Ideally, people discuss prenups before the marriage, while they are in love instead of when they are bitter enemies.  In the same way, if you are in a relationship or thinking about leaving a relationship, “A Marriage Story” is a must watch Netflix film. The storyline follows a New York theatre couple, Nicole and Charlie, who have grown apart, despite such a serendipitous beginning. They have an 8-year son, Henry, who is the apple of their eyes.

The couple seemingly tries to make every effort to have a civil break-up but throw in a cross country move to Los Angeles, advice from third parties and years of built up resentment and before you know it, their best laid plans spiral out of control.

Of course, there are some significant lessons from “A Marriage Story” that are worth sharing.  There were two scenes in particular that were full of relatable “a ha” one-liners:

Nicole’s Conversation with Nora: Nora, a divorce attorney asks Nicole to share her and Charlie’s story.  In tears, Nicole exclaims that Charlie isn’t a terrible person but as she goes on, it becomes clear that they have slowly grown in two different directions on their life paths.  Nicole shared how they met and how a part of her became alive when she was with Charlie. Then she goes on to share so many reflective gems:

  •  “All the problems were there in the beginning too. I just went along with him and his life because it felt so damn good to feel myself alive” 
  • Over time, she “had less and less weight” in the union and that she “got smaller” 
  • Then she goes onto have an epiphany: “I realize that I had never really come alive for myself, I was just feeding his aliveness” 
  • “I didn’t belong to myself” 
  • “He just put me off” 
  • “He truly didn’t see me…..he didn’t see me as something separate from himself”

The Fight between Nicole and Charlie: This scene takes place after the knock-down-drag-out court scene where the respective attorney’s basically ripped Nicole and Charlie to shreds. Nicole goes over to Charlie’s new LA apartment and what begins as a request to be flexible about changing a visitation date blows up to release years of resentment and 

  • “I was your wife, you should have considered my happiness too”
  • “You were happy, you’ve just decided you weren’t now”
  • After Nicole reminds Charlie of their talks of moving to LA and his resistance, he claims, “ I was not privy to that thought process”
  • “You’re fighting for something you don’t even want”
  • “You’ll think you found some better opposite guy than me, but in a few years, you’ll rebel against him because you need to have your voice, but you don’t want a voice. You just want to fucking complain about not having a voice”
  • “You gaslighted me? You’re a fucking villain!”
  • “You want to present yourself as a victim because it’s a good legal strategy?”
  • “You chose this life. You wanted it until you didn’t”
  • “You always made me aware of what I was doing wrong, how I was falling short. Life with you was joyless”
  • “You wanted so much so fast. I didn’t even want to get married”
  • “You didn’t love me as much as I loved you”

And it gets worse :-(. This conversation made me cry but it is so familiar for both my past experiences as well as some of my client’s. I think that “A Marriage Story” is one film that every couple should see because it impactfully showcases the inside out dissolution of a relationship when people grow apart over the years. Just do yourself a favor and watch until the end 🙂