"What is love?" was my DH's question after he'd told me on our first date that he "just about loved me" - and then took it back. Talk about back peddling. It actually sounded more like, "Oh come on, what is love anyway."
Eventually he figured it out because here we are many years later, but I look back at that now that I'm a writer and when I'm reading another writer's story and ask myself, what are we looking for? As writers and readers, how is true love expressed in your favorite stories, movies?
What is the love readers want to see portrayed in fiction? Is it the HEA (For anyone who's never heard that term, it's "happily ever after".) Is it some more "realistic" depiction of love with all its challenges no matter how it ends? Or is it somewhere in between?
When I read or write or dream the love between two committed individuals this is what I think of it as:
A "You're it for me" and "All I want is you" desire whether hot and passionate or burning slowly and deeply that can keep the attraction alive through the years, a desire for the other person's body but even more for their stellar humor or intelligence or kindness.
Acceptance of each other for who they are, appreciation for how the other's differences can challenge and complement the relationship, and at least respect for how they are different.
Consideration and kindness and care for each other's well being.
An "I'm-on-your-side" mentality when everyone else isn't.
Trust and a lack of competition.
Someone who shares the same vision of life, the same priorities.
My favorite contemporary depictions of love are Jamie and Claire in Gabaldon's Outlander series, Roarke and Eve in Robb's In Death books and most recently the Windhams in Grace Burrowes' books, especially Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal.
How about you? Who are your favorite lovers portrayed in recent movies or books?