David Beckham, Victoria inspire Beckham Challenge for couples in love
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If you watched the “Beckham” docuseries on Netflix, you may have caught a swoon-worthy moment at the end: soccer superstar David and Posh Spice Victoria Beckham dancing adorably around each other to “Islands in the Stream.” It’s a blink-and-you-might-have-missed-it scene that fans are convinced it’s a masterful marker of “true love.”
“They look so much in love! We should all have that kind of love!!” one TikTok commenter wrote on a clip of them dancing. Another added: “Such an amazing and beautiful couple. I haven’t seen the documentary. Now I must watch this. Love the way they still look so much in love.”
But is a viral challenge really a solid way to tell if your partner’s in love with you? It’s not the only way to tell, but it could indicate your partner is game to support you, which is important in a long-term relationship.
“The Beckham Challenge is not so much about whether your partner is your true love, but really about sharing a joyful, low-stakes fun moment together,” says Maryanne Fisher, a psychology professor at St. Mary’s University in Canada. “It’s a synchronized activity, making contact with one’s partner, showing that there’s an agreement. They see what you’re up to and join in the fun, supporting you and engaging.”
Is a ‘true love’ test real?
The videos showcase many couples escaping whatever else is going on in their lives to have a moment of frivolous fun, which we all need from time-to-time.
“People are smiling and having what appears to be a joyful timeout from whatever else they are doing, appreciating each other and showing a light-heartedness,” Fisher says.
It’s also “a really nice break from all the attempts to figure out if a partner is cheating, behaving poorly or other negativity that overshadows relationships.” These types of videos often linger on the TikTok algorithm for those seeking advice on relationships.
But does a “true love” test actually exist? Not exactly. However, research supports behavior like this as a metric for success.
Laura Petiford, a licensed marriage and family therapist, points to research from Dr. John Gottman who predicted with 94% accuracy if couples were going to divorce. “His research shows that happy and stable couples have a ratio of five positive interactions for every negative interaction,” she says. “Perhaps the Beckhams dancing is an indication of their prioritizing positive experiences with each other.”
A simpler tell? Those who are not in sync, or are fighting: “There are a few other signs that a couple is headed for trouble,” Petiford adds. “Gottman identifies these as ‘The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.’ These include criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. So it actually is easier to see who is struggling with love rather than proving who is in love.”
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‘Very revealing if we want to be silly’
Resorting to “test” partners, as fun as it might seem, is not always the best idea. But if you do go about it, don’t consider it a “fail” if they don’t join in on your impromptu dance session.
“It is, however, very revealing if we want to be silly or do something lighthearted and then feel concerned that our partner will judge us poorly – that might very well indicate a relationship that is unbalanced,” Fisher says. “I say this having belted a version of (“Islands in the Stream”) out at karaoke in Japan in May, incredibly off key, with my partner and then laughing for a long time after.”
Knowing if you’re loved is easier than you think. A loving partner is someone who admires, supports, cares and communicates with you, “whether that be verbally, or more hopefully, nonverbally via actions,” Fisher adds. “They make an effort to spend time together, learn about one’s interests and express their commitment.”
And when in doubt, time to bend it like the Beckhams.
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