Love is a complex emotion of attachment and obsession. Love cannot be classified so easily, though; it cannot be stuffed into a social concept and left there. Love has many different meanings to many different people; it can be tossed aside like a dirty rag, unimportant and forgotten, or cherished and cared for like a priceless gemstone. To me, love is a connection between the hearts and minds of two people. It is a feeling of trust and wholeness; a feeling that in the other person’s eyes, you can do no wrong.
To explain the process of “falling in love,” I will use a hypothetical couple and analyze their relationship as it progresses. It begins with a spark. Two people meet and they make a connection which at this stage will be considered friendship. This connection may mature and expand through common interests such as admiring the same music or desiring the same expensive car. As time passes and these two people get to know each other, they begin to embrace each other for who they are inside, accepting each other’s flaws and overcoming obstacles together.
The trust that these actions foster will be the couple’s Big Bang. The two friends, dazzled by the magnificence emanating from each other’s heart, will decide to take their relationship further; they will become best friends. When the future couple has reached the best friend stage one of the two may seek to engender his or her affection. This person will begin to make the burning, blinding love they are experiencing known; how the recipient reacts will determine the fate of this relationship.
If there is true chemistry between these two, they will throw off the title of best friends and don the silk robe of romantic partners. At this point in the relationship, love, which has been smoldering inside each person like white-hot coal, becomes a true inferno; a firestorm for which there is no comparison. The couple is filled with blazing passion for each other and blind to all else. Our couple is in what is generally
acknowledged as the “honeymoon” stage; they consider each other perfect in every way and believe that they will be happy forever. This is arguably the sweetest and purest part of the dating process; there are no fights, no lies, just love. This fiery maelstrom of ecstasy and excitement does not last long, unfortunately, and this happy couple will soon enter the “comfortable” stage. The “comfortable” stage is the tipping point, the point where the nebula of the relationship can be doomed for disaster or destined for a bright future.
If the couple chooses to use this time to work on their relationship then the love they both enjoyed in the honeymoon stage may continue to burn, radiant in its beauty and purity. But, if the relationship is left by the wayside and problems are ignored or not resolved, the once-incandescent orb of devotion and fervor will begin to flicker, like a candle that has reached the end of its wick, foreshadowing the catastrophe of a break up. A dying relationship is akin to a dying star.
What once hung bright and brilliant in the sky and lit up the night through a thousand pinpricks of light now sags, burnt-out and spent in the daytime and leaves this couple in the cold and dark at night. These two lovers now realize that they were never meant to be together, and that it was foolish of them to allow themselves to be blinded by love. After more arguments, lies, and perhaps a bit of cheating, the already-spent star will sputter and go dark. The relationship that the couple thought would last forever has finally ended.
Love requires constant upkeep. All the movies and books that exemplify “easy” relationships where everything simply falls into place and the two lovers never have to deal with any strife are lies. Love is not easy. Love is not simple. Love is hard. Love is complicated, but love is also rewarding. If handled correctly and expertly, love can last an extremely long time. This can be seen in the elder couples that can claim to have been together for sixty plus years.
These couples were able to overcome their differences and have been rewarded in each other. Their love still burns with the intensity and passion of those who have just found this wonderful anomaly of affection. These veteran couples have found one of the absolute truths in life: that we are incomplete. Our hearts, our stars, are built to require another. When and if that missing half is found, one may consider life to be at its best and resplendent in its wholeness; the missing piece of our soul has been found.