The Therapeutic Value of Romantic Comedies

The Therapeutic Value of Romantic Comedies

7.1 My Story

There is nothing funny about a spouse having a chronic or terminal illness. There indeed isn’t anything comical about caring for them and all the nuisances involved with the daily routine.

Over the years, I had heard time and time again that opposites attract. My experience would agree with the statement. Many times I have been told I am the least spontaneous person alive.

Maybe my living my life structured like a German railroad schedule or the fact I grew up in a career military family and then was a US Army officer helped influence me in this arena. My wife enjoyed the structure of routine but also loved the unexpected blessings of life. Where I needed a to-do list and schedule for my day and had my day disrupted with change, she embraced the unexpected.

I also am a very stoic person. Again, being a military officer affected me in this area. I believe nearly twenty-years of full-time Christian ministry also had me being the rock of stability in stressful situations. I was the steady influence, the calm in the storm for so many. It allowed me to officiate funerals of friends and even my parents with a solemn seriousness that my wife sometimes hated and caused others to refer to me as a robot-man.

I remember the surgical oncologist actively encouraging me to lighten up. She said my serious all the time attitude was contagious. My constant seriousness was gloomy and the incorrect disposition for my wife to catch.

The doctor added attitude is crucial when dealing with a chronic illness like my wife’s cancer. The cheerfulness of mind does good like a medicine for the body. Our outlook contributes to the restoration or preservation of bodily health and vigor.

Medical science tells us the red blood cells, most white blood cells, and platelets are produced in the bone marrow, the soft fatty tissue inside bone cavities. Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) teaches, “A poor spirit/attitude ‘drieth the bones’ which produce the needed cells.”

The surgical oncologist encouraged me to watch romantic comedies, funny situation comedies, and even some comedy specials with my wife. She said they would get us both laughing. It would help me to lighten my mood. It would help with my wife’s healing. She said there is therapeutic value in watching romantic comedies.

The medical doctor questioned my expectation of the value of the prescribed treatments asking if I was already given over to my wife’s death to cancer. She said it was too early to give up hope. She said those with a more positive attitude live longer. Her little talk helped me to recalibrate my thinking and adjust my outlook. She said I should embrace the time I would have with my spouse. Maybe my making that small change in viewpoint contributed to my spouse’s living almost two years longer than first anticipated. Only God knows if it did.

By the way, we can learn a lot if we read our Bible.

7.2 Learning to Laugh

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is learning to laugh.

7.3 Bible Verse

Proverbs 17:22 (KJV), “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

7.4 What the Verse Means

Our attitude is crucial when dealing with a chronic illness. The cheerfulness of our mind does good like a medicine for the body. Our opinion contributes to the restoration or preservation of bodily health and vigor.

7.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Lord Jesus, help me to enjoy the funny things that happen in life.
  • Heavenly Father help me to take life one day at a time.
  • God, help me, and my family and friends to not dwell on the seriousness of the chronic illness, but rather help us to live life to the fullest as we know You hold the future.

7.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. How is your attitude? Do you need an attitude adjustment? If so, God can help. Ask Him.
  2. Are you remaining affirming and confident? Remember, your outlook and attitude are catching. I’m not talking about some false it’s going to be all better attitude but a realistic today is going to be a good day attitude — and I’m going to do my best to make it a good day approach instead of a gloom and doom outlook.
  3. What can you do to bring joy and laughter today? Is there a favorite movie or comedy series you could watch together?

7.7 Takeaway

As you care for your loved one, a positive attitude helps.

If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

5 thoughts on “The Therapeutic Value of Romantic Comedies

  1. During the first 40 years of my marriage I would indulge my late wife, Miss Benita, with a good chick flick once in a while, the majority of our movie watching tended to be science fiction, James Bond, war movies, and musicals. When she was declared terminally ill with Melanoma Cancer the oncologist suggested I “lighten up” and watch romantic comedies and romances with my wife. It would help improve both of our attitudes she said.

    Here’s a partial list of what we watched. I confess while some were squeaky clean, some were outside the squeaky clean “Christian values” boundary (e.g. Grease). Society would make them a PG or PG-13. Many we watched over and over. So many were oldies but goodies. They are not listed in any order. Click some for language and some had sex outside of marriage.

    1. Pride & Prejudice (2006 version) – the movie with Kiera Knightly (and Mr. Darcey)
    2. Grease – John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
    3. Sabrina – both the original version with Humphrey Bogart and Audrey Hepburn and the remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond.
    4. Mama Mia! – the original with Meryl Streep
    5.The Shop Around the Corner – starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan.
    6. You’ve Got Mail – it was the 1990s remake of The Shop Around the Corner with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks
    7. Penelope – Christina Ricci, James McAvoy, Reese Witherspoon, Richard E. Grant
    8. Emma – Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi, Alan Cumming
    9. Anchors Aweigh – Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Gene Kelly,
    10. All That Heaven Allows – Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson, Agnes Moorehead, Conrad Nagel
    11. An Affair to Remember – Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr, Richard Denning, Neva Patterson
    12. Anne of Avonlea – Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst
    13. Ask Any Girl – David Niven, Shirley MacLaine
    14. Becoming Jane – Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell
    15. Daddy Long Legs – Fred Astaire, Leslie Caron, Terry Moore, Thelma Ritter
    16. Enchanted -Amy Adams, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden
    17. Funny Face – Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Kay Thompson, Michel Auclair
    18. I.Q. – Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, Walter Matthau, Lou Jacobi
    19. Kate & Leopold – Meg Ryan, Hugh Jackman,
    20. The Princess Bride – Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon

    There are so many more, but these are some we watched a lot.

  2. Wow, Jimmie – thanks for you honesty and vulnerability. I can have a bad attitude at times, and I always jokingly tell myself that I’m not being a pessimist; I’m just being a realist. Well, even I don’t believe myself! Your post is a good reminder when I slip into that attitude. Oh, and I LOVE clean, funny romantic chick-flicks! My daughter and I enjoy watching some of the same ones over and over and over!!!

  3. Jimmie, what commedies did you enjoy? Sharing your list would be a great follow-up to this post! I find laughter helps with the stresses that enter our lives.

Leave a Reply