8 lessons about romance in It’s a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

“George Bailey, I’ll love you ‘til the day I die.” Mary leans over the counter and whispers in George’s ear.

Only he doesn’t hear her, because he can’t hear out of his right ear.

Mary has her heart set on George from a young age. She sees his strong character up close and personal when he saves Mr. Gower from going to jail-and a young girl’s life.

As the story goes, George and Mary fall in love and the crux of the movie is in this line from an angel named Clarence: “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around it leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

If you haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life, it’s a must-watch this Christmas. I remember watching it as a little girl and hoping one day a man would come along as handsome and charming and selfless as George Bailey.

George and Mary’s love for one another can teach us all a thing or two about romance-not the over-sexualized Hollywood romance or the cotton-candy fluff in movies-but true, enduring love that’s soul-cry is, “love no matter what”.

Here are 8 things we can learn about romance from It’s a Wonderful Life:

(Disclaimer: it doesn’t involve vague texts, giving up when things get hard, having ‘experiences’ before settling down, or twerking).

  1. The importance of a woman knowing and saying how she feels. Mary knows George is who she wants to be with when they’re just kids. She  leans over the counter and tells him.
  2. The art of flirting. Mary can teach all of us a thing or two about flirting. Walking home twirling the tie to her bathrobe after they’ve just fallen in the pool draws George in. She is classy and she knows how to flirt. Watch the scene below.
  3. Patience to wait for the right one. After the infamous pool incident, Mary has to wait 4 years until George comes back to her. Thank goodness she didn’t settle.
  4. Falling in love is easy. Marriage is when it gets hard. The couple’s marriage starts off with them forgoing their honeymoon to save the Building & Loan, George’s father’s legacy. The romance and tension building up to marriage is exciting; living in marriage brings challenges, but these challenges show a deeper love: one woven in dedication and servanthood. They don’t bail just because it’s not easy or they meet someone else. Love is commitment, not if things get hard, but when. 
  5. Sometimes you don’t know what you want in life until you’re with the right person. All George dreams of his entire life is getting out of Bedford Falls. He wants to see the world. He wants to do anything but work at his father’s business in a “crummy old town”. But then he meets Mary and builds a life with her right in the old town he wanted to forget. And he realizes just how much he has.
  6. Being with the one you love is all that matters. After forgoing their honeymoon and giving all their money to save George’s father’s business, Mary turns a run-down house into a wonderful place-and eventually home-for her and George to spend their first night together in.
  7. Character is what counts. All of the character qualities Mary loves about George bore fruit when Clarence is able to show him all the lives he touched throughout his life.
  8. A woman’s belief in a man is invaluable. I love how Mary  doesn’t waste time and ralleys around George and calls in his friend’s to help. We see her strength and most of all her deep love for her husband and belief in what he stands for.

Michael Dean, thanks for being my George Bailey, the best man in town. I’ll love you ‘til the day I die.

Have you seen It’s a Wonderful Life? What kind of Christmas traditions do you have in your family?

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9 Responses to “8 lessons about romance in It’s a Wonderful Life”
  1. Tatuu says:

    Now I want to watch that movie!

  2. Morgan says:

    The title says there’s 10 lessons, but the article only has 8.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for writing.

  3. Mallory says:

    Seriously my FAVORITE Christmas movie. Thank you for sharing! I have never looked at it that way but now I will watch again, with different eyes:)

  4. Natalie says:

    Hot Dog!

  5. Jennifer says:

    Again-if falling in love was so easy, there wouldn’t be so many singles out there.

    • Steven says:

      Yes, Hollywood has a propensity to show love happening so easily, but I do think this film does a very good job at adequately displaying the wait and struggle. Consider how long Mary waited. George Bailey is no youngster when he finally begins courting Mary. If I recall Harry (the younger brother) is out of college and with his beau when George finally gets together with Mary (it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the film, so my timeline may be a bit skewed). Although the love story happens in a typical two hour Hollywood fashion there are large gaps of time that are spanned. Mary loved George from the time she was a youngster in the film and waits a long time.

      I am thankful in a way that love is not easy. If it was I feel like there would be a mad dash to find a girl before she was swept off her feet and in your case a guy. I keep reminding myself that the harder the labor the greater the outcome. We don’t know how long we will have to wait for a spouse, but even if it’s our entire lives when we die and become wedded to Jesus Christ for eternity, how much sweeter of a wedding feast could one ask for? Secondly, I remind myself that 80 years (give or take) on this earth is nothing in comparison to eternity where marriage will no longer matter. Not to say I still don’t struggle with loneliness…as I often do especially this time of year when Christmas shopping seems so empty without buying for a special loved one. I will pray that you stay encouraged, content, and hopeful in the grand plan God has in store for your life :-)

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