“The Day the Earth Stood Still”….Contemplating Divorce

I recently (re-)watched this film.  I watched the remake with Keanu Reeves and John Cleese.

In the film, the alien (played by Reeves) has a conversation with a physicist (played by Cleese).  Reeves has just explained that he/his race will kill all the earth’s inhabitants because humans are killing the earth (in addition to each other).  Below is their dialog.

I ask that you read this with the idea of a couple contemplating divorce in mind.  Think of the Reeves character as a marital therapist or that part of a person who doesn’t want to divorce.  Think of the Cleese character as the couple, responding to Reeves.

Reeves:  “Your problem is not technology…it’s you.  You lack the will to change.”

Cleese:  “Then help us change.”

Reeves:  “I cannot change your nature.  You treat the world as you treat each other.”

Cleese:  “But every civilization reaches a crisis point eventually.”

Reeves:  “Most of them do not make it.”

Cleese:  “Yours did. How?”

Reeves:  “Our sun was dying.  We had to evolve in order to survive.”

Cleese:  “So, it was only when your world was threatened with destructions that you

became what you are now.”

Reeves:  “Yes.”

Cleese:  “Well, that is where we are now.  You say we are on the brink of destruction

and you are right, but it is only on the brink that people find the will to

change.  Only at the precipice do we evolve.  This is our moment.  Don’t

take it from us.  We are close to an answer.”

Obviously, I don’t threaten couples I see with destruction and there are those couples that divorce is the best option.

The gold in this dialog is the fact that the people must be willing to change to avoid divorce…but further, that married life demands that each person change…evolve…become a different person if the marriage is to succeed.  People expect the therapist to change them.  We can’t do that.  We can only help them look at themselves, what they are considering doing and what the possible consequences of the decision to divorce, in an attempt to help them decide if divorce is the best move.

Another important point in this conversation is that the only place where one finds the motivation to avoid divorce is on the brink of divorce.  Not uncommon in life…to find life’s answers in the most inconvenient places.  It requires that we, each of us, have the maturity to not react to life but to think our way through it, even in its most painful of time