Friday, February 15, 2008

What Is True Love?

It's Valentines Day this week so of course I have to write a blog post about love.

As a romance writer, I write about love all the time. But what is true love?

Whenever I ask myself that question, I think of a poem by Roy Croft. To paraphrase, it begins something like this:

I love you not only for who you are, but for who I am when I am with you.

That seems to me a very powerful statement and an excellent question to ask about any relationship we (or our characters!) are in. Do we like how we act and react when we are with this person (or group)? Do we like how they behave?

If we can’t answer yes to both questions then maybe we need to look at whether this is a relationship we want (or our characters want) to be in—as it is now. It may be possible for the relationship to change or for us to grow in some way so that we can answer yes to those questions. And that’s the goal—to be able to be better and happier and healthier together than we each are alone. If we cannot be together without damaging one another, then the best and most honorable thing to do might well be to end the relationship.

It seems to me that with true love, we bring out the best in each other and lovingly encourage each other to be happy and achieve our dreams and be the best people we can be.

If we write romance novels, it’s especially important to ask in what ways our hero and heroine will help each other grow and become happier and healthier people. It’s important to know how we’re going to show the reader that this relationship will allow the hero and heroine to become the best they can be. That’s when our readers will cheer for the hero and heroine to be together and truly be able to believe they will live happily ever after. Not that things will always be perfect or go smoothly, but that the hero and heroine bring out the best in each other and the reader can believe that ultimately they always will.

Here’s wishing all of you true love in your own lives!