Is romantic love true or possible?

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  A man asked me to present my viewpoint re the following question:

   "With so many marriages failing, why do you still believe in romantic love?"


Dear Mark,

     When a stone starts rolling, you never know where it might go.... (or perhaps, more accurately, it simply follows the environmental line of natural "fall"....)

     This question immediately triggered a memory of a movie stored in my brain (this account is my remembered perception of the film...  not a word-for-word or "scene-by-scene" recollection).

     The Plot: It told the story about a hit-man who had been given a job to do (murder a woman) for a large sum of money.

     This hit-manís history was one of self-serving, ruthlessness... acted out in superb (if one can use that word within such a scenario) cunning.

     The viewer soon learns that he is no run-of-the-mill hit-man. He didnít simply find his victim, execute him/her and then disappear into the night. He would ingratiate himself into the victimís life and when his victim was the most vulnerable, he would murder him/her.

          This hard-bitten, soul-less executioner-for-hire, was by self-design, a loner, who no one had ever really known... He liked it that way.

     The audience finds him/herself walking alongside this cold detached man as he gets the information he needs to find and "work" his latest victim.

     The viewer follows this killer as he searches out all the needed information that will allow him a close examination of her life, her habits, her hopes, her dreams, in order to set-up the right moment to enter her life (so that he can choose the "right" moment to end it).

     Fundamentally, for this man, each killing "job" appeared to mean much more to him than merely getting rid of another human-being for someone (for the "right" price).

     We find out that this is a killing that requires a specific act. He is not merely to shoot her... he is to stab her in her heart, twisting the blade... and she is to know who sent him...

     The audience begins to understand that this careful stalking of his victim, the clever intrusion into the victimís life (until he chooses the moment to end it), gives this "professional" killer, a deep, thrilling, experience of pleasure, perhaps similar to winning a "game(s)" of strategy.

     As we follow the path to his latest victim, and watch as he meets her, turning himself (a handsome man) into this charming pursuer of her attention and sensuality, we are drawn into who this woman is...we feel her longings, her hopes about what life could be for her (...we begin to like her...) and...  almost before we know it, we struggle to not hold our breaths -- and, in spite of understanding this is "only a movie" -- we begin to feel a powerful desire to "warn" her to run...  run far away from this false man.

     We want to scream... "Save yourself!!  Save yourself!!"

     But, of course, we know....  it is "...only a movie..."  so we remain silent within the darkness of the theater....

     The audience experiences with her, the reality she faces as she accepts, she loves him.  We watch helplessly as he takes every advantage of her emerging feelings for him.

     We wince at every sweet and welcoming smile reflected on her face at his entrance into the space where she stands waiting for him....  We fight the urge to look away from the painful scene as we see the light of adoration flare into her eyes during a moment of his deceptive pretence of love for her.

     We find ourselves holding back tears as we watch her, almost within a helpless willingness, to surrender herself to him within a new-found joy, time after time, not knowing that he had come to destroy her, never to love her (oh yes, we, the audience understands what she canít know...  that a walking dead-man cannot feel love...)

     The audience, find ourselves fighting our own battle with an emerging physical tension (within our watchful-waiting), as time after time, the killer finds himself, outraged at its beginning, then at a continuing, interference of the man who has paid for her cruel ending, to, "Get the job DONE!"

     We watch this killerís angry response, his concrete jaw holding fast his clinched teeth, raging back with,  "Fuck off!  I do it my way...  or no way!"

     The audience watches with new attention as the killer finds reasons to put-off fulfilling his contract...  suddenly we see what seems to be a small crack in this frozen manís soul... We begin to wonder, can this story actually have a happy ending?

     But, we know his murderous history...  we ask ourselves fleetingly...  "How can this story carry any hope for a happy ending for these two people."

     And then, it happens...   the killer looks directly at himself in the bathroom mirror, his gaze alive with something he does not know how to understand.

     What is it he sees?  He struggles to deny what is happening to him in this moment.  Yet, with seemingly unstoppable insistence, all his victims, one by one (as each looked at their slaughter), begin flashing relentlessly into his mind.

     Then... he knows with an implacable certainty, there is no redemption for him, this defining realization that his path is too far gone brings a horrifying acceptance that he must flee this womanís presence or he will be the one who dies....  He MUST do the job tonight..."

     The time is here!  This heart-dead killer stands before the woman he is to kill, tonight.  Her sensuous lips are smiling, her eyes filled with love..  her hands reach out to him, welcoming him to herself....

     He stands as though frozen in place, his eyes locking hers to his.   He reaches into a pocket that holds the blade he is to shove deep into her heart with wrist ready to add the final cruel twist of it (as ordered by the man who paid for her death).  He speaks this manís name to her, as he allows her now to see the emerging blade rushing up toward her heart.

     We hear her gasp, we see her body become stiff with shock, her eyes struggling within the confusion and disbelief, fighting realization of what is taking place.

     This killer begins to raise the deadly blade up, up...  She sees that he intends to drive it deep into her heart...  She reaches out and with tender hand, touches his face, surrendering to his will, she whispers, "I love you..."

     Stunned, he stays his hand.  Gazing into his eyes, she sees a new thing in them....  Tears have emerged to roll slowly down his handsome face.

     Suddenly he screams at her within an impaling horror,  "Why donít you run?  God-Damn you! RUN!!!"

     We see this hardened soul-less killer, his eyes holding tears heíd never given another, suddenly plunge the blade meant for her heart, deep into his own chest...

     That movie has stayed with me, I believe, because it holds the answer to what seems a life-long mystery to many men and woman.

     It reminds me of what God (the God of the Bible) writes about love, itself, and what He designed love to be, between a man and woman.

     He makes sure we understand that a man is to love his wife as Christ loves His people and gave Himself for those He loves.

     The bottom-line message is unmistakable, isnít it?   When a man loves a woman, he cannot hurt her (I am speaking regarding "intent").

     And when a woman loves a man, she cannot hurt him.  I know that sounds too simple.  But we can know that it is not simple and yet, it is true.

     That is what Christ proved to us about love, isnít it.

     It seemed to me, that is what this movie was also telling its audience.

     The above framework of thinking keeps the started stone rolling.... into this area....

     What many men on dating sites [speaking as a woman], do not appear to examine very closely is that some of us, make the decision to risk meeting a man on the net knowing we might end-up becoming some attractive manís "victim"...( and Iím not referring only to risking being a crime victim).

     Life shows many of us (maybe most of us) that true, male and female, love (the way God intended it to be lived out), is rare.

     The response to this reality (that this unique God-Intention, "connection" may never be found) may result in, dating without commitment, living for that next "sexual" experience, trying marriage, divorcing, trying again, not marrying at all, perhaps at some point giving up actively trying to find someone unique to us, settling for the "best" of the experiences as being thatís all we can hope for, or simply "allowing" love to come to us, etc.

     Henry David Thoreau put this idea into his now-famous quote: "Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them."

     Isnít it easy to believe, that Thoreauís perspective must be the experience that generations of human-beings have actually lived out?

     When we are flowering into our youthful man/woman-hood, many of us emerge with great expectations we will meet that special someone that will free the "song" Thoreau was referring to in his poignant comment about how life actually plays out in most of our lives.

     When this love doesnít happen (or we believe it happened and then it didnít last), we may "settle" for less, give-up looking, or we may finally find ourselves glancing toward a place, we may have not thoughtfully considered a true source for help in finding that unique person for us.

     There is only one Person Who actually knows, who it would be who would allow us to experience His deepest and most profound intentions for male/female relationships....  Meaning, of course, looking to God, Himself, for our answer.

     Yet, how can a rational believer in God not know, there is a great risk in asking God to bring her the very man who will free the "song" within her?

     Itís natural to ask, why must there be a great risk in placing such a search in the hands of God?

     Because only God knows what experiences each of us must undergo (to become that man and woman, unique to the seeking other), and He understands, (surely in a more profound way than it is possible for us to know), that we are each shaped, for good or bad, by every personal experience.

     What a fascinating thought, it is then, to realize what a complicated and incredible job God has set before Himself on our behalf when we ask Him to give us that unique "other")

     A concept that can, perhaps be best expressed, by Robert Browning, when he wrote these lines, "....The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made."

     So, where am I going with this exploration (that you began with your simple question)?

     Maybe here....

     That to understand what God meant with these simple words,  "It is not good for Man to be alone..."   is to know why God created all of that which stood before Him in its original perfection.

     Perhaps, it is to know within a certainty, that it was through His kind and gracious intention and bountiful generosity, that He designed Man and Woman to be ONE (emotionally/ sensually/ mentally/ physically)  in such a unique way, that nothing in all of life, can hold the same profound meaning for us.

     Perhaps it is to "know" (within a convincing certainty) He formed human "community" in such a way that it is "good" for children to leave their parents.

     Perhaps it is to know (in a one-of-a-kind experience), that He did design male and female to be a unique "unit" within a joyful unity, exclusive to the other.

     Perhaps it is the living proof, that to understand Godís grand design for man and woman love is, perhaps in its most existential moment, is what it is like to experience God, Himself.

     Perhaps this blueprint of Godís intentions for Man, actually explains why when real love takes place...  there is no persistent drab...  there is no unrelieved boredom....   there is no lasting sadness...   there is no piercing loneliness....  there is no fomenting bitterness...  there is no destruction of the "self"

     Perhaps, what "beats," with pounding force within this most intimate of all human experience, is that which expresses through every recognition of the immeasurable value of the "self," by the loved "other," the very heartbeat of God.

     The stone rolls to a settled place ....

     When one trusts God, he/she may find the strength to risk the devious aims of others because there is a solid foundation to know, that what the greatest enemy of God means for evil, God is able to turn around for Good....

     Isnít it the power of genuine love what saved the life of the innocent woman (portrayed in the movie) while bringing an unexpected justice to those he had earlier slaughtered?

     The movie didnít go on to explore if this murderer could have been redeemed. Many in the audience did know, however, that even a murderer can be redeemed; but this killer (like Judas) made the decision to steal (for his moment) Godís throne of judgment, and judged himself unworthy of the redeeming power of repentance.



     "He asked, 'Are you asking me if I want you right or wrong?'"


     "Is there no 'right' way to you?"


      He stopped walking.  His throat tight, his hands locked deep into his jacket pockets, he stared into her eyes.

      Allowing his despairing anger to burst through another dead-end, he said urgently, 'Tell me you haven't felt what I've felt?  Tell me you can walk away from me and not die inside more each day...   By God!  Tell me!'"

Exploring The Fear Of Intimacy
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Dedicated To A Wonderful Man

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