"If he desired to know about automobiles, he would, without question, study diligently about automobiles. If his wife desired to be a gourmet cook, she'd certainly study the art of cooking, perhaps even attending a cooking class. Yet, it never seems as obvious to him that if he wants to live in love, he must spend at least as much time as the auto mechanic or the gourmet in studying love."
-- Leo Buscaglia
I hadn't really thought about it like that before, probably because I study everything that remotely catches my interest, but it seems true of other people. They'll read or watch love stories, but they do it mainly to be entertained or to daydream, not to gather examples and think about whether the characters made good choices or bad ones, whether the premises are sound or sordid. I remember reading Romeo and Juliet in junior high and thinking how stupid the characters were. The sheer carelessness of their love got them killed. So, clearly, running around like a chicken with its head cut off is not a desirable manifestation of love. And I've watched enough lousy shows to know that I don't want to wait until somebody's dying to say the important things, so I say "I love you" a lot to people I care about. I may still cock it up sometimes, but at least my people know that I love and appreciate them.
Similarly with people in my life, I have observed how they interact, how they talk, how they treat each other. Some good, some bad, all examples. In college I was bemused that all the baby feminists (excepting the lesbians) seemed to have taken up with jocks and complained about how badly they were treated, while they friendzoned the nice guys -- and then got pissed when I pointed out that if they shopped for dick instead of personality they would, naturally, wind up with dicks and this was hardly supportive of men treating women decently. I had a friend whose parents suggested arranged marriage, and they had a whole different perspective; as her mother said, "Love comes." It's something you build together with a compatible partner, not something you start out with.
I am fascinated with love, not just as a feeling, but also as a process in life. It's a thing that works, or doesn't work, depending on what you do with it. I like studying how it works. While love itself is as vast and complex as the universe, it's still possible to pick out bits and analyze them to useful ends. I've been intrigued by the 5 Love Languages and Relationship Bank Accounts. I look at signs a relationship will last and signs it won't. I observe how people build intimacy. I pretty much can't be interested in something without studying it.
I believe this has gotten me better results that people who think of love as a self-working trick.
So now I'm curious. Have any of you studied love? If so, do you believe that this has improved your experiences in love, or not?