Its true that in many cultures, people who are in love create long-term partnerships and/or get married. We may hear of the high divorce rates, but lots of these couples do actually stay together. Yes, there are couples that have been married for 60 years and still feel passionately in love, and there are others who care deeply for one another even though the lust is gone (or maybe never existed!). Of course, sometimes we may not even want to hear about the happy, lovey-dovey couples because were feeling romantically unlucky or lovelorn ourselves.
Keep in mind that the reasons why some relationships dont last are as varied as the different kinds of people we are; in many cases, the partners simply grow apart because they have grown and changed as individuals, and seek different, more fulfilling opportunities for love. If a particular couple falls out of love, yet each partner goes on to seek a more satisfying love with another person, could this be an example of true love in action?
Love can also vary by degrees: some couples feel deeply intense and passionate, while others appreciate one another for intellectual reasons or admire one anothers ambition, dedication, or creativity. When is the last time you read a fairy tale where the main characters appreciated each others brilliant musicianship, eloquent writing, or compassion for humanity? (Well, maybe in Shakespeares writings¦.)
Love is not an easily definable concept but it may be helpful to try to spell it out. A psychologist, Richard Sternberg proposed that love is the result of three components ” intimacy, passion and commitment. The love is strongest when all three of these components are strong. John Lee proposed an alternate theory by identifying six styles (or colors) of love. How do you define love?
Perhaps, just for fun though, it might help to look at this elusive true love in another light. Look around you and see all of the expressions of love in our world: people devoting huge chunks of their lives for the human rights of others, people setting aside time to volunteer in their community, parents and caregivers protecting and nurturing their children and families, young people learning from and sharing things with their grandparents. Or, how about giving and receiving unconditional love to and from the animals in our lives?
So, are humans capable of staying in love? Sure they are, as there are lots of models around us of people who love and care deeply about one another. Some people follow the philosophy of better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all. Instead of looking at all the heartaches around us, why not look to all of the examples of the different types of love in the world? Perhaps if we think of love as a broadly defined term, its possible to see true love all around us.