Abs rippling, the sexy hunk sweeps the perfectly clad woman off her feet, kissing her at just the right moment. A few perfect lines, a few perfect touches, and they are off to their happily ever after.
These are the scenes modern romance is made of... or are they?
As a society, we seem to be obsessed with the idea romance is for the twentysomethings only. I am just as guilty as the next woman of wanting to see a gorgeous, sinewy hunk in my romance movie or next read. We think romance is synonymous with youth. I guess in a way it is.
But does that mean there is a cut off for love? Does that mean romance, passion, and the spark dies after your twenty-ninth birthday?
I certainly hope not.
Love's Age Limit
This morning, my faith in love later in life was restored thanks to the Today Show. There was a beautiful special about couples who have been married over fifty years. Hoda hosted a special party for forty-one couples who have been married over fifty years. They even made a music video with the couples called "Little Romance."
I found it so refreshing and emotional to see these couples interact in the segment. There weren't any six-pack abs or perfectly tight faces. There weren't passionate kisses or flirtations.
But there was certainly love.
There were looks of deep, genuine care for one another. There were laughs that certainly had their foundations in the decades. There were gentle touches, care for each other, and just joy.
Watching this special, I realized that our society puts so much emphasis on the wild, crazy love of youth that we forget what love later in life can mean.
Sure, love later in life might not be zesty and spicy. It might be lacking the swoonworthy scenes of our favorite rom coms.
Looking at those couples today, though, I realized there is a genuineness, a deepness in love that spans the decades. There is something to be said for a couple who pledge themselves to one another and make it last through the years, good and bad. There is something heartwarming about the way those couples looked at each other.
Love Later In Life
There are plenty of real life examples to go around, too. I can remember visiting my grandfather at his retirement community apartment and seeing an adorable couple sitting together on the bench. They were so happy together, holding hands and laughing in the summer sun almost every day.
I came to learn they had just met at their apartment complex. They were both in their seventies, and both had loved before. Together, though, they were just a portrait of happiness. They glowed when they were together. I heard from an acquaintance later who knew the woman that she said she never knew love until she met this man at the retirement center. She had been married before, but she hadn't loved as deeply as she did now.
I thought that was an amazing sentiment.
Sometimes, we think there's an age limit on the heart. We think that once one has lived so many years or had so many experiences, the heart dries up.
Such is not the case.
Love can come in so many forms at so many unexpected times.
Love and Literature: Capturing Real Love at Every Age
As a writer, I try to highlight the real woman's experience. I've written about teenagers. I've written about twenty-year-olds. Now, I'm also writing about an eighty-year-old for the first time.
It seems like there wouldn't be much to write about in an eighty-year-old's love life... but I've found it to be quite the opposite. Then Comes Love follows three different women of three different ages: 80, 50, and 32.
Surprisingly, though, I think it was more fun to write the eighty-year-old's story than the others I've written so far. It was fun to explore what love later in life looks like. There was so much complexity to write about and so many emotions. There were things to explore that I didn't get to explore with my other characters. There was also a depth and realness to the emotions that I hadn't experienced with younger characters.
Most of all, I feel privileged to get the chance to highlight a facet of love we often forget. Love later in life is a real thing. I hope this book sheds some light on that fact and gives some women hope. I hope it reminds women that love does not have a time limit or an age limit.
So am I swearing off writing about young love? Absolutely not.
There's something so special about the first time the heart finds love, usually at a young age.
But the thing is, I've realized that no matter what your age, love is always special when it comes along. It catches us off guard no matter where we are in our lives. It moves us, it changes us. It challenges us.
So whether you're fifteen or one hundred and fifteen, love is a common denominator in all of our lives.
And no matter what age it comes at, it's always a beautiful, magical, and complicated thing.