What is romance? On the surface it is lace and leather and candles and lavender and vanilla. It is hot men and good sex and falling in love.
Romance is a woman’s journey. She is not living life to her fullest. And the hero brings the challenge to her to live a full life. She has to change to meet the challenge and live and love to her fullest potential.
There is a lot of talk about the hero’s journey, the breakdown of a story as explained by Joseph Campbell. The hero is drawn into an unfamiliar world on a quest to save something. You can see it all the great stories and myths, from Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and the Matrix. In these series you have the elements with each part of the series and the series as a whole.
Somewhere along the way, someone realized that the hero’s journey often focuses on the external. And that there was another side of the journey, the heroine’s journey, as explained by Maureen Murdock in her book, The Heroine’s Journey. The heroine’s journey is an inner journey, spiritual or psychological.
I think the journey is misrepresented in the male/female dichotomy. We all have “masculine” aspects and “feminine” aspects of ourselves. A novel or our lives can have the outer journey, and the inner journey.
I believe that romance most embodies the inner journey. It is a subtle or not-so-subtle challenge to who we project to the world, and challenges us to live full lives. Gay and Katie Hendricks talk about relationships being the ultimate spiritual path. They make us face our inner demons, our past traumas. And if we want to keep our lovers, we may need to change a little bit of who we are inside.
Most often this is our fear, and often ultimately that we are unlovable the way we are. Mandy, Serena, Nicole… all felt they were unlovable and unworthy. Some of the men did, Corey most notably felt unworthy of love. But they all faced that fear with their partners and came out as winners.
That is what love and relationships do for us.
They challenge us to live our full lives.
They make us grow.
They make us look closely at ourselves.
They make us be our best selves.
How does your relationship challenge you to be your best self?