By Todd McFliker
In this week’s new DVD release, 2009’s City Island, Andy Garcia heads a hilarious family in the Bronx that doesn’t share their habits, aspirations, and careers with one another. Whether its smoking cigarettes, taking acting classes, working nights, or naughty fetishes, every member of the Rizzo family has their fair share of secrets. Beside laughter, families can see how harmful lies can be, as well as the importance of good talking and listening skills from the offbeat comedy.
City Island Teaches Funny Tales of Marriage Education
In City Island, spectators get to see ways that a dysfunctional family learns how to improve their contact with one another. Of course, everybody learns their lessons the hard way, and that’s what makes the story so funny. But there’s nothing to laugh at when it’s your real-life family going through the everyday struggles.
Learn the Four Stages of Relationship with Marriage Education
One of the first lessons couples learn in PAIRS relationship and marriage education classes is about the natural stages of our closest relationships: Illusion, Disillusion, Confusion and Conclusion.
In the “Illusion” stage, it’s easy to find the amazing qualities in another person because that’s what we’re looking for. It might be a simple gift, smile, evening at the movies, or a diamond ring. It’s not hard to find what’s right in a person or relationship when we want to, which is typically the focus in the Illusion stage. But true love begins with seeing and accepting another person, not as the illusion of our fantasies, but the multi-dimensional human work in progress common to each of us. As you’ll quickly discover in City Island, the Rizzo family’s guarded secrets have them all hiding behind their own illusions.
The second stage, “Disillusion,” begins when we begin focusing on finding what’s wrong in another person. Any human being is easy to pick apart when that’s our intention. Power struggles and dirty fighting, known as the “Confusion” stage, can become commonplace as we falsely assume it’s all about the other person needing to change. When their daughter loses her college scholarship, see how the Rizzo’s respond.
“Most every family has their struggles and secrets, although some hide them better than others,” says Seth Eisenberg, President of the nonprofit PAIRS Foundation, an industry leader in relationship and marriage education. “Realizing that differences and challenges are a natural part of life and relationships is a valuable lesson.”
“Many of the couples we see in PAIRS classes arrive in the confusion stage,” Eisenberg adds. “They may not realize the influence of their own perspective as they try to change loved ones instead of themselves.” Pain and disappointment can leak out as blame, sarcasm, name calling and the silent treatment.
When it comes to the “Confusion” stage, marriage education is often highly effective. Husbands and wives can learn to accept their partners, negotiate differences honestly and with good will, leading to more love and happiness in their homes.
For million of couples, the “Conclusion” stage marks the end of intimacy, trust, and joy. It’s usually the end of a relationship as people look to start the same process over again with a new person, sharing brief experiences with a new partner, until days, months or years quickly pass and “Disillusion” again emerges. Some folks get stuck in these four stages, each time with somebody new, and have trouble ever achieving true happiness.
City Island offers fun entertainment and a chance to discover more about ourselves through the hilarious characters. See if you can identify the four stages of relationship as you laugh your way through the Rizzo’s family antics and adventures.
A newlywed, Todd McFliker is an award-winning reporter and the author of All You Need is Love to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. He earned his Masters in Communication from Lynn University.