I’ve never seen the movie Shall We Dance, but I ran across a quote from the movie not too long ago that really moved me. I loved it so much that I put it up on my Facebook info page under the quotes section so I wouldn’t forget it… and promptly forgot about it. Recently I was looking at my info page and the quotes on there and saw the quote again… and it nicely tied into a topic I’d been thinking about writing for the blog. Here’s the quote:
“We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.” — Susan Sarandon (Shall We Dance)
Here’s the actual scene from the movie on YouTube, which I just found and watched.
Out of context, the quote is intensely romantic but resonates with The Truth that many of us search for in our lives. Actually seeing the context of the scene from the movie gives it some depth. Apparently Susan Sarandon’s character hires a private detective to find out information on her husband, who she presumably thinks is being unfaithful to her, and in this scene she says these lines and goes on to inform the detective that she will no longer be needing his services.
The idea of a committed couple — married or not — being a witness to each others lives is exactly what I hope to find one day. It suggests a deep level of caring and sharing out of want rather than need.
There’s a difference between someone who needs to be with you and someone who wants to be with you. A need indicates some emptiness you can fill, something broken you can fix. It’s basically a connection to something negative within that person. You’re a balm, a band-aid… and ultimately you’re something temporary or interchangeable with someone else.
A want on the other hand signifies desire, which suggests a connection to something positive. Rather than filling in a hole you’re building something up, constructing something new… adding, strengthening. A want is something more precious and valued, something unique to hold onto and cherish.
She needs something to eat because it’s the afternoon and she skipped breakfast and lunch– she needs something to fill that hole and anything will do. It could be a big salad or pizza or a burger, she’ll gobble it down and be satisfied just to satisfy that hunger.
She needs someone because she’s lonely. She needs someone to share her empty bed. She needs a partner so she doesn’t feel like a fifth wheel around other couples. These are all feelings tied into something negative within her or some perceived deficiency in her life, and it probably doesn’t matter so much that you don’t really share each others interests.
She wants that mocha cappuccino because the flavors make her tastebuds sing and the warmth feels good against the cold. She wants a bowl of steamed shrimp because it’s delicious, it’s been awhile since she had some and it reminds her of family trips to the beach. She wants to bake a cake to celebrate a special occasion with friends.
She wants to spend time with me because I make her laugh. She wants me in her bed because she wants to wake up in my arms and listen to me breathing, and wonder what I’m dreaming about. She wants to share and experience new things together, to build memories and have adventures. She wants to be a witness to my life and for me to be a witness to her life because she knows both of us will be even better for it.
In my past relationships I don’t think that I’ve ever really been wanted rather than needed… but I’m certain one day I’ll find my witness.
What do you think?