November 14, 2012

Love is not a Noun

In spite of the grocery store tabloids revealing the breakups and sordid secrets inside the marriages of the rich and famous, I think most people who tie the knot seem to have bought the prevailing myth of romantic love. I know I did. None of us like to think of ourselves as one of them (those lying, cheating, no-good types). No, as the song goes, our love is here to stay.

While I was married to a woman who turned narcissistic over the years, I asked myself everyday what is the harm in basking in the honeymoon love-will-conquer-all phase? Now I have realize that the problem is that the expectations of marriage, when blown up to mythical proportions, leave us believing we have failed when the proverbial stuff hits the fan.

She walked out the door and told me that she loved me but was no longer “in love with me,” and therefore must leave the relationship to find a more perfect love (with my best friend.) I was convinced by my friends, my divorce lawyer and my family that love, once lost, cannot be rekindled. How tragic that, as a society, we have been so filled with images of romantic love that we think of it as something outside of our control. We wait for love, like a giant bird, to descend from some distant landscape and settle in our personal tree branches once again.

This destructive myth makes many of us believe that love, once set into motion, will carry us along through the complexities of life, if only we are lucky enough, or if we choose the right person. I believe that this is not so, since conflict, disagreement, hardship and misunderstandings are inevitable in every close relationship. I have come to understand that to build a strong, lasting relationship, love is better thought of as a verb not a noun.