Have you noticed that most conversations about love fall into one of two compartments?
- 1) A focus on divorce, infidelity, abuse, single parent households, celebrity scandals, breakups and other negative statistics.
- 2) Focus on unmet expectations—typically, hugely unrealistic expectations developed over years of being fed sensationalized bologna from romantic comedies, pornography, Disney movies, and vampire novels. \n
It’s time to do something about this lack of faith in true love. I met my partner-in-crime, Melissa, just a couple of weeks ago. We were introduced by a mutual friend who saw that we shared virtually the same goal. Melissa had a goal to travel the country and interview 100 of the most in-love couples, then write a book about her findings. I was already out interviewing couples on my podcast, trying to find themes of love embedded in long-term, loving relationships. We decided to team up and journey across America together to document 100 compelling, real, and transparent stories of couples who are in love. Our goal is to give people hope that true love can exist, and to provide them with some examples of what healthy relationships look like.
For Jim, one of the people interviewed for the Loveumentary podcast, that work comes in the form of patience, kindness, and selflessness. After being married for ten years, he and his wife found out she had a brain tumor. It was successfully removed, but the surgery altered her personality in some very difficult ways. He's stood by her side, taken care of her, traveled the world with her, and loved her for the past 30 years, regardless of the fact that she is not the same woman he initially married.
True love also requires sacrifice, dependability, and vulnerability— which Neil and A. Rae discovered seven years into their marriage. Their relationship was on the rocks, and they were expecting their third child—their first boy. A few months into A. Rae’s pregnancy, they found out their son had a heart defect and would not live more than a few moments after birth. The loss of their son was tragic. But, as they leaned on each other and mourned together, their relationship grew stronger. They fell in love all over again.
Nobody goes into a relationship with anxious anticipation for the impending potential heartbreak right around the corner. We want love to last, and relationships to be fulfilling. Most of our relationships don’t turn out that way… but, more of them could.
True love takes work. The “work” that each relationship requires is different for everyone. Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage said, “If we study what is merely average, we will remain merely average.”
We want to find out what exactly makes America’s most successful relationships so much stronger, healthier, and happier than the rest. By peeling back the layers and discovering what’s working, we can understand—and then apply—that knowledge.
Do you have an amazing love story you want to share? Do you know someone else who represents the epitome of “true love” to you? Contribute to the project, and share your stories! We’re hunting down the best love stories in America, and we’d love your help finding them.
This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.