Love Lessons From ’50 First Dates’ That Still Hold Up Today

If you somehow haven’t seen 50 First Dates, the story follows a womanizer named Henry, played by Adam Sandler, who falls in love with an art teacher named Lucy, played by Drew Barrymore. She suffers from a memory impairment that causes her to forget him the next day, so he tries to win her over again. And again. Although the movie was released almost twenty years ago (in 2004), here are a few lessons from the film that still hold up today:  

You need to put effort into the relationship, even if you’ve been together for years.

Every single day, Henry tries his hardest to make Lucy smile like it’s the first time they’re meeting. And this is exactly how you should act in a long-term relationship. Some people assume you’re supposed to do all the hard work early on in the relationship, when you’re trying to impress the other person, and then you can relax once you become a couple. But that’s the wrong idea. You can’t get lazy over time and start neglecting your person. You need to continue to show your partner that you care, years down the line. You need to continue putting effort into the relationship, even when you’ve been together for months, years, or decades.

If someone wants to be with you badly enough, then they aren’t going to let anything get in the way of loving you the way you were meant to be loved.

If you think you’re unlovable, you’re thinking wrong. The right person won’t care if you have anxiety or depression or a memory impairment like Lucy. They will love you on your good days and bad days, through the easy times and the rough times. So don’t you dare settle for someone who makes you feel like a burden. Hold out for someone who surpasses your expectations without thinking twice. Someone who couldn’t care less about the aspects of yourself that make you feel insecure. You are lovable exactly the way you are.

Relationships aren’t always easy, but you can’t run away when things get hard.

When you find the right person for you, things aren’t always going to be smooth sailing. Life isn’t that simple. Even if this person is perfect for you, you’re going to have obstacles that get in your way and prevent you from living out your happily ever after. However, if you want to make the relationship work, you’ll search for solutions. You’ll use trial and error until you figure out how to make the romance work. You won’t give up the second that things get hard. You’ll work as a team to figure out a solution. You’ll put in real work because this person is worth the energy. 

Your family members won’t always know what’s best for you.

Everyone in Lucy’s life warns Henry to stay away from her. They assume he’ll end up hurting her — or getting hurt by her. However, he ignores their advice and continues to pursue her. By the end of the movie, they end up married with a family, living out their dream. This is a reminder that, although you should listen when your loved ones have a bad feeling about your relationship, you need to trust your instincts. At the end of the day, their approval doesn’t matter. Your happiness matters. You need to live a life that makes you feel fulfilled, regardless of what they think. If they love you, your happiness will change their mind anyway. 

Protecting your heart can backfire.

Lucy tries to protect Henry by breaking up with him. But he’s happier when he’s with her. Separating is only hurting the both of them. Remember, isolating yourself from the rest of the world in order to protect your heart (or other hearts) isn’t actually helping. Loving someone is always a risk, but it’s a risk that is worth taking. If you want to be in a happy, healthy relationship, you need to be brave.