odds with an inspector named Mr. Daigle, Craig is confronted by Mr. Daigle about his disobedience to law-abiding protocol by saying, “Mr. Morrison, no matter what you may think, no matter what you may believe, a building permit is not optional. And just so you and I are perfectly clear, that ‘stop work’ order, that’s a legally binding document. Ignore it at your peril.” For Carl Fredricksen, keeping his promise consists possibly of losing his house.

After Ellie dies, Carl is approached by a construction worker named Foreman Tom, who makes a statement to Carl that threatens the well-being of his house by saying, “Well, just to let you know, my boss would be happy to take this old place off your hands, and for double his last offer. Whaddya say to that?” This is another important step to redefine the concept of love because even when faced with threats, Craig and Carl still work on keeping their promises. During his confrontation with Mr. Daigle, Craig makes a statement that gives him a loophole to build his house by saying, “Well, you said you needed plans. You didn’t say anything about not starting to build before you had them.”

When Carl is confronting Foreman Tom’s boss, he sarcastically states that he can have his house, “When I’m dead!” Referencing back to the article, Sheri explains that respect is another reason for keeping a promise by saying, “Keeping your word not only shows that you respect other people, it helps improve their respect for you.” In this case, Craig and Carl were faced with challenges, but it didn’t stop them from respecting their wives enough to keep their promises. Finally, when Craig’s daughter Ruth talks to him about Irene’s condition getting worse, she tries talking to Craig about different facility programs, in which Craig rejects the idea saying, “No, that’s not what your mother would want.” After his house blew up in flames by his childhood hero, and he loses his temper with a dog named Doug and a boy named Russel, Carl continues to move forward with his goal saying, “Now, whether you assist me or not, I am going to Paradise Falls if it kills me.”

This is another step that redefines the concept of love because these moments define Craig and Carl’s determination to never give up on keeping a promise, and in the end, they both succeed, with Craig building the house for Irene and Carl getting his house to Paradise Falls for Ellie. Referencing back to the article, Sheri explains that credibility is another reason to keep a promise by saying, “Showing up for others, doing what you say you will, and being dependable are essential for creating personal credibility.” In this case, having achieved the goals they set out to pursue, Craig and Carl earned their credibility as individuals.

When I first saw the 2012 movie Still Mine, the relationship between Craig and Irene reminded me of the relationship between Carl and Ellie from the 2009 movie Up. Everything started with a promise which most people would give up, but Craig and Carl never did. In my opinion, that redefines the meaning of love and marriage for me because everyone should be as loyal and devoted to their spouses as Craig and Carl were to Irene and Ellie. Unfortunately, not everyone is, but I hope that love stories such as Craig and Irene, as well as Carl and Ellie, will inspire people to see that not only can they have that strong relationship, but they can also be that strong committed lover in that relationship. I hope that if I’m married someday, my marriage will be strong as well. Therefore, romance is not dead, it’s alive and well.

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