What’s the very first thing that comes to mind when you think about romance novels? That they’re hyper-sensationalised depictions of utopian fantasies? Enjoyable light reading? What are your thoughts on romance in general? What does it mean to you?
Romance to me isn’t getting a card for my birthday. Romance is knowing that I love birthdays cause my mum made them special.
Romance isn’t using your fists or raising your voice to protect me and make me feel safe. Romance is taking my hand as we cross the road.
Romance isn’t just listening to me talk about my day. Romance is asking me how I feel.
Romance isn’t pretending I am the only person you ever look at. Romance is letting me look deep into your eyes.
Romance isn’t obligatory dinner and gifts on Valentine’s Day. Romance is hugs for no reason.
Romance isn’t just paying for dinner. Romance was when I made that undercooked meal and you didn’t complain (or spit any of it out).
Romance is joint stargazing. Romance is painful laughter. Romance is lying in. Romance is patience. Romance costs nothing. Romance needs no wind machine. Romance is life-saving.
Far too many are ashamed of romance. The very word itself invites detestable glares and mocking laughter. Contemporary courting encourages us to gain strength through indifference. How pitiable it has become to be vulnerable. Never make the first move, don’t wear your heart on your sleeve, ‘do a ghostie’ if you must but absolutely, never fall in love.
I refuse to fathom a world where we forget romance’s name. And here, some words to make us fall for romance once again.
1. “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.” ― Zelda Fitzgerald
2. “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” ― Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
3. “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
4. “I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.” ― Maya Angelou
5. “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” ― Alfred Tennyson
6. “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss
7. “If I had a flower for every time I thought of you…I could walk through my garden forever.” ― Alfred Tennyson
8. “If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
9. “Happiness is holding someone in your arms and knowing you hold the whole world.” ― Orhan Pamuk, Snow
10. “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ― Elbert Hubbard
11. “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
12. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” ― Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being A Wallflower
13. “It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ― André Gide, Autumn Leaves
14. “It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.” ― Vincent Van Gogh
15. “What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
16. “It takes courage to love, but pain through love is the purifying fire which those who love generously know. We all know people who are so much afraid of pain that they shut themselves up like clams in a shell and, giving out nothing, receive nothing and therefore shrink until life is a mere living death.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
17. “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.” ― Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets
18. “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” ― Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever
19. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu
20. “Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land
21. “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.” ― William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
22. “If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.” ― Kahlil Gibran
23. “When someone loves you, the way they talk about you is different. You feel safe and comfortable.” ― Jess C. Scott
24. “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.” ― Nicholas Sparks, A Walk to Remember
25. “You don’t love someone because they’re perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they’re not.”― Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper
26. “We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”― Robert Fulghum, True Love
27. “The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.”― Marilyn Monroe
28. “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
29. “So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you.” ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
30. “Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary.”― Oscar Wilde
31. “The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” ― Nicholas Sparks
32. “I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.” ― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
33. “We loved with a love that was more than love.” ― Edgar Allan Poe
34. “This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
35. “Every heart sings a song, incomplete, until another heart whispers back. Those who wish to sing always find a song. At the touch of a lover, everyone becomes a poet.” ― Plato
36. “Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that’s beautiful.” ― Milan Kundera
37. “There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
38. “One day you will kiss a man you can’t breathe without, and find that breath is of little consequence.” ― Karen Marie Moning, Bloodfever
39. “If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” ― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
40. “Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.”― Joan Crawford
41. “You are the answer to every prayer I’ve offered. You are a song, a dream, a whisper, and I don’t know how I could have lived without you for as long as I have.” ― Nicholas Sparks
42. “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven
43. “When love is not madness it is not love.” ― Pedro Calderón de la Barca
44. “You know, when it works, love is pretty amazing. It’s not overrated. There’s a reason for all those songs.” ― Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby
45. “All I ever wanted was to reach out and touch another human being not just with my hands but with my heart.” ― Tahereh Mafi, Shatter Me
46. “Any fool can be happy. It takes a man with real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” ― Clive Barker, Days of Magic, Nights of War
47. “Never close your lips to those whom you have already opened your heart.” ― Charles Dickens
48. “I loved you like a man loves a woman he never touches, only writes to, keeps little photographs of.” ― Charles Bukowski, Love Is a Dog from Hell
49. “Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey
50. “What’s meant to be will always find a way” ― Trisha Yearwood
Rosie Bell is an international travel writer, author of the book “Escape To Self”, and content editor for Club Elsewhere. Follow her on Instagram @TheBeachBell.