Today it seems that love and sex are synonymous with each other. A guy tells a girl he loves her when all he really feels is infatuation mixed with lust. A wife tells her husband of one year that she’s just “not in love anymore” or “I don’t feel anything.”
Role models of real love are hard to find, especially for children. Most celebrities are only propagating this love/sex lifestyle, and politicians, well, the less said the better. Even in video games this false love, this lie, is perpetuated by heroes such as Ezio Auditore (Assassins Creed) and Nathan Drake (Uncharted), or further sexualized in games like Bayonetta, Dead or Alive, or Mortal Kombat.
Amidst all the chaos, however, there are still a few wholesome anchors that glimmer like little gems, or in our instance, a bright gold coin.
Mario and Princess Peach have been a couple for more than twenty years, a relationship outlasting the average marriage. Mario’s the guy you see in the mall with his girlfriend and you wonder what he ever did to snag such a good looking girl. He’s short, a bit overweight, has a nose like the front end of a Volkswagon, and a thick Italian accent. Peach on the other hand is royalty, dresses with impeccable taste, looks like a head cheerleader, and is considerably taller than her male counterpart. And yet, they have formed a relationship that’s lasted decades.
How has such an obviously mismatched couple kept it together for so long?
First, let’s look at what the Bible says real love is. 1 Corinthians 13 is the definitive work on real love. The greatest poets and scholars have spent centuries trying to capture what love is with paper and ink, but Paul encapsulates the whole of the subject in just thirteen short verses. According to God, love is patient and kind (vs.4); love does not promote itself and is not arrogant (vs.4); it does not behave inappropriately, it is not easily provoked, and thinks no evil (vs.5); it will bear any burden (vs.7); true love never fails (vs.8).
That is quite the list, and a tall order for any relationship to fill, let alone one that faces so many obvious challenges. Let’s see how Mario and Peach fare when held up to God’s comparison.
How many times has Mario saved peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser? How many times has Mario battled his way all the way to the heart of the castle only to be told, “Oh, she’s in another castle!” by the annoying little Toad?
Yet, for all the constant work that this relationship has turned out to be, you never hear Mario mutter a harsh word under his breath. You never hear him berating Peach when he does find her about how she wouldn’t get kidnapped every week if she would just remember to carry the taser he bought her for Christmas last year. Not once in the thousands of times does he do anything other than doggedly jump away to rescue the woman he loves without a word of complaint. Peach is always the first one to say, “Oh!” when someone is hurt and to rush to see if they are all right. You would never guess that she’s the ruler of the whole Mushroom Kingdom.
Now, everyone loves to gloat a little when they win. Even Mario and Peach will bust out the dance moves after a victory in Mario Party. But a little victory celebration is a far cry from the constant self-promotion and arrogance displayed by some people upon victory.
Mario is not an arrogant guy. He beats Bowser on a weekly basis and still invites the koopa king to go out to the go-kart track for a few laps. He even invites his obnoxious and rude relatives, Wario and Waluigi, to party with him. He’s just a down to earth kind of guy. He is a plumber, after all. Even Peach, for all her royal upbringing is a gentle soul, constantly seeking ways to help those around her, regardless of her station.
Not once do you see Mario and Peach making out in public or engaging in some unseemly behavior. Peach is always dressed modestly, and never flaunts herself in front of Mario. Everything is above board with them, and they keep it E rated at all times. Now Mario still has that hot Italian blood and has been provoked more than once by his antagonist Bowser until steam comes out of his ears.
But with Peach? Not once has either one of them baited the other or tried to push each other’s buttons to get a reaction. They treat one another with respect. To be fair, we have no idea what they are thinking, but with the smiles they so readily unveil when they see each other, it’s hard to imagine they are thinking anything but the best of each other.
I doubt any relationship requires more work and dedication than Mario and Peach have to deal with on a weekly basis. Constant rescues, battles with giant angry Koopas, and high speed racing are all part of a day’s work in making their relationship work. No level is too long for Mario, and no wait is too long for Peach. They each have responsibilities to carry if they are going to make it work, and they carry them with a smile.
This is not really talking about success ratios, but rather, never giving up. Any normal guy would have given up on Peach a long time ago. Let’s face it, she’s a high maintenance girl. But not Mario. He’s never given up on her. Peach on the other hand, could have had her pick from any guy, but she sticks with little Mario.
Together these two reveal the secret to true love. Love is a choice. There are doubtless times where Mario, finding he’s in the wrong castle again, does not feel in love with Peach, but he chooses to not give up. Peach, waiting for Mario to rescue her again, might wish for someone to rescue her faster, but she chooses to not give up on Mario. In the end, when the day to day becomes a drudge, true love is a choice.
Mario and Peach are a couple that has lasted the test of time, and I think will continue into a pixelated old age together, has shown us valuable lessons in what true love is. Their patience, humility, and steadfast belief in each other could just be the key to teaching a younger generation what it is to truly love someone.