What is love? My girlfriend and I came up with some great metaphors for this intangible bond which holds people together.
……A Thrill Ride. Sharing experiences with another person adds an element of non-control into the picture. Suddenly you’ve got a “better half” who you can never completely predict. One reason it’s so great to be together with a fellow human being is because humans are ever-changing creatures. I have no idea how my partner will change, nor does she know how I will. That makes it a kind of thrill ride. The best affairs fulfill our thirst for drama and spice: the ideal relationship of constant hugs and smiles, which some people try to portray to the outside world as in the movie Revolutionary Road, is a sham. A relationship without its ups and downs is like a flat roller coaster. But when two people share the full spectrum of emotions with each other, a roller coaster of ecstasy and soap opera, a new and higher level of intimacy is achieved.
……A Fine wine. While a typical fling might be very hot and passionate at first, it always seems to cool down. But true love should age like wine, growing in subtle intensity. Fond memories accumulate, and not just the lovey-dovey kind, but also the excited forbidden kind. This is the couple who seems drunk on each other, the married couple who still can’t keep their hands off each other.
……A Garden. Tend it and watch it blossom. Then let it nourish you and its fruits revive your soul. Lie down in the flowers in the warmth of the sun. Replant the seeds of love so that it may replenish itself and grow more full as the seasons pass. Be vigilant of weeds and uproot them early by maintaining an open and direct dialogue together. Openness is crucial in a loving relationship; the light which streams in will strengthen the garden.
……A Battlefield. I like to fight other guys over my girl. God knows, she’s cute enough there’s no end to guys hitting on her. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. My girlfriend is the jealous type, and whenever another girl so much as smiles at me, I’m sure to get a tight possessive hug The artillery and shrapnel of the flirting world keeps a good relationship sharp and wards off complacency. A common misconception is that this conflict can be stopped by exchanging two gold rings. Nonsense: all that does is up the stakes of war!
……The Air. How easily we can take it for granted when we have it! Lose it and you’ll feel it fast. We human beings are hard-coded to need companionship and affection with a kind of lunatic urgency. It’s more important than any other thing in the confines of the world: just as a pile of gold would do you no good if you couldn’t breathe, so too do all the luxuries of life crumble to dust when the energy of love is removed. Breathe love in deeply and let it flow through every corner of your body and heart. Like the Tibetan monks meditate upon their breath, make yourself appreciate each moment together.
……An Experiment. When two hearts join, there’s no knowing what the outcome will be. And yet like a scientist devoted to truth and knowledge, lovers thrill in the act of the experiment regardless of the results. As in science, there is no “wrong result”. Quite the opposite, the most awesome results are the very ones we least expect. It is when our lover surprises us and catches us off guard that new heights of love are achieved.
……A Destroyer. A really good love affair will annihilate something about the lover’s prior self. Maybe new boundaries will be penetrated, maybe certain beliefs and views will change. The very best encounters will leave one a completely different person, obliterate the old self completely. Sometimes a dart from Cupid is exactly what we need to nudge us off the wrong path in life, to jolt us out of a rut, force us to take back control from the autopilot. In order to fall in love, one must be ready (deep down) to let go of things and put some faith in fate: to bid farewell and release the old and open one’s arms to the new.
……Life. All the important parts of life resonate lovingly, whether for a soulmate or for friends or even just for a particularly dear hobby. No man makes a meaningful impact upon the world without some kind of deeper emotional tug at his heartstrings. Lukewarm emotions just do not carry enough momentum or energy to do anything more than make some temporary noise. Of course, even besides these deeper matters, there’s the obvious direct physical connection between intimacy and the very creation of life. No-one loves like a newborn baby!
……Autumn. With passion, every part of life bursts aflame with color and light and energy and presence. Autumn is the season of dusk and twilight, just as the throes of love exist in that half-awake, half-dreaming state of magic when the rest of the world gets its volume turned way down. And when at last love smolders down and dies, its passage ushers in a season of wintry cold and gloom. And yet given the power to avoid the winter and dwell forever in Summer, life would be deprived of some of its beauty and joy: therefore we choose to open our hearts to our lovers, even knowing that it might hurt.
……An Adventure. A great road trip to new and unexplored feelings and experiences, fraught perhaps with perils and conflicts. In a story, the adventure is the whole reason for the hero’s being, it’s the whole reason for the whole story-world’s existence. So too does the Higher Emotion justify all the toil and tedium of life. In a certain sense, every adventure is a metaphor for, every story a monument to, love. It is, at the very core, what separates the novel from a lifeless narration of events, and what makes our lives worth reading.