The Twilight Fervor
The Twilight fervor seems to be heating up again with the release of the next movie in the Twilight saga. What isn't being talked about though is its potentially negative effects on relationships.
After seeing this disturbing Twilight parody music video, and hearing about "Twilight Moms" and such on Oprah, it seemed necessary to comment on the Twilight phenomenon, and it's detrimental effects on marriages.
What may begin as harmless fun or a little escapism from the rigors of real life can easily become an obsession--especially if there is a void in one's life that is hankering to be filled.
If the connection in marriage is already weak, and there is little happening to nourish it, filling the void with a fantasy is an easy snare to slip into.
For today's "desperate housewives" it may be fun to feed the fantasy of a man who's every breath is focused on her protection and his own self-restraint, all the while being extremely dangerous. His obsessed adoration may be a turn on, but the reality is that real men have a real life with other responsibilities. It's not all about you.
I can only imagine how husbands of "Twi-hards" might be feeling about their wife's Twilight fixation. Most men can handle a passing heart palpitation or two for the hunk on the big screen, but beyond that it can be a bit of a slap in the face.
And seeing the kids of so-called "Twilight Moms" say that their mom loves "Edward" or "Jacob" more than them is a sad commentary on how Twilight can affect family life as well.
It's quite astounding to hear of grown women--mothers no less--spending so much time and attention on all things Twilight.
Women caught in the Twilight fervor may not even be aware that it has become obsessive. They may need to ask themselves how much time and energy they are spending thinking about Twilight-related things in a given day? If someone where to ask their husband or children about Twilight, what would they say?
It might be a good idea to ask your husband or kids what they think about Twilight if you do happen to be a big Twilight fan. They will likely be able to provide some perspective.
What's the Big Deal? Where's the Danger?
Some might ask, "What's the big deal? Where's the danger in a little Twilight obsession? One of the biggest issues with Twilight is that it paints an unrealistic picture of what love and relationships are all about.
Other concerns include the time wasted that could be better spent, and how it may be weakening relationships.
The love between Bella and Edward is so intense and obsessive in its own right that it can imprint our minds with what love is or "should be." That makes for pretty impossible expectations for a real-life husband (or boyfriend--for the young women also obsessed with Twilight) to meet.
How can any real man compare to the fantasy? An over-abundance of chick flicks or other romance novels can have the same effect.
Husbands may become even less motivated to please their wives if they know they are competing with a fantasy--it's a contest they can't win. Most men won't even try.
It makes for a vicious cycle of a woman feeling unloved--making her more susceptible to the Twilight fantasy, and the husband being less likely to even try to connect with her.
It's comparable to an obsession a husband may have with pornography. The more he indulges the less she wants anything to do with him, which makes him feel even more rejected and more susceptible to the fantasy world of pornography.
Wives can't compete with that fantasy either.
Another potential danger is simply the time and energy spent on something other than one's spouse and family, or other worthwhile endeavors. It's an opportunity cost.
If you're reading the books or watching Twilight movies all day you can't be spending quality time with your husband and/or kids. It's not just the woman that gushes about seeing the movies 300 times that may be creating a negative effect in her family.
Time and energy spent on any addiction or compulsive behavior is inherently self-centered, which feeds the obsession itself. Getting outside yourself and refocusing on the welfare of others can help break any obsessive behavior.
It's also a pretty cool gift for a husband to see renewed attention and affection when it had previously been going to Edward or Jacob.
One last danger of a Twilight obsession is that relationships can be weakened. Those that are most susceptible to getting caught up in the Twilight drama are those who likely already have weaker relationships. A Twilight obsession is likely to be an additional means of weakening the marriage further.
I can only imagine how I would feel if my husband were to become obsessed with Megan Fox or anything having to do with Angelina Jolie, even just for fun. It definitely wouldn't help the relationship, and would more likely become a constant source of frustration and resentment.
The Effects on the Intimate Relationship
Given the work I do with couples in their intimate/sexual relationships, I can see how particularly damaging a "Twilight Crush" can be in a marriage. Many men long to have their wives feel affectionate--even sexy--toward them.
When a husband sees his wife enthralled with a fantasy man, but rarely feels such attention from her himself it can be rather disheartening.
Women are wired for emotional connection, so they are more than happy to bask in the eager anticipation, and the mental and emotional longing that a romance novel or obsession with a book or movie character can provide.
For some women the extra thrill is that the psychological excitement can be a pleasure in its own right without it having to lead to "other things."
This is why women are more often accused of a bait and switch after marriage when their premarital teasing and flirty behavior can now lead to "other things." Some husbands complain of finding a less-than-affectionate wife after marriage when she was previously very affectionate and even sexy towards him.
Because of women's sexual wiring they can be quite content to linger in a state of mental and emotional arousal created by a Twilight fantasy without it going further in the sexual cycle.
This may also be one of the reasons women get away with a Twilight addiction more than men can get away with a pornography problem.
Potential Marital Benefits from Twilight
Some women swear that Twilight has improved their sex lives. What they may not realize is that anytime a woman reads a book or does something that encourages her to think romantic thoughts more often it has the potential of increasing her sexual desire and activity--particularly when that desire is taken into her marital bedroom.
Twilight books or movies can stoke a woman's intimate fires for her husband if she were to direct those energies towards her spouse. Rather than feeding the frenzy and obsessing about Twilight to fit in with one's girlfriends, thinking romantically about one's husband throughout the day and night could instead nourish the marriage.
Putting your husband's face on the romantic scenarios you play over and over in your mind can keep the focus where it should be--on your husband! Looking at your spouse the way you would look into the eyes of your fantasy man, and nourishing intimate thoughts about your spouse are other helpful behaviors to strengthen the intimate relationship in marriage.
The stirred up excitement created by Twilight can actually provide a spark for your own marriage if you will direct the thoughts and emotions toward the man you already have--and can actually hold.
If Twilight obsessed women would direct even half of their intimate and erotic energies towards their husbands and the real-life fantasy available to them, their marriage relationship would be greatly strengthened and become infinitely more satisfying.
Laura M. Brotherson is the author of the bestselling book on sexual intimacy and marital oneness entitled, And They Were Not Ashamed—Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment. Laura shares her passion for building strong marriages and families as an author, intimacy educator, blogger, and show host of “The Marital Intimacy Show” (www.TheMaritalIntimacyShow.com).
Visit her website www.StrengtheningMarriage.com to learn more, and to sign up for her “Straight Talk about Strengthening Marriage” newsletter. StrengtheningMarriage.com is your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages…intimately!