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Does Love Last?

After I wrote about my grandparents 73rd wedding anniversary I received some feedback from some bloggers who weren't convinced that people can be madly in love for that long. They said that at some point in time love dies or changes and just becomes friendship.

I haven't provided a serious response to any of them because I have been trying to decide how I want to approach this topic. Love is a complicated beast and it deserves something more than throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks. At least my initial thought was to try and compose something that was based upon more than just anecdotal evidence and personal experience.

It was a good idea and I even had the beginning of a reference to use. The LA Times is running an article today called This is your brain on love. "When you're attracted to someone, is your gray matter talking sense -- or just hooked? Scientists take a rational look."

But like so many things in life the plan has changed, courtesy of my BIL whose timing and driving ability are less than impeccable.

So I'll roll with the punches and ask you a general question:

Does Love Last?

P.S. This will likely be edited or updated so feel free to check back in.

First Update: In A Story of Two Souls I wrote about a couple who fell in both love and lust. So lets add that to the mix. Do love and lust last forever? Can they last forever? It sounds a bit adolescent, but I am curious to hear you thoughts.

Comments

IMO: Not the right question. The person who said that love either dies or becomes friendship isn't wrong, andis totally wrong. Love isn't something that hapens to you, it's something you do (think the Sh'ma: how can you order someone to love God unless it's an action, feelings aren't by design).
We actually know from good studies that people don't act out of ratinality, they tend to act first and explain later; this tends to fall along two lines: habituation and impulse. We have a choice - we can act by impuilse, or we can train ourselves to do the right thing, whether or not the feeling is there. Either way, after the fact, the feelings will come along nicely. It's sort of like forcing yourself to feel better even when you're sour, simply by smiling.
But more importantly, love is not just one particular feeling: it's ahole complex mess of them, and over time, anyone who feels the same towards the person - well, is lying. THere will certainly be times when you hate the person, or get bored or aren't attracted. There are lots of things one can doin response: have an affair, get a divorce, pretend nothing's wrong, - or the person can admit that things change over time and with context, and decide that they still love the person and that they're worth it, or the relationship is, or the time already committed, or whatever, and work out how they can best get throught that phase, until the next one comes along - and it will, barring gross problems (like a batterer or the like) and where the person felt indifferent, they'll be attracted again - maybe not in the same way, but nonetheless, it will happen. THe irritation at the persons habits won't go away, but it will get worked into a larger context and gotten over - and also hopefully you'll remember that you also have irritating habits, and so on.
My .02
FlutePrayer said…
Perhaps we first need to define "love" vs. "lust".
Jake Richter said…
LOVE LASTS. Of course it does. Does that mean that love is unwaveringly constant? No. Are their waves in the ocean? Yes. Does that mean that... ok I forget where I was going with that one.

BTW I changed my name just for you Jack!
Jack Steiner said…
or we can train ourselves to do the right thing

That is subjective isn't it.

FP,

That is fair.

Advocate,

Thanks.
Michael said…
Well, I know firsthand that love can last for 10% of 73 years...
Annie said…
My parents have been married for 35 years, and they're still madly in love, but I don't think that it just happens, I think that they've worked pretty hard to stay that way. I firmly believe that love and romance take work.
Jewish Atheist said…
I've seen love last. It changes over time, of course, but it can definitely last. I think it's mostly about choosing the right person, but there's a lot of luck involved as well. I'm skeptical about whether it takes as much work as people say it does -- the couples I know who have been happily married for decades don't seem to have to work too hard at it.
The Misanthrope said…
I believe love lasts. I believe it lasts in people who can't stay together as well. I agree with Advocate. I think the people that stay together work at it, those that don't, don't. I don't think it's anything magical except during the initial stages of the mating dance.
Jack Steiner said…
Michael,

Here is to another 103 years.

Annie,

I agree with that. Work on the relationship is important.

the couples I know who have been happily married for decades don't seem to have to work too hard at it.

JA,

In concept if they love each other enough the work probably doesn't appear to be work to outsiders.

I don't think it's anything magical except during the initial stages of the mating dance.

I wonder if some people retain that magic their entire time together.