On June 12th, we celebrated Valentine’s Day in Brazil. Even though this date is celebrated in February for most countries, we end up celebrating it around Saint Anthony’s Day, as he is known for being a match-maker in Catholic traditions. A lot of people who want to get married will pray for Saint Anthony.
In honor of that, I decided to talk about one of my favorite romantic tropes. I already have a post where I shared five of my favorite and least-favorites (and that was also posted during Brazilian Valentine’s Day, lol), but today I will be sharing a specific one that I love.
WHAT IS A TROPE?
In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly. Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom… you know it when you see it. (source)
Today’s trope will be:
I honestly don’t know why I consider this trope so satisfying. I think it’s interesting because you jump into the story already knowing these characters have history; they’re married now, so they were in love once. It’s all about navigating these past feelings that are lying under the surface, as well as facing their most recent problems that have broke them apart.
EXHIBIT #A: YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER, BY SARAH HOGLE
Technically, this couple is not married yet, they’re just engaged, but I think it counts. They have an established relationship that has essentially lost all its spark. They spend most of this book trying to make the other person give up on the wedding, and falling back in love in the process.
It’s a really interesting dynamic to consider they’re enemies to lovers, but already engaged, because that means they know *exactly* what to do to push the other person’s buttons. They know what makes the other person frustrated, and what the other person prefers, so really is as petty and childish as you can imagine, but also very entertaining, ofc.
I think the way the author explored their sexual tension was also really well done. Quickly, their dynamic of “who’s going to give up first?” becomes “who’s going to give in first?” which was equally entertaining.
EXHIBIT #B: LOVE HER OR LOSE HER, BY TESSA BAILEY
I definitely would say this is the book that goes the *hardest* in the failed part. Our main characters, Rose and Dominic, have been married for over a year now, but their relationship has not been the same for a while. They barely talk and their only moment of intimacy is their scheduled sex nights every Tuesday.
I really liked how the book talked about couple’s therapy. Is it uncomfortable, cringey and super awkward? Yes. Did I still devour that? Of course! I don’t know why I liked watching that so much, but I always like seeing characters talk about their significant other to a third person. It’s completely different from the way they talk to each other and most of the times, a lot better.
Even though I do think this book won’t be for everyone, simply because Dominic’s character is one of those overly alpha males that can be tiring to read about, I did find it entertaining AF.
EXHIBIT #C: TO HAVE AND TO HOAX, BY MARTHA WATERS
In this historical romance, James and Violet had a real whirl-wind kind of first year of marriage, but they haven’t properly talked in years now, despite living in the same house. Due to a lot of circumstances, Violet decides to fake an ilness in order to get back her husband’s attention, and everything kind of escalates from there.
I think the journey to these characters is very interesting, because they’ve always had natural banter and agreed to argue a lot, even when their marriage was happy. They’d typically make up in great fashion afterwards, but never truly communicating and understanding why they upset each other. I think it was really nice how the author explored their growth and how they could *not* resolve all their issues just by kissing them away.
Nonetheless, their sexual tension was A+ and so was their banter, as Violet pretends to be sick and they keep playing games. It’s definitely a bit childish, but it was all acknowledged on page, so I think it makes it a little bit better.
EXHIBIT #A: 17 AGAIN
OK, so I know that at first, I strictly watched this movie because Zac Efron was on it, and even though it does have a handful of inappropriate relationships as any movie involving time travel does, I still love and re-watch the heck out of it.
We start out the movie following 17-year-old Mike O’Donnell, who gives up on a basketball scholarship to start a family with his high school sweetheart. When we jump to 17 years later, Mike has a miserable job, which he’s just been fired of and is also divorcing said high school sweetheart. He then gets the chance to go back to his 17 year old body and re-do everything.
Even though it is awkward to see Mike reconnecting with his wife in the body of a 17 year old, it is very interesting to see how he learns from his choices and strives to be there for his wife as much as he can. The speech from the gif above is absolute *chef’s kiss*.
EXHIBIT #B: DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MORGANS
After becoming witnesses of a murder, this divorced couple is thrown in the Witness Protection Program and forced to isolate together in a small town in Wyoming. This movie contains all the country, small white town references you can think of, and it’s hilarious because of that.
But the progression of the relationship is also interesting. Because now that this couple is forced to be together, they have no other option but facing the things that broke them apart and hopefully work through them.
I honestly feel like I had much higher expectations for this movie, and especially considering I don’t like Sarah Jessica Parker, I don’t understand why I thought I’d love it. Still, I think it’s a great example of this trope!
Now, it’s your turn: do you also like the failed marriage trope? Do you have any books, tv shows or movies to recommend that contain said trope? Let me know in the comments!