Love, Emotions, and Fidelity

Inspiration for blog entries comes from personal experiences, community or world events, and emotional responses to all of the above. A muse may be uplifting or discouraging but the writer is responsible for the wisdom and encouragement that the experience creates. This entry has a number of influences contributing to the lessons learned.

Love, in movies and in real life, can look as different as film and Photoshop. Actors are often called upon to depict intense love for a person with whom they are only acting. In reference to such roles and the frame of mind he must find, Ryan Gosling has said,

I’m interested in love and the lack of it and the crazy things we do to get it. The knight slays the dragon and then lives happily ever after with the princess in the castle, but when they’ve moved in together, they have to share a bathroom. How do you keep love alive in a domestic situation? What is it about that that dismantles love.1

Those of us who have been married, or lived with someone, for a number of years can understand his question and may even wonder if we have what it takes to “make love last.” But, does familiarity necessarily lead to a loss of love? Or is it something else which evaporates when the knight and princess share a castle?

There are a number of ways that we could investigate this question. Scientist have theories and equations that explain population dynamics and optimum family sizes for optimal gene transmission; and, although this usually explains animal behaviour, it seldom comes close to illuminating the impulses of men and women. In fact, there is not one explanation for the phenomenon of love that will satisfy all hearts and minds. For some, the following logical words of C.S. Lewis will be all that is needed  to inspire longevity in love.

Knowledge can last, principles can last, habits can last; but feelings come and go… But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from “being in love” — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriage) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God… “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it.2

Others will appreciate a more lyrical elucidation of the concept.

Love’s Not a Feeling
(Words and Music by Steve Camp) (Listen to the song here

Take a look around so many broken hearts on the ground
No one was there to take the time to really care
Well a commitment’s what, ooh, love should be, we wash our hands of it so easily
We give up so fast, then wonder why love doesn’t last 

Love’s not a feeling, oh we’ve got to learn
To get past our emotions to the meaning of the word
Love’s not a feeling we can lose and throw away
Lord give us the courage to live it every day 

There’s a love that Jesus shows and our desperate hearts need it so
His love is alive, it never ends, it never dies
God won’t walk out on us when the pressure’s on and times are tough
Just trust in his power, he’ll see you through your darkest hour 

Love’s not a feeling, oh we’ve got to learn
To get past our emotions to the meaning of the word
Love’s not a feeling we can lose and throw away
Lord give us the courage to live it every day 3

The best that a writer can hope for is that those who read an article of this nature will pause long enough to consider their own significant relationships and ponder the height, and depth, and breadth of love. It is now your turn to muse and reflect. Selah.

1. Ryan Gosling, Vancouver Sun, December 22, 2010.

2. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity,Macmillan Publishers, 1952.
3. Steve Camp, from the Album, Fire and Ice, 1983

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