The Vow: A wife who chose the hard path of forgiveness

 PG 13, 2012 ‧ Drama/Romance ‧ 1h 44m

Synopsis: The Vow is based on the actual relationship of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who wrote a book about their marriage, also known as The Vow.  Ten weeks after their wedding on September 18, 1993, the couple was involved in a serious car accident. Krickitt suffered a brain trauma, which erased all memories of her romance with Kim as well as their marriage. Kim was still deeply in love with his wife, although she viewed him as a stranger after the accident.


No, I’m not a Rachel McAdams groupie.  I just felt compelled to say that since she’s the lead actress in two of my three romantic movie reviews.  Ever since her explosive success in The Notebook, Hollywood has been trying to recreate that box office magic, so she’s been cast in a good number of romance movies. However, she’s NOT the “wife” I’m referring to in this movie.  The wife I’m referencing plays McAdam’s mother, who actually plays a minor role.

While I have to admit that it’s admirable how The Vow demonstrates the great lengths the husband goes through in honoring his matrimonial “vow” to his wife (hence the films’ title), it has a few things that may make you fast forward more than once, so BEWARE.  It’s not a Christian film and it’s not for kids.  That being said, you don’t have to see this movie to appreciate my point.

During the entire movie, there’s one thing that stood out to me – my take home point.  One killer statement out of the entire film concerning a wife’s rationale for why she forgave her husband’s infidelity.

This wife I’m talking about is Rachel McAdams’ mother, who is played by Jessica Lange.  She forgave her husband’s unscrupulous infidelity.  (Not to suggest that any infidelity is scrupulous, but this husband cheated with his daughter’s close friend, seriously traumatizing his family.)

I think Hollywood really got this one point right. . . and I want to commend them for this portrayal because most movies would have used the husband’s infidelity to legitimize the wife leaving her husband (think any Tyler Perry film).  The couple’s own daughter, years later, is still struggling to forgive her father’s infidelity.

One day, the daughter (McAdams) finally approaches her mother, and in disbelief (bordering disgust) asks her why she is still with her father after such a grotesque marital offense.  The mother – while gardening and stooped over a bed of flowers – simply replies: “I chose to stay with him for everything that he did right . . . not for the one thing he did wrong.”  {Insert angelic chorus here!}  I consider that response to be sheer poetry.  It was music to my ears and I was quite moved by it.

I’ve never ever heard a wife’s character in any movie provide such a rationale for staying with her cheatin’ husband.  It was so simple, yet so powerful.  It spoke volumes!  I believe it should be an anthem for Christian women (who regrettably and sadly experience this kind of betrayal). Yes, God can even help us do the hard and messy work of forgiving an unfaithful spouse.

This is not a Christian film but some writer or producer definitely tapped into some good Bible teaching and got this message right.  At no time while watching this movie did I ever get the impression that the writers were trying to secretly slip in a Biblical principle, yet they did; and I thought it was amazing!

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this movie so I can’t quite recall if this wife was painted as a “weak” woman (as most current Hollywood movies would portray a woman who chose her path: the hard path of forgiveness), but I really don’t believe she was.  I’ve never forgotten that movie line.  The depth and beauty of it will stay with me all of my days.

There is hope for the marriage struggling from infidelity.  That hope is Christ!


Up next in this series…

The Pursuit of Happiness: A wife who lacks the strength to endure hard times.

The Theory of Everything: A wife who lost her look of love.

I’ve shared this article at these fabulous faith and family link-ups.

Here’s one of the best articles I’ve read on a marriage making a comeback from infidelity.

Focus on the Family Resources:

Let’s flourish in family life together!

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  1. I haven’t seen this movie, but that really is a powerful statement about forgiveness. And you’re right–forgiveness isn’t weakness but strength. Found you from the Faith ‘N Friends linkup!

  2. Thanks Tiffany. I almost stopped reading at the co-habitation and nudity, but glad I didn’t. I loved that one statement about choosing to stay with him for everything he did right, not the one thing he did wrong. Powerful!

    • Hi Debbie! I’m so glad you stopped by. I’m also glad that you didn’t stop reading. I think this is a worthy point. Thanks for sharing. I really appreciate your feedback! :o)

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