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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me?"

Okay Whitney Houston fans! Alert your coworkers, family members, or whoever is sitting next to you in the coffee're about to belt out some lyrics!

 ♫  How will I know (Don't trust your feelings)
     How will I know
     How will I know (Love can be deceiving)
     How will I know
     How will I know if he really loves me   ♫

Whitney brings up a really good question, one that I was recently asked as a Marriage counselor.

How will you know? How will our character's know? How will we portray them "knowing?"

I heard it said that in you should be better off with your mate than without, which is a great rule to apply to a fledgling relationship. By that, I meant that your life is more enriched somehow. It's like Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets when he said to Helen Hunt, "You make me want to be a better man." (Which, ironically, he equates with telling her that he started taking his pills for OCD!)

This is more than just a feeling, which as Whitney said, can't be trusted. No, it's a measure of accumulated actions. And what is love, really, than an action?

I propose here on my blog that there is a poetic verse that speaks to these actions better than anything I could come up with on my own. This passage is often hailed and cited at marriages as the pinnacle example of marital love for which to strive.
This definition of love is full of actions. If you were to take any of those traits and determine the opposite of that behavior, you have all sorts of relationship problems arise, like:

abuse (is not easily angered)                         adultery (always trusts)
infidelity (is not self-seeking)                       silent treatment (is not rude)
telling lies (rejoices with the truth)               holds a grudge (keeps no records of wrongs)
pushes buttons (does not delight in evil)      walks away (always perseveres)
not standing up for you (always protects)    jealous-minded (does not envy)
they always come first (not self-seeking)     makes you feel stupid (is patient)

As you can see, not all of these are eye-opening deal-breakers. If your character gets even a hint or trace evidence in their partner of any of the above, it needs to be addressed ASAP, or they need to cut their losses and walk away. Because I promise, years of marriage will only magnify these problems.

If you have your character getting into a relationship with hopes to change someone, then hopefully you'll show their character arc as one who learns how futile an exercise this really is by the end of the book.

Let's Analyze

How did YOU know that your spouse was the one for you? If you're not married, does the above sound like good advice to give?