By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?
It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
Song of Solomon 3:1–4
I want you to think back to the first time you were in love. Think about how excited you felt, about how positive you felt. Think about how every aspect of your life was richer. Think about how devastated you felt if and when that first love ended.
I can remember when I was first in love, more than half a lifetime ago. If the gentleman concerned so much as smiled at me as we passed in the corridor I was on top of the world for the rest of the day. We used to sit up all night, talking about everything and nothing. Even today, decades after I last saw him, I still feel slightly giddy if I smell the deodorant he used to wear.
Now, if you are married, I want you to think about how you felt when you first met your spouse. About how you felt when you first realised you loved them and they loved you. Think about the excitement and the peace, two seemingly opposite emotions that live together in love. Think about how you felt when you got engaged. Think about how you felt when you got married.
I can remember the moment when I realised I love the man who is now my husband. We had been friends for a short while, and he used to come round to my flat and we would spend hours talking about everything and nothing. One night, by the time we finished, it was too late for him to go home, so he spent the night in my spare room. The next morning he came into the lounge, and I looked up from my desk. “Oh,” I thought, “It’s you, I’ve been looking for you for 35 years, and here you are. You don’t look like I thought you would, but it still you. Hello you.” I didn’t say that — I probably asked what he would like for breakfast — but I thought it. Less than a year later, following more hospital visits than is traditional in a courtship, we were married, on 7th May 2011. That was not the greatest day of our lives, because, barring a few hiccups along the road, each subsequent day has been better.
Humans are complex, and no two people have ever shared exactly the same experiences or exactly the same emotions, but the fundamentals of two people falling in love and being in love are the same for all couples, be they opposite-sex couples, or same-sex couples. For most of us, love is a profoundly life-enriching experience, and that doesn’t change because it is two men or two women in love instead of a man and a woman.
- Write down five words that describe what you think it is like for an opposite-sex couple to be in love.
- Write down five words that describe what you think it is like for a same-sex couple to be in love. Are those words different to the list above? If they are different, why are they different?
- Write down five words that describe what you think it is like to be a friend. Are those words different to the previous two lists? If so, how?