I love stories about love. Nothing gives me more satisfaction than two people finding one another and overcoming the obstacles that have been keeping them apart. That's one side of me. The other side of me is a pragmatist, the side that wonders what happens after the happily ever after. When couples come together during a whirlwind adventure, can they truly find happiness together in calmer times?
Incidentally, this is one reason why epilogues work for me. It shows me that the relationship is solid and has weathered the everyday storms.
Because that's where my inner romantic and pragmatist intersect. I am an absolute believer in true love, the sort of love that makes a person bigger and better than they were before. But I am also an absolute believer that true love can't happen over a weekend or even over a few months. It takes time to develop.
True love is bringing someone soup while they've got the flu. It's seeing them at their worst and not losing any of the spark that drew you together at their best. Doris Egan described true love as the rare moments when someone you love and admire suddenly seems transcendent and indescribably amazing. It's knowing what kind of muffins they like and whether they prefer cats or dogs and what's on their favourite playlists.
Some people believe that true love requires mystery. That it can't survive knowing everything about the beloved. But I believe that if love can't survive learning the truth, then it was never really love in the first place. Because you can't only love part of a person. It's an all or nothing deal.
With Valentine's Day less than a month away, I think it's important to remember that love can be one of the most wonderful parts of human existence but that it's also one of the most addictive. There's nothing like the high that comes with falling in love but there's also nothing like the comfort and warmth that comes from a love that lasts. And that's always worth taking the time to find.