Chris Pratt and Anna Faris: Is Love Really Dead?

| August 10, 2017

Though many might believe that their ideas about love and the meaning of love are products of philosophy and objective truths—it’s probably more accurate to say that their beliefs about “love” are influenced by culture, especially by celebrities and people plastered on television and social media.

With the news of another celebrity break-up, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, it seems that we have a new crisis on our hands. All of our ideas about love must be must be re-evaluated since a set of cultural role models we really thought were “meant to be” came crashing down.

And should we blame ourselves for looking up to these people?

The short answer is: no. With the ease that social media gives us to constantly track the lives of celebrities, it’s quite easy to latch onto these faces and want to mimic their lives. But the result of this ease is that we can’t help but form role models out of people we don’t really know at all.

We have an undeniable desire to see love succeed in couples and families, but we fill this void with celebrities, strangers, and their stories—whether we know they are true or not.

The phrase “Love is Dead” has been echoing all over social media in response to Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, but their story is not proof that “Love is Dead.” Love is quite alive and thriving. It’s the choice to love that is becoming a dying breed.

While I do not know these people personally and do not aim to reflect any presumptions or conclusions about them— their situation, which they have presented to the public, is one worth evaluating.

If we take what we have heard about this latest separation to be true, the reasons for this decision came from a difference in beliefs about the family. And this tid-bit is one that should turn our heads. We want to believe that family keeps love alive, and that love can only possibly be interrupted by scandal or egregious behavior. But here it seems that something good has caused a separation. One partner wanting time as a family together and another having a career that currently necessitates being away for long periods at a time.

So what’s going on? Is true love “dead” and impossible today like our media says?

Evaluating this situation, we find that what is dying-out is not love itself, but the choice to love: the choice to keep up promises made in the union of marriage and the family. When one vows to love “from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part,” that means expecting challenges of the world and not letting those difficulties stop the love that is meant to transcend the world and its hardship.

And maybe the problem isn’t with love at all, but with who we set up as our role models for success in love.

We can find other role models who suffered the same challenges as this celebrity couple, yet persevered in love. One example is St. Gianna Beretta Molla and her husband Pietro, a modern 20th century couple with normal lives and occupations. Pietro, an engineer, had to take many work trips and be away from Gianna for long periods of time while she was at home working as a physician and taking care of their family. However, they wrote letters to each other and persevered through these times of being away from each other, letters that we can actually pick up and read in the book The Journey of Our Love.

Another example of such a pair in history is an emperor, Charles of Austria and his wife Zia. Even though he was away at war during World War I, he installed a telephone wire from his military station to the palace where his wife was so that he could call her many times a day. Despite the stress and responsibilities of being a royal man involved in a war, his choice to preserve their love kept their marriage alive. He is even called Blessed Charles of Austria in the Catholic Church.

So what is the difference between these persevering couples and the ones we see in our mainstream culture? Choice. The trials and challenges we experience are often not forever-challenges. They change with time and are often temporary, but we must make the choice to love in a way that transcends these worldly difficulties and helps alleviate them.

So, if you are mourning over the latest celebrity split thinking that love is dead—do not lose hope. Instead, read and learn about other couples, whether in history or in your own lives. Come to know these people, whether that means talking to them or reading the accounts of successful couples and families. When we set up role-models of true love who believe in the family and work toward that love, we can begin to value love more and reflect success in our own lives.

To say that family breaks up love is a deceptive lie: when we pursue the family and love the family, it should only make us stronger and able to handle life’s challenges. Hopefully by re-evaluating our role-models, we can also start to change our culture so that more people can discover a true love that persists through challenges.