Because it’s Christmas Eve, today’s Edition of I am Alive is devoted to falling in love. What’s that got to do with Christmas Eve, you may ask. Well, at Christmas, tradition has it that, under the mistletoe you can steal a kiss without being accused of misconduct or worse. So, you potential lovers, put up some mistletoe and listen up. My name is Tony Copple and I occasionally host this show to give Suzette a well earned break. I’ve fallen in love a few times, three of which led to marriage, so maybe I’m qualified to speak on this subject – though some might disagree! What you will hear has been contributed by a number of friends and from my wife Laurie-Ann from their own experiences. Does everyone fall in love? I like to think so because it is such a special feeling. By the way, when I use the word he, it represents both he and she, just as her represents his or her. Love is equal opportunity.
The Beatles sang “I Want to Hold Your Hand” but only someone in love really gets it. Holding hands is often the first amorous outreach towards another, testing the waters for a response, and when there is one it can move a relationship towards the next level. In some cases it may be seen by one of the hand-holders as more of a gesture of platonic friendship, which can falsely raise the hopes of, and confuse, the other.
T.V. Carpio - I want to hold your hand - Across the universe
Being physically close is best. In the room: next best. In the building: next. In the area: next. Driving away from is bad. Driving towards is good. You park your car next to hers in the parking lot. The cars want to be close, too. Seeing her car means she is somewhere close ... Her car is your friend, and its windows in the rain a place to draw a heart an arrow with your finger, hoping she may respond in kind. When you can’t be with her, sitting in her chair, or touching the seat where she was sitting, become strange things you find yourself doing. Going to places where you went with her; anything to recreate her aura. Both watching the same TV program brings you closer. Everything in life seems happier generally. “I was too excited to eat, so I lost weight,” reports Laurie-Ann, my wife. I wrote you tons of letters and emails. I couldn’t wait to hear your voice or to read a written note from you. My heart would skip a beat when I’d see you – or even your picture. Why do you love me? I want you to love me! Sings Adele
Adele - Why do you love me? - 25
Although falling in love can be mutual – he and she at the same time, movie style – it is probably more common for one of the couple to fall first and then woo the other. Often this gets nowhere other than unrequited love – there’s a lot of that about. Another name for it is a crush. The one who is in love eagerly seeks signs that the other shares the passion, often grasping at straws and mistaking friendship for love. She gives you a smile and it makes your day; you think maybe she likes you after all. Next day you are full of doubts and worry she’s going to brush you off. Men don’t much like to be openly woo’d, but often don’t realize that subtle wooing has going on for a while – touch, hugs, compliments, voice tone. Wooing can be invigorating, creative, fun. Can good wooing turn around unrequited love? Sometimes, but not always. From the Bible to literature and song down the ages there seem to be more stories about unrequited love than requited love! What are the thoughts of the one who doesn’t want to accept the advances of the smitten one. Are they a nuisance – or even a hrassment? Or is it maybe nice to be wanted even though you don’t have it in your heart to respond? Sometimes the lack of response is because responding could lead to hurting others; such as when one of the duo is already spoken for in a relationship. A really good friendship may be crafted from such a one-sided relationship. For the partner in love, the benefits of a special friendship offer many of the attractions and feelings of the beginning of a love affair. And maybe such a friendship, based on wise restraint could outlast a full blown affair or even a marriage, while delivering Storgé love (which I’ll define later) and great human satisfaction and joy. Leonard Cohen wrote that ‘There ain’t no cure for love,’ and his word ‘cure’ reminds us that some aspects of the love condition feel a bit like the ‘flu. Sometimes it just won’t go away.
Leonard Cohen - Ain’t no Cure for Love - The Essential Leonard Cohen
Here are a few more characteristics of being in love. If you are not sure if you are in love, you probably aren’t, particularly if you don’t have any of these symptoms or the other give-aways I spoke about earlier.
There is an overwhelming desire to help the loved one in all things, particularly if she is in trouble. In extreme cases this can mean laying down one’s life.
The loved one appears beautiful to the would-be lover. Some aspect of her smile, her complexion, her eyes, her hair, her figure are magnified in the other’s mind to represent the whole. When she isn’t around personally, photographs can be of great help and value. Some may look at the images regularly throughout the day. Probably keep them on their phone for that purpose. When lovers are separated by great distances, for example in the armed services, photographs become all consuming in value; are taken into battle.
But there is always a need for the presence of the loved person that photos can’t satisfy.
As you go about your daily business and see others going about theirs, you feel sorry for them that they probabably aren't in love and having the passionate feelings that you are. How can just regular life bring them satisfaction?
In an unexpected absence of the loved one for a couple of days you start to panic. Has her phone died? Is she in hospital, paralysed? Is she dead? The mind selects the most terrifying possibilities.
Your lover’s possessions receive a reflection of your love for her. If you leave one of your possessions, perhaps a jacket or a tie in her car, it’s somehow pleasant that it is with her for a while.
Chris de Burgh - The Lady in Red - Into the light
The heart appears to be capable of love-attraction regardless of whether there is already a partner around. A man can come into contact with hundreds, even thousands of women, and then one seems different from all of them, and he can be hooked in no time. This is unlikely if the prior relationship is Eros rather than Storgé . It is also more likely where the woman in question is sending out messages of attraction, subliminally or intentionally.
When a married man falls for another woman (or vice versa), he has been zapped by Eros, and it may have been the last thing he was looking for. But his long term Storgé for his wife may well remain intact. Some religions and cults even recognize Eros between more than one person, though Christianity strongly teaches against it, and I for one have never experienced it. Food for thought.
Diana Krall - The Look of Love - The look of love
Touch, for me, is the key sense involved in falling in love. The accidental touch of finger to finger can be electrifying. The desire to sit next to rather than sit opposite allows touch of body to body, or leg to leg. Hugs today are 2 a penny, but when two would-be lovers hug there is a lot more going on. A politically correct hug avoids pressing the female breast, but when a male hugs a female, the breast is usually in his mind. Hugging causes the brain immediately to secrete oxytocin, creating pleasure. While a female would back off hurriedly if a too-eager male attempts to touch a breast with the hand, women are not averse that touch from the male chest of a friend, even where neither of the huggers is in love. Where at least one of them is in love, that classic contact is a form of communication that can speak more clearly than words – and coming up with the right words at such a time is the stuff of poets, not ordinary guys and galls. But because hugging is so common, it can be misinterpreted by a wooer in a one sided romance when the wooee intends it as nothing other than a way of saying hello.
Touch is one of the five love languages identified by Gary Chapman. The others are words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, and acts of service. Each of us places these in our own priorities. Couples who study the order of importance of each other’s love languages, and act on them accordingly, hold a priceless advantage in the quest for love that lasts a lifetime – they know how to effectively and consistently make each other feel truly and deeply loved. Husbands and wives normally have different love languages. If they have the same one they are lucky and truly blessed. If you fail to identify your spouse’s primary love language, and use it, then for them it’s like hearing a foreign language when you attempt to make them feel your love. This is why many marriages fail, even though before marriage the relationship – pure eros - seemed made in heaven. I would strongly recommend The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman, and also attending a pre-marriage course to all couples before walking up that aisle. I would also recommend from my own experience that the couple be congruent in their religious faith if they hope for a long happy marriage. Those who pray together, stay together, and can overcome the hurdles along the way, together.
Michael Buble - Sway - Michael Buble
Dancing, at least in dances where you hold one another, is like hugging only lasting longer with music adding to the atmosphere. We used to call it the vertical equivalent of the horizontal ...but in today’s dance music and non-touch dancing, the emphasis is on the music rather than the bodily contact that leads to wooing. Sad. Internet dating and hook ups have put the dance halls out of business and created a culture of one night stands rather than lasting relationships.
The relationship rises in relative importance to every other aspect of life until it seems more important than all other aspects put together. When that happens, should there be a perceived or real breakdown in the relationship (eg failure to respond to a communication) this can bring on severe depression, including inability to function efficiently in other aspects of life, and if shown to be a real breakdown, every possible negative emotion including suicidal tendencies.
Unrequited or not, the lover may begin to dream of his loved one. The dream can be simple and fragmented, or long and detailed, but there is no doubt who is being dreamed about, and it is usually pleasurable.
Peggy Lee - Someone who Cares - Born Norma Delores Egstrom
- Peggy Lee, my favourite love singer. Love songs that previously seemed merely pleasant, take on new meaning. Some people may make compilations of love songs for their loved one.
Where love is outside the accepted norms – for example a married person falls for a person married to someone else, there are plenty of songs describing their predicament.
Both people in such a liaison will come up with any number of illogical reasons to ‘justify’ their actions usually involving rescuing them from a worse situation to a better.
The multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry, and for that matter the breast-implant industry, would have us believe that falling in love is restricted to beautiful people with model dimensions, as eloquently described in Janis Ian’s classic song ‘At Seventeen.’ This is untrue – sorry Janis, though at seventeen you can be forgiven for believing it. The brain is the foremost erogenous zone. Just look around you and see that most couples didn’t get together because of striking physical beauty. There is a book by Scott Peck called A Bed by the Window where a nurse in a hospice falls in love with a paralysed and terminally ill patient who cannot speak. That is an extreme example, but it illustrates the fact that physical characteristics are not pre-requisite to falling in love, so those of us who grew up resenting our physical appearance should take heart. You may know hundreds of people, yet only one of them makes an impression on the part of your brain that says “I would like to get to know you better.” It would appear that the opposite is also true: when beautiful people do marry, it seldom lasts, each of them being likely to attract the attention of other beautiful people. All humans (beautiful or not) are designed for loving one another, and one form of that love at least is intended specifically for continuation of the species. Without it, the human race dies out in a generation. Laurie-Ann and I first connected when she thanked me by email for work I had done on a Christian website that she had used for her university study to earn her M Div degree. That e-mail began an electronic correspondence where we got to know each other extremely well, but never called on the phone, and I never saw her photo. By the time we did eventually meet 4 months later we were already essentially in love, and have so been these last 16 years. It all had little to do with physical characteristics, though of course to me she is totally beautiful.
Is falling in love just for the young? Here’s the thing. The unique emotions of falling in love seem to remain unchanged throughout life. I first felt them at age 10 when I fell in love with a 7 year old called Eileen. 30 years later I sought her out and spoke with her about old times. My third marriage, to Laurie-Ann was at my age 60. There were other times I fell in love, but the same emotions. The more experience you have, the quicker you realize what’s happened. I want to emphasise that in this program I have concentrated on the initial stages of a love affair, before it ever leads to sexual intercourse, It’s a precious time and should be strung out as long as possible. Today’s culture of leaping into bed on a first date, possibly before you know each other’s names is so wasteful of what love can offer. While the act of love for many is the strongest physical experience they’ll ever have, it is fleeting. Falling in love delivers huge pleasures long before the act of love. We should savour it. Time to check that the mistletoe is in place ...
Janis Ian - Joy - Folk is the new Black
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