I might write romances. I love it. I get to “fall in love” on a regular basis. The thrill of that first moment when you realize you are with the person meant for you is one of things that makes writing romances so much fun. I really enjoy that “falling in love” process.
But as I’m sitting here at my laptop, finishing up Bound by Honor, Bound by Love, I look around my living room and see children who are occasionally fighting but being good for the most part. My husband is upstairs reading a book. It’s not exactly the picture we’re given of love in romance novels. In romance novels, the couple strives to be together and there are all those exciting emotions.
Real life can’t sustain a romance novel type of love. Real life had you up in the clouds during the days when you first find that person and are falling in love. But then the day-to-day tasks of life set in, and you find that love isn’t all about fireworks and endless hours together. In fact, if I were to spend all day with my husband, I’d go nuts. (Same is true for him.)
The truth is while your spouse completes you, you still need to have your own identity. And this isn’t a bad thing. It makes you a more rounded person. I am not just a wife. I am a mother, a writer, a friend, an Omaha-zoo and Mahoney State Park enthusiast, among other things. My point is that there are times when we need things separate from our spouse.
But that doesn’t lessen the importance of love, and it doesn’t mean I love my husband any less. It’s all about moderation in anything. You can’t spend all your time on only one thing or else you aren’t a well-balanced person. Make sense?
So what is love? Honestly, I am convinced love is a choice. It’s a decision. Feelings are so fleeting and unreliable. I mean, one minute, I want to kiss my husband because he did the laundry without me asking, and the next, I want to knock him upside the head for not cleaning up the juice he spilled on the counter (which, for anyone who’s had to deal with ants, knows this is important if you don’t want more of those pests).
The more I think about it, making decisions based on emotions is horrible. It’s too easy to get swept up in the moment. Later on, you think, “Good grief. What was I thinking?” This can be anything from an inexpensive toy for the kid or an expensive item for your husband (because they were just so darn cute at the time and so happy, which made you happy, so you couldn’t say no). That’s just one example which isn’t that serious. A more serious example would be “I don’t feel appreciated. But there’s this guy who makes me feel like a queen, so I think I’ll leave my husband and kids to be with him.” I’ve heard more scenarios play out like this than I care to admit. Why did it happen? Probably because the person who left had this notion that love should be all fluff (ex. candy and roses) every day of the year.
Love isn’t all rose and candy. It can be hard. Love is treating others the way you’d want them to treat you, even when they don’t return the favor. It’s not all that exciting. In fact, it can see ho-hum most of the time because you’re going from day-to-day not really thinking about it. But when you end up in severe pain because of a kidney stone that’s passing and your husband takes you to the emergency room and then takes care of the kids so you can rest, that’s where love truly matters. It’s not the candy and roses and other thrills.
It’s in growing old together, when looks fade and you’re no longer the beauty you once were (believe me, it’s not fun to compare myself to how I was when I first got married because I’m not the Hollywood version of beauty anymore). Love is about being who you truly are with the other person and knowing that they’ve accepted you, good traits and bad. No one is perfect. Romance novels often require us to be perfect or for the other person to be perfect, but that’s because in the “falling in love” stage, you and the other person are “perfect”. I admit that I have made up some pretty perfect characters, but I also realize that romance novels are fiction. They are not a mirror of reality. Who wants to read a book where the hero and heroine are sitting around the house and trying to decide if they take the kids out for a walk, shop for clothes since school is quickly approaching, or just hang out in the house today? Because this is my life on a regular basis. It’d make for a horrible romance novel.
I still love romance novels and all the thrills in them. Sure, it’s not the same as real life, but I write and read fiction to be entertained. I like the escape. I placing myself in the character’s shoes and living out their adventure. It’s fun. But for the critics who complain about romance novels because it’s not realistic, all I can say is, “So what?” It doesn’t have to be. My life would make a very boring novel. But one of characters would have an exciting tale to tell, so I tell theirs instead. 😀