I had a gorgeous, gorgeous weekend at the wedding of a very dear friend – a girl who I’ve known and loved for over fifteen years now. Her name is Mellie and she married a lovely guy by the name of Kurt. They got married down at the astonishingly beautiful Stewart’s Bay, which is just near Port Arthur.
Kurt and Mellie have only been together a relatively short time – they’ve only known each other two years and got engaged quite quickly after their friendship developed into something deeper. Like the Husband Bear and I (we got engaged after five months and married a year later), they just “knew”. And you didn’t have to hear them say that to know it. The way they looked at each other said everything.
They love each other unconditionally, support each other, share musical loves, make each other laugh and compliment each other’s personalities perfectly. Neither of them could stop smiling all day. It was beautiful to watch.
Two more of my best mates are getting married this year – both to boys who they have known a lot longer than Mel knew Kurt. In fact, both of them have been with their “boys” longer than I’ve even known HB.They’re both beautiful couples, and I know their weddings will be just as special as Mellie’s.
Another one of my friends – over from Queensland – has a new boyfriend, but my wise friend Rachel has already decided they will end up together. “You can just tell,” she said, knowingly, at the reception dinner.
Yet another friend at the wedding is the proud mother of a gorgeous baby boy, to a man she’s obviously very in love with. They’re not married and may well never get married. It works for them and it’s obvious when you look at them together how happy they are. They don’t need a piece of paper to confirm this.
So what conclusion does all of this relationship-analysing lead to? What answer does this give us about the nature of love?
The only answer I can come up with is that there isn’t one.
I’ve known all of those girls for at least twelve years. I’ve seen them with other boys who were nice enough in their own ways, but I knew somehow they were only temporary. And yet each of them, like previous boyfriends of mine, were important in their way. Every relationship teaches us something, whether it’s good or bad. It might teach us to be stronger next time, or more forgiving, or that who takes out the rubbish doesn’t matter. We bring these little bits of wisdom with us to the next relationship and, hopefully, we use them to make it better.
But, really, there’s no formula to love. There’s no rhyme or reason. Only “knowing” when it’s right and real and true.
In the books I read (and write), I’m a sucker for a grand, epic – often tragic – romance. In my life, especially when I was younger, I’ve thrived on the drama in relationships, telling myself that love can only be real if it makes you cry a lot while listening to Leonard Cohen (or, ahem, Jewel …).
In reality, what I want is someone who supports me, loves me unconditionally and makes me laugh. I’ll save the tragedy for the lives I lead vicariously through my writing and reading.
Real love isn’t drama.
Real love is the smile on Kurt’s face when Mellie walked towards him; the way he got all teary in his reception speech.
And the way I looked at all my friends, with the men they love and thought: this, here, us all together: this is perfect. This is right and real and true.