By Lynn Crandall
I like the phrase, Noble Love. It sounds like something awesome, a love that is epic between two grand individuals. Something between a princess and a prince or a diplomat and a senator’s daughter.
Is a noble life something between two larger-than-life characters? Maybe, but not always, I believe.
I remember reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens in middle school—about two centuries ago—and was particularly moved by the line spoken by one of the main characters as he faced death by guillotine: “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”
If my memory is correct, this character willingly went to the guillotine in place of another man charged with his father’s crime of aristocracy during the French Revolution. He did so as a stand for his ideals.
Even though this character in the book was innocent, he sacrificed himself so that the other innocent man could remain with his family.
Standing for what we believe in and facing hard challenges is noble. How does that apply to romantic love?
While I can imagine that most of us think of epic love in popular classic romances, such as Persuasion, Jane Eyre, Doctor Zhivago, I don’t think characters have to miss their chance at true love or need to die or become maimed in order to have noble love. No, according to the dictionary, the quality we call noble refers to possessing outstanding qualities of character. That’s the sense of a truly noble love that I enjoy reading about.
In writing my the books in my Fierce Hearts series about a colony of were-lynxes, I wanted the main characters to illustrate high ideals by their presentation in the world and the ways they treat one. I wanted them to have chosen to live with an appreciation of the planet itself, as well as other beings who live here. The books put the were-lynxes and their world in jeopardy from the activities of a menacing, powerful group of individuals. To demonstrate the colony’s high ideals, the individuals refuse to jump into a verbal assault on the antagonist, opting rather for productive conversation methods, true communication. Regarding life in general around them, they hold themselves to higher standards of respect and conservation. They use their intellect and communication skills with their commanding abilities of strength and power to live lives of noble conduct.
In relationships, the hero and heroine in each book stretch their ability to truly see each other, flaws, pains, wounds, craziness, and all, and love each other completely as they are. Their loves are freeing and alive because they don’t need anything in particular from each other but loving treatment, respect, and acceptance.
I’ve gotten my concepts of noble love from the ordinary extraordinary average individuals who populate the world. The father who kneels down in front of his son who just struck out in the little league baseball game and assures him not only is the little guy a talented ball player, but that he loves him just as he is. The wife who takes her husband in her arms and lets him sob over the hurtful words his own father has spoken to him, and doesn’t suggest anything, just listens.
Humans are complex and fascinating when they make positive, life-giving choices in relationships. That’s why the young married couple tempted to seek another person to find new thrills with but who turn toward each other and ask, “How can we make each other happy?” are building a noble love. Or the middle age husband and wife who are weary with life’s challenges and heartaches but choose to remind each other of the beauty in their shared lives and find strength in their relationship are noble lovers. And a couple with a lifetime between them filled with such variety of experiences and who know everything about each other still look lovingly into each other’s aged faces live noble love.
Romance authors are wonderful at bringing noble love to readers. I know it’s what I try to do.
What stories come to mind for you when you think of a noble love?