I’ve shared this with some people already. Namely those who have approached me or my wife upon seeing the recent “You & Me” episodes (which have been playing this series) and jokingly asking, “are you guys ok?” The short-short films are meant to illustrate a point in Marty’s messages, as well as stand together as a single volume when finished. The story follows two characters, Hale and Lana, who meet in high school and progress through a 10 year relationship.

I jumped at the opportunity to write this script and tell this story of enduring love that I’ve wanted to tell for a while now. Little did I know, when I volunteered  my wife and myself to play the lead roles, that it would have such a lasting effect on my emotional fortitude. Maybe it was my inner control freak that insisted on shaping this thing into exactly what I saw in my head, but there were definitely moments during filming that I wish I hadn’t.

The very first scene Kayla and I shot together was one with some intense dialogue and crying. If you know the feeling of waking up from a dream where your spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend did something you didn’t like, then you’ve gotten a taste of what I had to decompress from after a long day of shooting scenes pretending to not care about my wife as she spouted extremely convincing tears. It wasn’t what I expected upon returning home that day. I needed a reassuring hug.

Knowing how I had faired against the saddest scene of the film, I began to dread what would come of the angriest one. There is a bit in the 3rd episode where Kayla and I literally have to scream at each other. I even break something. This is, for the most part, completely unlike us. In the past, I’ve shown my temper, but I like to believe it’s something I have a good deal of control over these days. When we filmed, my arteries seemed to shrink, and I had to tell Kayla I loved her between takes.

The combination of the two days was enough to put my mind in a very strange place. I sat on the couch and contemplated my state. My head was inconsolable. My heart was delusional (I know that seems backwards, but that’s what I mean). There were times while filming when I felt I needed cold water for my chest pain. Times when I tricked myself into believing it was a real fight, and that Kayla might leave and never come back. Call it method, if you want. I call it surreal.

Even watching the scenes now as Nathan edits them together is hard for me to do. We were charged with bringing this story to our people at Northstar with the hopes that they would feel the tension of this couple and connect furthermore to the message. The idea is that through this series, broken marriages would be healed and healthy marriages would become stronger. What it did for me was keep me from ever wanting the story we portrayed to become our own reality.

I believe the reason God caused me to become so emotionally distraught over those two scenes is because I was supposed to understand the weight and reality of characters like Hale and Lana. These are super real people with very real challenges. Had I not felt a fraction of the same distress in my heart, I don’t believe the work could be received as genuine. Art can be a scary and beautiful thing when we’re called to field the same pain we seek to convey.

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