(by guest blogger Jack Meyers)
As I watch the romance of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy unfold before my eyes for the umpteenth time I still get carried away with the sweet aroma of romance. I am also overwhelmed with the mutual respect, courtesy, and mystery that surround this book-worthy couple. How do romances like this happen? Are they magical, well written romances that only can be found in a book? I come to the conclusion every time I watch the move or read the book that in all the imperfections and misunderstandings between them the sweeter the intrigue grows.
After every trip into their world I find myself trying to understand the complexities of their interactions with each other and how they finally realized they were actually on the same page but did not see it. As you watch all their miscommunications, their arrogant, indignant attitudes, and their seemingly utter dismissal of each other’s emotional well-being, how did they fall in love?
Sometimes in life these are the very best surprises of all, the ones that are not planned, that take us completely by surprise. It is a wonderful thing when life is just going on all around you and it is just business as usual in your life. But then suddenly, out of nowhere that person you talk to off and on that you do not even consider as a possible romantic partner begins to haunt your mind and you do not know why. Something they have said or done intrigues you, they may even irk you or be an irritation and you cannot for the life of you figure out what they are doing to make you feel this way. Life is fun that way.
Each time I watch the romance of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy blossom out of seeming disregard it delights me. I love the, oh so polite, but painfully honest banter that takes place at each of their encounters. It often makes me wonder how we arrived at the place we have today in the area of romance. In that era everything was done in extreme politeness, there was way more discretion in relationships, there were boundaries, and respect in regards to other people’s space. Relationships were formed slowly and gracefully, time was spent always in the company of others, and generally speaking they did not fall into bed with each other after a few meetings.
I believe the answer to having this kind of romance is taking is slow, really getting to know the inner qualities of the individual, sharing the best of yourself or sometimes the worst. Often in not sharing every little detail about your life you remain a mystery, someone to be researched and sought out. You then make yourself a person of interest and intriguing. When you do not take over the other person’s entire life all at once, respecting their space, keeping boundaries set, and being surprised when you find out something wonderful about that other person a bit at a time.
Romantics like you and I could imagine going back to the days of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Can you imagine taking the time to get to know the other person under the eyes of chaperones? I believe that being alone with a potential mate for extended periods of time is the start to all kinds of temptation.
I know it is old fashioned, but I believe that getting to know each other gradually is the best way. I know a lot of couples who fell in love, spent practically every minute of every ay together and got burnt out on each other. You can’t be around anyone for that long without feeling a bit drained and annoyed by them. That is not to say that you cannot enjoy each other’s company, but giving each other space is key to a healthy relationship.
Another aspect of a relationship like Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s is trust. They trusted each other to keep secrets, to be themselves and to always tell the truth, even when it hurt. Many relationships fail because of jealousy and mistrust. Instead you should be able to rely on your partner to always tell you the truth. When that happens you have nothing to fear.
There is much to be said for clear communication also. Although the morals of the time prevented much blunt talk both characters had the habit of telling it like it is, so to speak. This at first crested friction between them but gradually they began to appreciate that quality in each other. The foundation of a good relationship is clear communication. Telling each other what you want and need and even expect is so very important. Would Mr. Darcy have known that Elizabeth expected him to be more gentlemen like in his proposal if she had not told him? Would she have ever known of his feeling, or continued feelings, if he had not told her? People are not mind readers, however much they love you. Only through communication can you truly know what your partner is thinking.
Chivalry is not dead, however it is rare. Women, look for a man who opens doors and pays for dinner. This is basic manners! One of the things I loved about the Victorian era is how well-mannered they were. Men were supposed to do certain things for women and vice versa. Everyone had well defined roles. While it does not have to be so strict in your relationship, it does help to set standards in what you are looking for in a mate. Politeness just scratches the surface!
Speaking of having standards, a good relationship starts with strong boundaries. Both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy knew what they would and would not do. She would not tolerate someone who looked down on her family, no matter how rich he was. They both believed that there were certain standards of propriety and politeness that should be net. You would never find Mr. Darcy trying to cop a feel nor would you see Elizabeth sneaking out of the window in the middle of the night to meet a man. They had boundaries that they would not cross, even when it caused them trouble.
Unselfish love is another aspect of their relationship. When Mr. Darcy was rebuffed by Elizabeth he did not get angry and vengeful. Instead he still loved her even if the love was not returned. In fact he acted on that love by helping her sister even after she rejected him. That is how unselfish and real his love was and is, I think, one of the reasons she grew to love him in return. Elizabeth too had an unselfish love. When Darcy told her of his sister’s run in with Wickham she could have spitefully spread rumors. Instead she kept his trust and told no one outside of her sister Jane.
Last but not least, a good relationship makes you realize things about yourself. Like Mr. Darcy realizing he was proud and selfish when confronted with Elizabeth’s rejection, your love for another has ways of opening your eyes to your own faults and weaknesses. The great thing about real love is that instead of becoming angry at criticism you accept it as true and try to grow more mature in the way you handle yourself. You grow as a person and become a better you because of this other person.
As you can see, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s relationship is one that can not only be mimicked today but also should be looked at as an example. It may not have started out on the right foot but it grew to be one of the most enduring and well loved romances ever written. There are many things we can learn from their love story and apply to our own lives.
Jack Meyers is a regular contributor for www.nannybackgroundcheck.com. As a detective he wants to spread the knowledge of terrible things that can happen when people don’t fully verify the credentials of a caregiver or any employee. He also writes for various law enforcement blogs and sites.