All writing is about relationships. Maybe between friends, maybe between a kid and a pet, maybe between military personnel, maybe between business partners. When it comes to relationships between men and women, or even two men or two women, the mythology abounds.
For instance, there’s a Bible quote that states Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
That’s a fine ideal, but it’s so rare that you will discover it in life. And if you write about people who are not self-seeking, or not easily angered, you will probably hear that your characters are not believable. And you may end up with a pretty boring story.
Real people get all excited and walk on air in the early days of a relationship. There are trust issues, which need to be worked on. There are times when you are caught up in your life as it was. And you don’t always remember there is someone else who needs to be consulted and honored.
Real couples have times when jealousy cannot be avoided. I am one of the luckiest people in the world with my husband, but there have been times when my green eyes were truly green. We were in a book store many years ago, and Mike just happened to meet someone who had been connected to his favorite author, Robert Heinlein. Mike followed this woman all over the store as she pointed out books and talked about her experiences with The Man. I felt I could have disappeared and Mike wouldn’t have noticed for a few hours.
We had a joke where we would say, “There you go, flirting again,” when someone joked with us in front of each other. Mike told me he knew I was upset when I didn’t make that joke. And he reassured me that he loved me. I came to realize that he had gotten as close as he was ever likely to be to meeting Heinlein. And it was a really special moment. My equivalent would be meeting some surviving family member of Jane Austin’s.
Perhaps you think that what Mike and I had at that time was not really love. Well, I have to disagree. We loved each other more than I can ever put into words. But we had a young love at that time, a love that had a lot of simmering and growing to do. We are closer to the patient, kind, unboastful, selfless love after 20 years than we were then. Which is why you can sometimes tell how long a couple has been together by how they react to each other and to what’s going on in their lives.
Thanks for reading, I will be back on Thursday.