One more note after watching Harry Potter: The Half Blood Prince. The emphasis on relationships really got me thinking about Romance, and what it is exactly.
Romance is most visible in a relationship at the beginning, and generally, as the committment of two people continues, romance must either be rekindled or constantly remembered for the relationship to retain its vigor. But what exactly is romance?
I’m sure some scientist could chemically explain what it is – but those who have ever had a crush, or who have started going out with someone and are leading up to the first kiss know that Romance is something overpowering at times, and often effects our thinking (irrationally at times) and leads us to do unusual things. Good or bad. It is a feeling, a thought, and the actions that come from it. It is the flowers you bought, or the cabinet you built, or the poem you wrote, and which you would never have done except for that One Person. No one else would deserve such hard work, such devotion, such love and attention.
While I’m not sure exactly “what” Romance is – other than the effects of it, I think that I do know what leads to it. For romance to exist, there must be an Unknown thing. I will refer to as Unknown alone. This Unknown makes pursuit of it exciting. I think that is why in Adolescence, Romance is so intense. Basically, because you know almost nothing, and yet you are expected to act like you know everything. This dichotamy creates enormous flames (relationships), but often die out when the Unknown becomes known. When you don’t know something, you create an idea of what you don’t know, and so that Unknown becomes a perfectly realize being (perfect meaning that the Unknown merely becomes what you need it to be). Once known, the reality is often not parallel with the fantasy, and disappointment results, and is often an insurmountable barrier for those who want to love the fantasy more than the reality.
So how does this play out in a long term relationship? How can a long term relationship even have romance, or exist, when the two people are committed but are beginning to know everything about each other?
I have an easy answer – though I don’t think people realize that it is easy. Us humans are complicated, and we never truly reveal all of ourselves to another, even when we think we have. We are finite and thus, are not able to give all of ourselves at once. Our memories are not all with us at all points of time, and things come to us throughout relationships. There is always more Unknown to discover. Not only that, but what do people who are committed do when they “Think” (though it is not really true) that they know everything about each other? Easy! Romance is not Love. Love is something bigger than romance because, as I’ve talked about already, romance is something that happens because of the Unknown. Once romance ends, there is the Love. And if we look to the scriptures, we see the workings of Love.
“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Love is what results when we walk beyond the forests of romance. There is a clearing, and where things are known for the good and for the bad, and there we find the need for kindness, patience, humility, and longsuffering. Often what people are rather than what they are Unknown, is a bit ugly and is still being worked on, but beyond that, is Love. So the committed lover is free to love the other forever, when the other is Unknown or known, because the two are constantly becoming one. Isn’t that neat? I think so.