I love movies. Indie films, classics, romantic comedies, thrillers, action films, adventure epics — did i leave anything out? Sci-fi. Some of those are the best. I love a good story, and I want to see characters unfold, change and grow.
Last week I watched “Made of Honor,” a romantic comedy about a guy who wanted to have his cake and eat it too. No commitment involved. Which worked okeydokey until his best girlfriend got swept off her feet by someone willing to commit. The contented, honest, comfortable friendship they’d shared for years was suddenly threatened. Companionship gets tossed out the widow for True Love. Cupid. The Romantic Ideal. How does it end? Will he get his True Love (or the One He Just Realized He Had All Along) back? So romantic, this passionate pursuit.
I get it. I am an unapologetic romantic. Give me a quiet, elegant dinner by candlelight, maybe at a new restaurant in a neighborhood we’ve explored on foot for the afternoon (or in our own backyard), a decent Malbec, Diana Krall or Michael Buble crooning softly in the background. With good, connecting conversation woven in. It’s my idea of a good time. Let the good times roll, as they say in New Orleans.
It’s been twenty-seven years since my husband and I married. Romance with my Beloved has come and gone and returned and vanished again many times over. But then we live in Massachusetts, not on a studio movie set. I enjoy just doing life with the man I married. But occasionally I’m tempted to buy into that notion that romantic love is our highest state of being. That passion, or being in love, is the way to wholeness and completion. Who could forget the infamous “You complete me” scene? Also, BTW, from the movies.
What about companionship as a basis for relationship? Eharmony and other matchmaking sites certainly hype the companionship/compatability factor. Yet they also talk about finding your True Love. Your Soul Mate. Who is waiting for you around the next cybercorner. Do you believe it? Or is that romantic notion just an illusion?
“Romance,” writes Robert Johnson, “is never happy with the other person just as he or she is.” Johnson says romantic love “sees the other person only as a role player in the drama,” …that romantic love is more about our projections — of how we see ourselves and what we want or need from another. Sounds pretty self-centered, put that way. Been there. Guilty.
So what about romance? What about passion? Is there no place for it? Richard Rohr says, “Romance is that sense of adventure and daring and surrender that comes into our life when we have a vision worth living and dying for. The ‘Great Romance’ with life itself probably makes the smaller romances a lifelong occurence.”
If I’m centered and at peace with God, I find romance in life itself. And love — Real Love — seems to flow out of me much more easily. “Love is content to do many things ego is bored with. Love is willing to work with the other person’s moods and unreasonableness. Love is willing to fix breakfast and balance the checkbook.” (Johnson) “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous,… does not act unbecomingly, does not seek its own…” ( I Corinthians 13) Yes. Now that’s a romantic ideal worth aspiring to. I think I’ll go balance the checkbook. With passion!
What about you? What do you value most? Romance? Or companionship?