Sometimes I feel as if the entire story I’ve read or watched is only a prologue to the interesting stuff. Often both the hero and heroine have had to undergo substantial shifts in their worldview. A witchhunter has accepted that supernatural powers don’t automatically corrupt. A woman travels back to the nineteenth century to be with the man she loves. People are transformed into werewolves, vampires, all sorts of supernatural beings. These are huge decisions/events and I always want to know how they impact the people who made them.
Romantic stories also usually have an accelerated timeframe. Challenging fundamental assumptions and beginning a new relationship are a lot of changes to absorb in under a week. There’s going to be some kind of backlash as the implications start to seep in.
They may be old but I like the movies Romancing the Stone and Jewel of the Nile. Romancing is a typical romance plot, danger, internal and external conflict and the transforming power of a loving relationship. But Jewel is my favourite because it talks about what happens after. When Jack, the carefree rogue, starts to irritate Joan, the prudent novelist, with his irresponsible ways. When he gets irritated with her work-comes-first attitude. And yet the two manage to come together and rediscover what drew them together in the first place.
Somehow the second connection feels more real and permanent than the first. Getting swept up in a new relationship is one thing. Recommitting to an existing one, warts and all, is something more.
Love is worth fighting for. Worth working for. It shouldn’t be tossed aside when it starts to get a little tarnished and dull.