Saturday, February 11, 2012
THE FOLLY OF ROMANTIC LOVE
There are two more days to Valentine's Day, and counting! All over the 'net there are cake and candy recipes, tips for making that "perfect" proposal, and ads for 5-Star restaurants. It's a bright, shiny day in the middle of winter. It's also my mother's birthday, but that's not what this post is about.
I write romantic suspense because I love spicing up a crime story with love and, lets face it, some sexy encounters. In reality though, "true love" doesn't blossom under dangerous, life-threatening circumstances. And although what I write falls under the broad genre of "romance", I don't believe in "romantic love".
There, I've said it. Start throwing those tomatoes! And here's why I don't believe in "romantic love" - that belief that there's One True Love out there for everyone, that even when you've been married five, ten, twenty years you'll still be "in love" with the same person.
Feelings like the heart-pounding, "I can't wait for the phone to ring" flutterings of the early days of romantic bliss don't last. No feelings last forever, or even for years. The forever part of love is the ability to hang in there when you most certainly DON'T feel "in love" anymore.
Your "romantic partner" is going to disappoint you. S/he's going to hurt you, intentionally maybe, unintentionally certainly. S/he's not going to look/smell/act their best the way they did when you first fell in love. S/he's going to snore, burp, embarrass you in front of your friends, drink too much at your Christmas party. Or maybe, you're going to discover that his love of spending "quiet evenings at home" turns in to being a coach potato who adores reality shows and Monday night football.
And you're not going to live up to whatever you were advertising when he first met you either. You're going to get sick, wear sweatpants to bed, forget to load up the beer fridge, or just stop wearing make-up for awhile. And lets not even talk about the week leading up to your period! There isn't enough Midol in the world to hide hormonal swings when you live in the same house.,
The real Heros are the guys who work steadily, day in and day out, to support their families, even when the job isn't fulfilling, exciting, or glamourous anymore. The real hero quietly puts aside that personal desire for another "toy" and pays for gymnastic lessons for one of the kids instead. He takes his kids to events he has no interest in, because he knows they'll learn something from a new hobby or venue. He goes camping even though he hates eating outdoors. He sacrifices his love of golf so his daughter can go to the university of her choice.
His hormones may still rage for you (let's hope so!), but even when things hit a lull between you, he's a straight shooter and would never fool around on you. He still listens to your fears, hopes, dreams, and remembers your birthday and anniversary.
This isn't "romantic" love. It's the kind of love that comes from sticking around, accepting your partner's weaknesses, and remembering that your partner's worthy of respect - otherwise, what are you doing with them?
Roses, chocolates, fancy dinners, all of these help keep the spark going. I don't deny it. But give me the day to day bliss of someone who kisses you hello and goodbye even when your hair's askew and there's baby barf on your shirt. The guy who thinks about what you'd like, what you need (neck rub? parking money?), and what you want out of life. Don't settle for less!