What is Love?

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.  😀

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to www.ruthannnordin.com or check out https://ruthannnordinauthorblog.wordpress.com.
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12 Responses to What is Love?

  1. The whole reason for reading romance is to escape from the real world for awhile. I wouldn’t trade my real world for anything, but I still like the entertainment of fantasy every once in awhile.

    Love is when you just happen in passing to mention you’re out of coffee filters, and a couple of days later you find some that hubby has bought even though you thought he wasn’t listening. Or getting several little things for Christmas that you had mentioned and had no idea he had heard when you mentioned them. And feeling comfortable sitting around in your pajamas watching TV and not really having to say anything, but knowing he’s there. 🙂

    • One of the things I hated about dating was never knowing what to say and having those awkward moments of silence before I got to know someone well enough to be comfortable. I much prefer where I’m at now. And yes, it’s so nice to sit around in your pajamas and watch TV in a comfortable silence. 😀

      And isn’t it sweet when they come through with something so sweet like buying the coffee filers? That kind of thing is worth more to me than flowers. In real life, I’m not a romantic person. I tend to value practical things over romantic things. You’d think I wouldn’t write romances given all that. LOL

  2. Rose Gordon says:

    I think romance novels are actually a really good example of real love, the only difference is, they usually end before the newlywed stage has ended and real life–one with wild kids, daily stress, morning breath, backaches, indigestion–sets in.

    I, too, think love is a choice. There are days when I wonder why I didn’t heed my mother’s advice to never get married that the headache wasn’t worth it and just get rid of my aggravation: Bob. But then I think how boring my life would be, and what misery I’d suffer to lose my best friend. Love isn’t perfect, but then again, neither am I.

    /rambling

    I really enjoyed your post.

    • I think it depends on the romance novel. There have been some that get into real love, but the part of the fantasy I mean is that stage where everything is butterflies and rainbows. When the book ends, we’re led to believe it’s always that way for the couple. That’s the fantasy.

      Poor Bob. LOL But we all feel that way when we’ve been married long enough. 😀 What matters is that the feeling passes and we choose to stick it out.

  3. lornafaith says:

    Love is definitely a choice…:) this year my husband and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Even though we love each other like crazy…there have been many days we’ve had fights or days of discouragement where we’ve had to choose to love. I like to read books where I can escape to another world not be reminded of my own. I guess that’s why we write romance:)

    • Congratulations on 25 years! My husband and I just hit 12 last month. Before I got married, an old lady told me the secret to a lasting marriage was to choose to stick it out. Who wants to read about that? I sure don’t. I want to read about the fun stage when everything is new and exciting. 😀

  4. ruthgriffin says:

    Love your post and I agree wholeheartedly: when you remove the emotion, love is a decision we make. Sadly, my life wouldn’t work as a romance novel either. With three and a half teenagers, it would read more like a taxi cab log. That’s dull.

    • My sympathies on the three and a half teens. I got four boys 6-9 who will be there soon enough, and I’m not looking forward to it. LOL I think I’ll need to keep up the romance writing so I can survive it.

  5. lynelleclark says:

    Love is not a feeling but a act of your will was a well known song years back. It is still true for today. You make a choice to walk with some one no matter what. A while back I was confronted with this when we went through bad times. The strain of our life vexed on our marriage of 27 years, taking its worst turn but at the end we decided to stick it out and stay together no matter what the circumstances is. Since it has not changed since that day. But I am happy that I have done it. I think it would have been worse if I decided to walk away. Many of our friends took the other root and for some it worked for others their situations became worse. It is a CHOICE.

    • I’m sorry I didn’t see this sooner. I just checked my spam folder and saw your comment was put there. I have no idea why since you didn’t send a link with anything. Usually, I notice comments get put to spam when it contains a link to another site. Weird.

      Anyway, I’m inspired by how you made the choice to stick with it. Thanks for sharing and letting me know and that you look back and are glad you made the decision you did. 😀

  6. dorothypaula says:

    Every word you wrote in this post is the absolute truth. Thank you! DorothyPaula 🙂

    • Thanks! 😀 A friend recently made a post that best stated the stages of love which I forgot to include: lust, love, sacrifice and commitment. I don’t think it’s until the final stage that I truly appreciated my husband. 😀

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