Many people love watching romantic dramas. It is so heartwarming to see the lead couple meet, bicker, fall in love and then finally get together. We laugh, we cry and we feel good when the leads get their well-deserved happy ending. They make you want to experience falling in love all over again.
However, we all know that reality is not like that. Even if the leads in the drama do ended up falling in love in real life, the happy ever after is not guaranteed just like what happened to the high profile love story and subsequent divorce of Hollywood superstars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie and just recently, Descendants of the Sun Korean power couple Song Joong-ki and Song Hye Kyo.
The truth is maintaining a relationship requires more than just loving one another. It requires commitment, compatibility, hard work, patience, shared values, trust, and so many others. Some of these things you can actually learn from watching romantic dramas.
If you are into Korean dramas, here are 5 dramas that I’ve seen with lessons on love and relationship. Just a reminder before reading, there are spoilers ahead.
1. Cunning Single Lady (2014)
This is a story about Na Ae Ra, a divorced woman who is having a hard time trying to make ends meet and Jung Woo, her ex-husband who is a top rich businessman. It is a drama about ex-lovers who are still living in the pain of their divorce and yet too proud to admit that they still have feelings for one another.
In a marriage, both husband and wife have roles to fulfil. If these duties are not met, conflict arises. Generally, the husband is supposed to be the provider and protector of the family. If the husband cannot fulfil these duties, it is normally the wife who suffers the most. It will be too much for the wife to handle if she will have to take on the role of the husband in addition to the duties that are expected from her as a wife.
Another lesson from the story is the importance of communication. Good communication is an integral part of any healthy relationship. Couples can refrain from needless arguments. It can prevent misunderstanding. It can also make resolving conflicts easier. The leads were only able to settle their differences when they started to understand one another.
2. The King 2 Hearts (2012)
The King 2 Hearts is about a South Korean prince, Lee Jae-ha who fell in love with a North Korean special agent, Kim Hang-ah. The two characters are polar opposites. They have different personalities, economic and social status, nationalities, upbringing and even ideologies but in the end, they did manage to work through their differences.
While it is true that opposites attract, many believe that such a relationship will not last long. After all, it is easier to work on a relationship where the couple share a lot of things in common. On the contrary, just like the couple in the drama, opposite personalities can work well together. They can complement and encourage one another. They can also compensate on each other’s weaknesses. The key here is that there should be mutual respect and commitment. Both parties must be willing to compromise and understand each other’s differences.
3. My ID is Gangnam Beauty (2018)
Gangnam Beauty is a deregatory term in South Korea pertaining to people who are beautiful only because they underwent several plastic surgeries. In this drama, Kang Mi-rae is a college student who had been bullied all her life because of her looks. She decided to change all that by undergoing multiple plastic surgeries to become attractive.
Kang Mi-rae succeeded in changing her outer appearance but her insecurities are still there. No matter how beautiful you are on the outside, it does not matter at all if you feel bad about yourself.
Self-esteem is important not only in our general well-being but in a relationship as well. A low self-esteem will lead to misunderstandings and lack of self-confidence. Just like Mi-rae, she had a hard time believing that somebody like Do Kyung-Seok will actually like her. When you feel bad about yourself, you will have insecurities in the relationship. You will be more anxious. There is a tendency to be clingy and over jealous. You will have trust issues. You need to develop your self-esteem first before you can be in a healthy relationship.
4. Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-Joo (2016)
Inspired by the true to life story of a South Korean Olympic Gold medalist, the drama is about a group of young athletes fighting for their dreams. Kim Bok-Joo is a weightlifter who found herself enrolling in a Weight Loss Clinic in order to be near the man of her dreams. As a weightlifter she is supposed to be gaining weight, not the other way around. Although she did not end up with the man of her dreams, she did found the love of her life through her childhood friend, Jung Joon-hyung.
Kim Bok-Joo tried to change herself in order to be notice by the man of her dreams. She even had to compromise her dream. Should you change yourself for someone you love? The answer is no. If you try to change for somebody, you might end up loosing yourself in the process. If somebody really loves you, he/she will accept you for who you are. If change needs to be done, you should change for you, not because of someone else. Just like Kim Bok-Joo, there will be somebody out there who will love you for who you are.
5. Wonderful Life (2005)
This is a story about two strangers, Han Seung Wan and Jung Se Jin who ended up sleeping together while on a trip. The girl got pregnant and decided to keep the baby. As a result, they were forced to get married by the parents for the baby’s sake. The story showed how the couple navigate their way through challenges in their married life.
There is a season for everything. It is a part of the natural cycle of life. There a season to study and find yourself. There is season to be single and focus on career. There is a season for starting a family. Problems arise if you will not follow the seasons in life, just like what happened to the lead couple.
The couple in the story had to struggle a lot because of the unwanted marriage and unprepared parenthood. The natural course in life for couples is that you fall in love, you get married and then have children but this couple had it backwards. In addition, all these things happened when they were too young to start a family and still in the process of pursuing their dreams and aspirations.
If you follow the season of life, there will still be challenges, but at least you will be equipped and mature enough to handle whatever life has in store for you.
How about you? Are there other Korean dramas with lessons on love and relationship that you can recommend?