Love. There are songs about it. Everyone has a story, and it dominates most movies. This emotion, and the irrational things we do when we’re feeling it, can be pretty interesting. The reasons why are varied. The lengths we go to can be inspiring.
“It’s fun to do wild or silly things for people we love, like make a regressed Valentine when you’re 25 (years old) out of doilies,” said Dr. Linda Brockman, a Zephyr Cove clinical psychologist.
According to Brockman, love is biochemical, social and emotional. Mating rituals observed in the wild suggest there’s a biochemical reaction that takes place when we’re attracted. Socially, we are conditioned at youth about how people act when they are in love. Brockman says we see examples of love in movies, dancing in the forest, singing on a subway and kissing in the rain. In this way, love is a social phenomena.
But love has an effect on a personal level, too.
“It’s a fun emotion, it’s neat, it taps into our creativity,” Brockman said. “It gives us the opportunity as adults to enjoy ourselves, express ourselves and have fun while doing it.”
Love stimulates our sense of adventure, our wishes and dreams. It has the capacity to lift us out of our everyday experiences.
When Angie Karhu met her future husband, Viljo, little did she know she’d someday be expecting twin grandsons. The two met when she was a cocktail waitress in a hotel where he would come every evening to see her. After a month, he asked her out on a date which has never ended. Three weeks later, he asked her to come to his home in Oulu, Finland.
She was a single mother of three who had never been away. She was usually very conservative, cynical and cautious when it came to men. Yet she found herself applying for a passport.
“It was as if I was doing things not of my own accord,” Karhu said. “It’s an intuition, you have to go with it.”
Leaving on Valentine’s Day, they spent six weeks in a rustic cabin near the Arctic Circle with no running water. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, Valentine’s Day is a special anniversary for them and they are still very much in love.
“Things like this don’t just happen in books,” she added. “He was my knight in shining armor.”
Falling for each other
Real-life fairytales have more room for both adventure and mishap. Yet sometimes, the mishaps are just as romantic.
In the beginning of their relationship, Steve Romero took his future wife, Pat, hiking at Green Valley Falls near San Diego.
As they were casually walking up the trail, he saw her lose her footing. She began to slide down toward a pool of water. He gallantly tried to stop her from falling … and they both ended up in the drink.
“We were completely soaked and I had to drive back an hour,” Romero said. “She pulled me in with her, but I didn’t mind.”
He remembers thinking then that the event had a special meaning to it. After seven years of marriage, they both still tell the story to friends and co-workers.
The other woman is … me?
Love does have its various pitfalls. Jealousy can make even the most docile lover rant and rave.
Kristie Charlton returned home one evening and played back the messages on her answering machine. She heard a conversation between her husband and a woman that sounded very comfortable, almost intimate. She went upstairs, woke him up and demanded to know who the woman was. They both listened to the conversation, her crying and he, baffled. But as the conversation unfolded, she realized the woman was herself. The conversation had taken place eight months before while she was out of town.
“I told him, ‘you have no doubt I love you now,'” Charlton said. “He joked for a while, calling me his ‘other woman.'”
For all its quirks, love has the ability to give us hope, make us act silly and move mountains. There is something to be said for a feeling that carries so much power. Even though definitions vary with each individual, family and couple, the end result is usually the same. Love makes us feel free. And for those who are in love, Valentine’s Day is every day.
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