Am I good for you?


I had a chance to watch Jack Goes Boating this week – a fascinating portrayal of how people respond, react, and transform within relationships.

The movie follows two couples. Clyde and Lucy are a seasoned, unhappily married couple whose relationship spirals downward in the course of the film. They have affairs, talk disrespectfully to each other, cling to addictions, and otherwise behave selfishly and without regard for the other.

We meet Jack and Connie at the beginning of their relationship — from their first date in winter through the following summer. In contrast to their friends, Jack and Connie blossom, individually and as a couple. We watch as they let go of patterns that have kept them stuck and solemn, and we witness them embracing the challenges of being in an intimate relationship, supporting and encouraging and loving each other.

The title of the movie relates to the film’s catalyst: that Jack must learn to swim before he can grant Connie’s wish to go boating in Central Park.

In the final scene of the movie, Jack and Connie are talking:

JACK: I’m a good swimmer.

CONNIE: I knew you would be. When we talked about summer. You’d be good at swimming.

JACK: I am for you.

CONNIE: Good at boating.

JACK: I am for you.

CONNIE: That you’d be good.

JACK: I am for you.

Jack is saying “I am good for you,” and we immediately think he means he’s “the one.” He’s good for her. He enhances her life. But it struck me that what he is really saying is that he is good for her, because of her – he behaves in a good manner for her.

As their relationship grows, we watch as Jack works hard to improve himself. He applies for a new job, buys a new suit, learns to cook, learns to swim. Unlike their friends, Clyde and Lucy, Jack chooses to step up, be better, take responsibility.

It all made me think — am I good for you?

Not just you the boyfriend or you the best friend or you the nephew, but you my relationships, and you my community. Am I good for you? Por vous? Do I do my best to behave in a good manner, treat you with kindness and respect, improve myself so collectively WE are better?

Am I good for you?

Think about it.

WORDS ©2015, Jen Payne
IMAGE Earth, Jean-Michel Basquiat

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