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What the movie “Prancer” can teach us about relationships

It’s that time of year again when there’s more Christmas movies our family wants to watch then days in December! Today’s pick was “Prancer”. It’s never been a favorite of mine, but my kids were enjoying it so I decided to soak up their cuddles and tuned in. It was near the end of the movie, when a line struck me. The scene was between the father and daughter; their relationship had been strained since the loss of the child’s mother and due to that and some other circumstances, the child decided to run away. The quote that struck me was after the child was back at home with her dad. She said, “I didn’t really want to run away. I just wanted you to find me and bring me back here and tell me things are going to be okay—like they use to be.”- Jessica Riggs (Prancer). What a beautiful and emotional moment! I can’t help but think how this applies to adult relationships. 


Oftentimes our words and our actions toward our partner or spouse are saying something completely different than what we mean. Sometimes partners “run away”, sometimes they yell hurtful things, sometimes they ignore or pretend they don’t care. When we see our lovers leave or hear their harsh words, it’s easy to assume that they don’t care and they don’t want to be with you. But what if we explored what’s underneath these responses and reactions? Would our assumptions be right or would we find different emotions and hear a different message?


These are the changing moments between couples when, instead of choosing our default response of dealing with pain (I.e., running away or becoming angry), we choose to explore, acknowledge, and share these underlying emotions. By tuning in to these deeper emotions, we become more aware of what we’re needing and can also convey this to our partner. Like the child in the movie, her pain led her to run away, but upon returning, she tried something different - she was vulnerable, expressing what she really needed. And aren’t we all like that at times? Wanting to run away from our pain because it’s too hard to deal with alone? Don’t we all want someone, our special person, to find us and bring us home and tell us everything will be ok? Our home isn’t just the place we sleep at night; it’s often our safe haven, our place where we feel loved and accepted, a place we belong. We long for this; this need is ingrained in us. Your partner has the chance to create this kind of home - you have the chance to create this kind of home together. Running away or getting angry usually doesn’t get our needs met. Being vulnerable and directly expressing our needs can. This isn’t always easy to do and certainly takes practice, but once you and your partner are able to express your deeper emotions and ask for your needs to be met, you’ll feel closer, safer, and more loved in your relationship. You’ll feel at home with the reassurance that everything is ok.  


Authentically,

Joey 

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Knoxville Center for Marriage Counseling
305 Ebenezer Road
Knoxville, TN 37923
Phone: 865-236-0420
Email: joey@centerformarriagecounseling.com