Website owner: James Miller
What is romantic love? What are the symptoms and characteristics of this emotional phenomenon? Let us look at related words and phrases in Roget's Thesaurus: Being in love; being wild about, mad over, crazy about someone; being in a state of heavenly bless, walking on air, passion, desire, need, want, hot passion, heaven on earth, intoxication, seeing life through rose-colored glasses, fantasy, dreams, imagination; lose one's heart, be enamored, be bewitched, be in high heaven, be under a spell; infatuation, worship of another, be desperately in love, adore, head over heels in love, be swept off one's feet, be under another's power; be sexually "turned on", sexually excited, wanting someone sexually; sexual fantasies; emotional cords strung so tight you can't even talk or function properly. As we see from the above phrases "being in love" is an emotional phenomenon in which one finds himself in a state of heavenly bless, bewitched and under a spell, due to things he feels towards another person of the opposite sex. It is an emotional high, a lovely, heavenly experience that can hold you under its powerful grasp for weeks, months and longer. In the western world much is made of "love" and "being in love". It is often viewed as almost the purpose of life, the reason for existence. It is popularly thought to be the important prerequisite to a happy marriage. In fact, marriage is often conceived of as some idyllic state in which two people live out their entire lives in this heavenly state of romantic love. It is an ideal and belief that is part of our western culture. Let us make some observations about this emotional phenomenon called "being in love": - It is a transitory phenomenon. It lasts for only a certain length of time, then fades away. Once two people get married and start living together and facing the practical problems of life together this heavenly state of happiness starts dying. - It may be one-sided. Just because you are "in love" with someone, totally captivated by them, experiencing all the many heavenly symptoms of love, doesn't mean that the other person has the same feelings for you. They may have no feelings for you and may, in fact, even dislike you. - Over a lifetime one can experience this phenomenon of "being in love" many times with a number of different people, both before marriage and after (i.e. you can "fall in love" with many different people both before and after marriage). - "Being in love" has no connection with marital compatibility. You may experience this feeling of love for someone (and they may also feel the same for you) and the two of you may be completely incompatible in regard to living a life together. - "Being in love" is, in a sense, an illusion, a mirage. It is this because it is deceptive, delusional and transitory. While under its spell one sees only the good side, only what one wants to see. Once the spell is broken one sees reality in the clear light of day. - The emotional high of "being in love" is somewhat like the highs produced by drugs and alcohol. They all produce a sort of euphoria, making things appear better than they are, distorting vision. - While under the powerful grasp of love the mind is impaired. Judgment is impaired. Perception of Reality is impaired. One's view of everything is distorted. "Love is blind" it is said. Indeed it is blind to Truth, Fact and Reality. (It would not seem to be the ideal state to be in when making really serious life decisions --- like decisions on who we are going to spend the rest of our lives living with. On such decisions you would think you would like to make them with a clear mind and cool, balanced judgment. Yet how many marriages in our culture are consummated under the bewitchments of this abnormal, judgment-distorting state? Could this be part of the cause of the high divorce rate in our western culture?) - "Love" is usually sparked by physical attraction (by someone seeming attractive or good looking to you) as well as by other things such as a pleasing or charming personality and spiritual attraction (i.e. having a high regard for someone in a moral or spiritual sense). - "Love" is a subtle, complex mixture of elusive ingredients that include 1. spiritual feelings on a high spiritual plane 2. sexual attraction and desire on a lower plane; it being often difficult to tell where one starts and the other ends and which is which. The imagination is strongly stimulated and plays a large role in the whole thing. With its help we paint the one we are in love with as we want him to be. We build in our mind the perfect ideal and convince ourselves that he is that ideal (such a powerful force as "love" is, it tends to cause a great deal of self-deception). - It is a natural, biological phenomenon designed to bring two members of the opposite sex together for the purpose of sexual union and reproduction. It has never been clear to me just what and how much of a role sexual desire plays in the phenomenon of "being in love". With me, at least, it seems to have always played little or no role. In times past when I have been "in love" the phenomenon has always been on a high spiritual plane. For example, when I was only seven years old I fell madly in love with a pretty young blonde from our church. I was smitten hard. It was a bad case. When I was around her I was so shy and so "tied up" emotionally that I couldn't even talk to her. It lasted for a couple of years. (It was all one-sided, she had no interest in me). She had me bewitched and under a spell. I thought she was attractive and am sure that "sexual attraction", whatever the biological mechanism behind that is, played a big role. But I was far too young to have any sexual desires. It happened long before the onset of puberty at the age of 12, with its sudden awakening of sexual capabilities and desires. In the years that followed, through grade school, high school, college and after college I developed temporary "crushes" on many girls. They tended to be on a high spiritual plane and were always accompanied by a frustrating phenomenon: extreme shyness around them. I would never be shy around other girls but would have an extreme case around those I especially liked. I would be so shy I couldn't talk to them; I would be all tied up in knots around them. Sept 1989 More from SolitaryRoad.com:
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