Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What is Love?

I read this post over at This Literary Life a few weeks ago, and haven't been able to get it out of my mind. You might want to read it before you read further, just to see where I'm coming from.

She paints a picture of love being something that can destroy people. To "totally crush them to bits." And while she may be right about true love having the strength to crush people to bits, she's wrong about making love a villain.

Now, I suppose that if we were looking at love as purely an emotion, then maybe she would be right. Being "in love" can bring people soaring to amazing heights if the feeling is reciprocated. Or it can bring them crashing down if it is not. And I do not deny that losing one's lover can be emotionally devastating. But true love--REAL love--does not destroy.

Love is layered. Beyond the thin, superficial shell of attraction and infatuation, love MUST go deeper. Otherwise, when that shell cracks there will be nothing but emptiness below the surface. Without substance to hold it together, the shell will be totally crushed to bits.

The problem is, too many love stories don't go beyond that thin, superficial shell that we mistakenly call "love."

Romeo and Juliet were so "in love" that they couldn't even manage to go on without each other, and they both ended up dead because of it. But it was not their love that killed them. They were simply so caught up in their own loss (or perceived loss, in Romeo's case) that they couldn't even stop to consider that their lover would want them to go on living.

That is not love.

Bella was so lost without Edward that she behaved like a suicidal maniac. If she were really acting out of love, she would have behaved differently. She would have considered how her actions would affect her man.

That is not love.

So...what is love?

Love looks beyond one's self. Beyond one's own desires, one's own needs, one's own life.

Love is Flynn Rider and Rapunzel--each is willing to give up their very life for the sake of the other.

Love is what Peeta has for Katniss--the most important thing to him is her survival.

Love "always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." (1 Corinthians 13:7)

Maybe romance writers should write about THAT.


  1. I wish that more people understood this!

  2. Anonymous5:06 PM

    This is all very true. I think writers take the "honeymoon period" which apparently exists when a couple are courting each other, and making it a constant vibe of the relationship - the focus on the lustful obsessive behaviour - which you correctly pointed out, isn't love.
    Love is a very selfless emotion; or it should be anyway.


I would love to hear from you!