The Runaway Bride is a wonderful movie that on the surface is very entertaining, but in its core teaches us very valuable life lessons. Maggie is a woman who can't seem to tie the knot. She had run away from three weddings, and was engaged for a fourth time when she met Ike, the New York newspaper reporter writing a story about her. In getting to know each other, they (SPOILER) fall in love, and eventually get married. These are the top ten lessons I took away from watching this movie.
1. We all make mistakes
Maggie is human just like the rest of us. We all jump into situations head first, sometimes we don't think things through, and sometimes we do things for the wrong reasons. Who hasn't? Maggie, played by Julia Roberts, shows us that nobody is perfect.
2. Sometimes we change ourselves to be what other people "want"
With each one of Maggie's fiancé's, she changed herself to be what the man "wanted," or who she thought they wanted her to be. You notice this in her egg order at the local diner. That's right: her egg order. Each fiancé likes their eggs a different way, and when asked by Ike how Maggie like her eggs, each one said, "(insert egg order here), same as me." Each relationship she was in was a reflection of the man and his personality.
3. Sometimes we run away from our problems
Sometimes we have NO idea how to handle life. Do we confront someone? Do we say something? Do we wait and see how things play out? Life isn't black and white. Each action has a reaction, and sometimes we don't know what the reaction will be. Sometimes we run away. Maggie literally ran away, leaving the grooms at the altar. She didn't confront them and tell them how she felt, she fled. Sometimes we do that too. I'm not saying it's okay, but sometimes that's the only way we can see as to how to react.
4. We need to find the real us before we try to share it with someone else
Sometimes we don't know who we are or who we want to be. That's okay. We are not defined by anyone else in this world. After leaving Ike at the altar, Maggie's friend told her that she needs to figure out herself before she can get married. So Maggie makes a ton of eggs in multiple ways and finally found out how she likes them. Not scrambled with salt and dill, not any of the ways her former loves liked them. She liked Eggs Benedict. It took her awhile to figure it out, but once she actually made the time and effort, she figured out that little piece of information about herself.
5. Once we find the real us, that's the person people need to get to know
We should not be afraid to be ourselves. If being yourself is what pushes people away, then those aren't the people who should be in your life, relationships especially. Being alone can be difficult, but so can being in a relationship with someone who doesn't know the real you. Maggie led her fiancé, Gill, to believe that she got a tattoo with him, a rose actually. Years later, he bet that she still had it, and she revealed she didn't. Gill was hurt that she had it removed, but Maggie revealed she never got a real tattoo: she was afraid of needles. Gill didn't know that about information about her, Maggie had never told him. When Maggie dated Ike, she was herself, and he was the only guy who ever truly got to know the real her, and guess what: he's the one who eventually married her. The right person will come at the right time, so just be you and the right people will gravitate towards you.
6. Life gives multiple chances
Look at Maggie: she had four chances, and with the fourth guy she had two chances. While life may not always give a second chance with the same person, it always allows chances for growth. With each relationship we can learn, so that we can grow, and then can improve for the next relationship. Maggie had to find more about herself, so the second time around with Ike she was better: she had her own egg order. He knew her egg order. She had grown. Whether an ex gives you a second chance or not, it's not the end of the world. Learn the lessons you were supposed to learn, and then see what doors open for you down the road.
7. Who people are on the surface may not match who they are deep down. Everyone has struggles we don't know about
Maggie is a very spunky and energetic woman, she seems to have everything. She has no trouble having men like her, she has amazing friends, and is very talented in creating her creative lamp masterpieces. She also has a father with a drinking problem that worsened after her mom passed away. She left school and moved back home to be able to run her dad's store. This wasn't really the life she chose, but the life that was thrown at her. Not everyone who seems happy actually is happy. Some have a lot of personal issues. Some may be happy now, but they may have a very dark past. We don't know until we get to know them, and that takes time, effort, and trust.
8. Judge people not by their actions, but by their reasons
I'm not saying to excuse every bad action done by people, because some people do some nasty things. People sometimes have deep-rooted issues that should be addressed, and when those issues are addressed, they may not perform those bad actions. Maggie was called mean names, and was mocked by the rest of the town for always leaving men at the altar. It may seem mean and cruel, but she had issues about herself that, when she dug deeper, she addressed and she fixed.
It's like when people say that a bully is actually a kid who was bullied themselves. Maybe it's like that girl who will do anything with any man, but actually is trying to feel love and get the attention she never received as a child. Sometimes our actions don't make sense until people get to know our reasons.
9. Life isn't easy, but it's worth the effort
Maggie lost her mom, left school to run her dad's shop, and took care of her father through his drinking problem. However, Maggie never gave up. She went to work every day. She still continued to create unique lamps in her free time. She remained in close contact with her friends that she knew her whole entire life. Things aren't always handed to us in life, sometimes they're actually taken away from us, but we keep trying, and we keep remembering all that we do have. There's always light that can be found in our darkness.
10. Sometimes the people we leave, or those who leave us, aren't gone forever
Maggie lived in a very small town, and so it was kind of hard not to remain in contact with her exes. Ike, however, was from New York, so once she left him it was very understandable if once he left he never came back. Maggie surprised him in New York after she had taken time to discover herself, and she proposed. I don't know from experience, but I can imagine that being left at the altar can be very emotionally damaging. Pride is lost, and that's especially tough if you're a guy, we women know how you like to keep your pride. This being said, it would be very understandable for Ike to not want anything to do with Maggie, but, (SPOILER), that's not what happened. He listened to her, he forgave her, and then they got married. Mistakes are made everyday, but hope is not lost. We never have the chance to grow and learn if we never make mistakes. So if you're someone in despair over mistakes made in a relationship, know that doors aren't always closed forever. With time and effort things can be fixed be made even better than they ever were before.