Last week I was thinking about love as a verb, as something you do rather than a way you feel. This week, my thoughts turn toward the feeling of love, particularly the notion that real, true love should last forever. Is that true? Does love last? Is it a lesser love if it’s felt deeply, then slips away? We anticipate the impermanence of other feelings…we’re not happy or sad or angry forever…so why is love expected to never falter?
I am a romantic. I’ll admit it. My favorite stories are of passions that overtake people and pull them together like magnets. It’s why I wrote my first novel, FIVE DAYS. Thing is, those loves typically don’t last. Death ends the great loves of Romeo and Juliet, Rose and Jack (Titanic), Jon and Daenerys (Game of Thrones). But there are other stories where the love simply doesn’t last, like La La Land or Out of Africa (my go-to-tearjerker movie). Clearly, the brevity of time doesn’t diminish their love. Perhaps the intensity is unsustainable. It certainly allows the lovers to thrill in their passion without ever having to trudge through the compromises and sacrifices of a lifetime. One of my favorite books is The Time Traveler’s Wife, their love made more precious because of it’s precariousness. They are never quite sure when he may disappear forever. None of us ever are, really.
I first heard John Legend’s “Love Me Now” in the car with my husband, who thought it was dumb to write a song about love that might not last, but I liked it for exactly that reason. Any love might not last, so I liked John’s point…love me now…let’s embody this moment and take it all in while we have it because you just never know. This was when I was writing FIVE DAYS, and John’s notion spoke to me for that story. I believe we can love with all our heart and then it can end, and that can still be a great love. Painful, of course, but the pain does not need to erase the beauty of a love that simply can’t last.
Love can also grow and fade, and grow and fade again over time. In lifelong relationships, it’s hard to imagine feeling completely in love with one’s partner unceasingly. I believe it’s more common to have moments of deep love, appreciation, connection, passion and other stretches of plodding through, of sticking with it because you believe those loving feelings will resurface. Like the tides or a full moon, love waxes and wanes, disappears then comes again.
There’s obviously plenty more to be said about love, which is why I continue writing novels, to explore love that lasts and relationships that don’t.
Whether you view love as a feeling or an action, whether it’s for all time or for a season, this quote fromMoulin Rouge (a favorite movie of mine!) sums it up well: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return.”