Saturday, February 12, 2011

He loves her. Let me count the whys.

In celebration of Valentine's Day . . .

Let us consider the delightful question of why the hero loves the heroine.

Let me count the whys . . .

1. -- Because of her strengths.

Why did the author write about this woman?
Why did the writer decide to spend a couple months inside the heroine's head?

Because the heroine is smart and funny, or strong, honest and kindly, or courageous and resourceful.  Whatever she is . . . she has wonderful qualities.

Lasting love arises from an appreciation of the beloved's strengths and virtues. What the reader sees in our heroine, however deeply buried, the hero is going to see.

He loves her for being wonderful.

2. -- Because of her weaknesses.

Love is not only based upon what we want from the beloved, but also upon what we can give.
Nobody wants to live their whole life with somebody who doesn't need them.

If our heroine can't cope with large social functions or can't cook or is scared of lightning, the hero loves her because he can guide her through the intricacies of a formal dinner, or cook her a tarte tatin, or hold her during thunderstorms.

He loves her for what he can give her.

3. -- Because she has something he needs.

The hero needs something. Everybody does.
Validation of his beliefs. Healing for some past trauma. A challenge that excites him. Guidance. Inspiration. An audience. A safe harbor in a chaotic world.

He loves the heroine for what she can give him.

  4. -- Because together they do what neither can do alone.

The two are greater than the sum of their parts.
They become a gestalt.
What is added to the mix when these two join hands?

Do they become Gilbert and Sullivan? Spies working together? The heads of a Nineteenth Century mercantile empire? Nick and Nora Charles solving crime?

He loves her because she is the other half of his team.

5. -- Because it is natural for him to love.

The Romance hero has a great capacity to love.  He's not afraid to be a lover.  Not ashamed to be a friend.

Heroes may express their love in a thousand different ways, but the heroic quality of these men springs from a heart that knows how to love.

And y'know what. 
These are the same reasons the heroine loves the hero.


  1. Excellent post, Jo! I like the idea that the hero loves the heroine both for her strengths AND for her weaknesses.


    P.S. The pictures accompanying this post are just great. :-)

  2. Hi Karen --

    I think so. Imagine how it would be to love someone without weaknesses. So disheartening.

    Complex stuff, this business of showing a relationship.

  3. Oh. Let me add that the Willie Nelson 'ting' there is done on purpose. Homage to a great and romantic song.

  4. Well said, Jo! Exactly right.

  5. Thanks for summing it up so well. :)

  6. Elise Skidmore11:02 PM

    Great post, Jo! And I love the photo with the black and white cats making a heart.

  7. I love that. One of my favorites.

  8. Great post, Jo, and wonderfully illustrated. :)

    (And it's amazing for me to say that about a Valentine's post that doesn't include chocolate.)

  9. Jo,

    These things you've listed are fantastic and I totally agree with you.
    I love love love a couple that is complimentary and brings something to each to other that completes them in a way. That become a team and can love each other's faults and weaknesses.

    It's how I realized I was in love with my Gent, as well.

  10. I love that, together they do what neither can do alone. I'm so glad to see that my hero and heroine have this!

  11. Yes!

    This gestalt thing seems so important to the happy ending. It's not just that they are individually happy -- they become part of a pair. Something that didn't exist before.

  12. This makes a great template for fictional relationships. [g] Thanks for posting it.

  13. "They become a gestalt." Love that. What a great post!

  14. I would really like to analyze the male-female relationship in Romance. I should start making notes for a post someday.

    But you wanta talk complicated and vast subject . . .