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Now that Scarlett is getting older she’s learning to appreciate the wonder of Disney movies. The current one that is on repeat is Frozen . ("I’m not crying…you’re crying!") That means that I have also spent my fair share of time with the film with her.
Frozen: A new look at the characters
Frozen is a harrowing story of two sisters who begin the movie with the relationship you would expect of young girls. Playful…until someone gets hurt. Elsa the one with the magical power to make things frozen accidentally hits her sister Anna and after a visit to some trolls, is made well at the cost of remembering her sister’s special powers. The parents are trying their best to protect both girls and so keep them separated and secure in their castle. And while Anna tries to figure out why Elsa doesn’t spend time with her, Elsa is trying to gain control of her powers. After many years their parents get on a ship to travel and end up dying at sea (I know it got dark quickly). Fast forward a few years and when these two young women begin connecting with people again you see the impact of their trauma in the way they related to others.
In Milan & Kay Yerkovich’s book “How We Love", attachment theory is applied to how people relate to each other and correspondence is found between trauma and insecure attachments to parents, and broken relational patterns with spouses and others. When you consider Anna and Elsa’s actions through the lens of attachment theory and the “intimacy imprint” left by the loss of their parents and their relationship to each other their actions can be explained.
The character Anna fits the profile of what the Yerkovichs would call a vacillator. Vacillators experience a secure attachment and then lose that attachment and find themselves abandoned, longing for connection and intimacy. Vacillators often idealize relationships at their inception and have an intensity and passion that is attractive initially. That’s why she was ready to marry a man on the first day they met ("We finish each other’s…..sandwiches?!").
Elsa is what the Yerkovichs would call an avoider. Avoiders often have to parent themselves, and living with a super power that even your parents need to be worried about, would place an enormous amount of pressure on a young girl. It would be hard for anyone to grow up so quickly and then lose your parents. Under pressure avoiders avoid. So when her sister continues to pressure her after Elsa refused to bless her new engagement, she lets it go. ("Let it gooooo!..." You’re welcome!) Running away she distances herself and is prepared to live alone forever.
Now that you can never watch Frozen the same way again, why would I even write about this?
February: A Month of Love
February is a month that often idealizes love. It can leave those with out a special someone feeling lonely and lost. For others it is a reminder of what was or what wasn’t, or what will never be. It is a cultural rhythm that drives consumerism and is part of the engine that is capitalism. And don’t get me wrong… I do intend to buy Lauren flowers and have a nice meal with her. But it’s also an opportunity to acknowledge that we’re all figuring life and love out in a broken and fallen world.
What gives us hope is that no matter where we’ve been or what we’ve experienced, there is One who loves us with a perfect love, an enduring love, a healing love. That troubled pasts are no match for an ever-present Redeemer.
Bethany's Marriage Electives
While Disney movies often promise a "happily ever after" scenario, we know that relationships between real people require real effort at building a strong foundation, based on God's plan. At Bethany, we want to support marriages and families. Starting February 9th we will be offering a 4 week series called “Take a Vow.” It’s for anyone who is engaged or newly married and will look at family of origin through attachment theory, range of intimacy, how to fight well and what to do with money. Then on March 9, we will host a second 4-week class for couples who have been married any number of years. This class will be entitled "Happily Ever After". For both of these classes, we will be partnering with the Center for Individual and Family Therapy (CIFT) and are looking forward to seeing how God will use them to enrich the relationships of those new to marriage and those who have been married for a while.
If you are interested in attending or know someone who might benefit from this class you can sign up on our website at www.bethanylb.org.