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Walking the Tightrope: Romantic

Sally Codman has some serious and sensible thoughts about romantic love - and true love.

'All ya need is love' wrote the Beatles and I'm inclined to agree, although the manufacturers of Valentines cards, growers of red roses and purveyors of heart-shaped chocs will tell you otherwise.

Don't get me wrong - I'm as fond of a box of heart-shaped choccies as the next woman -(Thorntons for preference, no nuts) and I really do believe in the old saying that 'Love makes the world go round'.

However I'd have to argue that the love doing that most important job is a different kind of love to the romantic sort celebrated on St Valentine's Day. Not that I'm against 'Romantic Love' - there's nothing like it for increasing the heartbeat, making your eyes shine, your cheeks glow and putting a smile on your face. For a magical time you're on the highest of highs, sitting on top of the world, happy and hopeful that you've discovered the meaning of life the universe and everything.

Not for nothing is this lov'in feel'in described as 'falling' in love - it's supposed to be something you just can't help doing - like falling down the stairs. Unlikely lovers throughout the ages have used this excuse to throw caution to the winds and have a fling with anyone unsuitable they may fancy.

The immortal words in another classic song sum it up perfectly (those of a certain age and film buffs of all ages will get an instant mental snapshot of Marlene Dietrich) when they read the lines 'falling in love again, never vanted to, vhat am I to do, I can't help it!'

The truth is that most people could 'help it' if they really wanted to but they don't. In their heads they know that their latest object of desire is just that, an 'object of desire' and a totally unsuitable and probably short-lived one at that. But they don't want to admit it, so they let their hearts rule their heads, tell themselves they've fallen in love again and enjoy their fling, while it lasts.

The catch is, of course, that the wonderful 'sitting on top of the world' feeling of being completely, hopelessly, helplessly 'in love' doesn't last, it couldn't, because if it did the world wouldn't go round at all. We'd all be too busy gazing into each other's eyes and whispering sweet nothings to get to work on time, organise the school run or sort the laundry.

If you're lucky it grows into a different, deeper, gentler, caring, lasting sort of love, or a cooling off period before you agree to be 'just friends'.

If you're unlucky it turns into a nasty war over who gets custody of the hamster and the record collection.

Yep, romantic love is a dangerous and exciting thing and has probably inspired more songs and poems than any other human experience. Whilst surfing the net I came across some great quotes on love:- Nathan, aged 6, warned 'Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I've been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me'. Dave (8) advised, 'Be a good kisser. It might make your wife forget that you never take out the rubbish'. An older and wiser counsellor, Lynette (9), said 'It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need somebody to clean up after them!'

Although those quotations are excellent I'll let Shakespeare sum up the concept of romantic love for us. As the bard said; 'Love is the most beautiful of dreams and the worst of nightmares.' Spot on Sir, some things don't change whatever the date.

So, now we've disqualified 'Romantic Love,' what is the sort that really makes the world go round? Well, for my money it's a less selfish, longer-lasting, more 'giving' sort of love, the ultimate description of which can be found in that perennial bestseller, The Bible. Check out I Corinthians Chapter 13, verse 4; 'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.'

Now that's what I call a Valentine's Verse, eh? Love that's not just for romantics but for everyone!

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