30Although the romance reader is obviously aware of the scene’s strong conventionality and, like the public, interprets it as another element inscribing the novel in the popular romance genre, as a member of the romance genre’s interpretative community she also has the ability to develop a different interpretation of this scene. In fact, when the romance reader reads this scene as a romance reader – that is, using the interpretative strategies particular to the genre – she is able to gain crucial new knowledge about the text and its specific, individual poetic properties. This is due to the fact that in the eyes of the experienced category romance reader the preview scene functions as a conceptual prefiguration of the creative interplay between conventionality and variation that is pivotal to the category romance’s poetic functioning. This creative dynamic goes unnoticed by the public (and most of the genre’s critics) because of their one-dimensional assessment of the genre’s strong conventionality as only creating a pervasive sense of repetition and similarity between individual romance texts. However, this interpretation of conventionality fails to recognize how the web of conventions also creates a context in which every minute variation upon the convention stands out.14 This kind of variation – the brief deviation from the norm, the minor adaptation of the convention – represents a fundamental pillar of the category romance’s poetic functioning and of the aesthetic pleasure the romance offers its readers. This particular creative dynamic is prefigured in the strongly conventional preview scene, which illustrates for the romance reader precisely how the author deals with the central creative task of the category format of fusing various sets of conventions with the appropriate amount of creative variation. Since a thorough knowledge of the genre’s (and the line’s) conventions is necessary to develop this interpretation, only generically initiated romance readers pick up on this dynamic and read the preview scene as something other than a pure reconfirmation of the novel’s clichéd generic identity.
He committed to serving people in order to bring them into a relationship with God. He was insulted, humiliated and rejected by the people He made. He could have come to earth as anyone – He chose to become a servant – whose very nature was to be at others’ beck and call. He did not demand His rights – He came to serve people. A servant does not pick and choose how or when they will serve. They are at the disposal of those they serve.
To understand the unlikelihood of the Hmong’s continued existence on this planet you have to imagine what it would be like if, for instance, the Mohawk were still living in upstate New York exactly as they had for centuries, dressing in traditional clothing, speaking their own language, and absolutely refusing to assimilate. Stumbling on a Hmong village like this one, then, in the early years of the twenty-first century is an anachronistic wonder. Their culture provides a vanishingly rare window into an older version of the human experience. All of which is to say, if you want to know what your family was like four thousand years ago, they were probably something like the Hmong.

36Genre is thus one of the most important organizational and interpretative pillars of the field of popular fiction, and it steers the mass communication that marks this field in the right direction. Given the industrial, commercial and communicative prominence of genre in popular fiction, it is in fact only logical that the category romance novel – one of the most (in)famous examples of genre fiction – emphasizes this generic identity in the public codification of its materiality.

To be in a sustainable relationship, you need other things too, and many of them are outside of your control. Love is something you own within, along with your decision to commit to your partner. Other parts of the partnership, however, are very much independent of you. External forces, such as careers, sickness, money, family issues. Your partner’s commitment to you. Your partner’s ability to deal with stress. You can’t control that.


Believe it or not, your social position changes constantly. One minute you feel like you’re in the subordinate position and the next minute you find yourself in the dominant position in relation to those you focus on. You hate the subordinate position, but when you’re dominant, that frustrates you too. You can learn how to feel happy by enjoying the advantages of wherever you are instead of focusing on the frustrations.
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Falling in love with another person is a wonderful feeling, but it is not a permanent emotion. Love can be permanent, but it is different from falling in love because it is a mature aspect of the feeling. Love contains many different emotions that are expressed as ideals, and a few of these are caring, duty and compassion. Even if the love fades, aspects of these emotions may remain between the couple. Love might be ignited again as life continues to change, but it might also disappear completely.

A partnership is not just about the emotions and feelings of love. A partnership is about commitment, and being responsible to that commitment regardless of what the external variables of the time are. It’s about the commitment to choosing decisions that will serve the relationship even when it would “feel” better to not. Married or not married, when you decide to enter into a partnership with another, commitment means you act with integrity, respect and care –even when your emotions are telling you otherwise.

3This lack of critical attention paid to the romance novel in general and its material characteristics in particular may be a consequence of the widespread cultural prejudice that all romance novels are essentially the same. Although academics are generally taught to be critical of cultural stereotypes, in the case of the popular romance novel the academy seems to overwhelmingly buy into – and frequently even be at the origin of – the ingrained stereotypes of conventionality, formula and simplicity that surround the genre. As a result, the popular romance genre is largely ignored by academics, who deem books that are supposedly all the same unworthy of their critical attention. Somewhat surprisingly, a similar mechanism plays out within the developing field of popular romance studies with regard to the genre’s materiality.2 Underlying this disregard is, I believe, the tacit assumption that the romance novel’s materiality, which even more than other aspects of the genre is imbued with stereotypes and conventions, is a relatively simplistic and straightforward aspect of the genre that is free of the interpretative complexities romance scholars now regularly (and, notably, against the cultural grain) uncover in the genre’s texts.
Endorphin is also stimulated when you stretch. Everyone can add stretching to their daily routine, because you can do it while you’re watching TV, waiting in line, or talking on the phone. Mild stretching brings circulation into constricted areas. Stop before you feel pain. Just because a little is good doesn’t mean a lot is better, nor is it needed to start feeling happier. If you stretch every day for forty-five days, you will not only feel good but also come to enjoy it so much that you will look forward to doing it every day.

Think of emotions such as sadness, stress and anxiety as red flags that your mind wants you to pay attention to, Gielan explains. If you’re angry, for example, it likely means there’s an injustice that you want to correct. If you’re anxious, there may be a threat you need to attend to. And if you’re sad, it means you care about a situation so deeply that it’s causing you distress. Negative feelings can also serve as the catalyst you need to transition to a better place in your life — a new job or a different relationship, for example. 
One of the very first signs of commitment in a relationship is when two people spend lots of time together. Outside of normal working hours and with all the things you could be doing in a day, there usually isn’t much time left over to spare. And since time is one of the few commodities that none of us can get back, the fact that you and your significant other choose to make time for each other on a regular basis is a good sign that you’re both committed.
I read ur article now and even though the love of my life and I had no future plans but he was committed to me , he did all those little things u said guys do but somehow I only focus on our daily communication since it's a long distance relationship , I always fought that he neglected communicating everyday sometimes he wud go days without talking to me but it wasn't always like that , I lost him for good and he doesn't even want to hear from me or see me and about not having future plans ite complicated but we both agree on it however , I feel like a jerk that I looked at small stuff and not the important stuff .and now it's too late to fix it finish .
14 This interpretation of the category romance’s poetic functioning is in line with suggestions made by literary scholar Thomas Roberts, who compares the often misconceived aesthetic mechanisms underlying popular fiction (which he refers to as “vernacular fiction”) to those at play in canonical poetry (such as the Spenserian stanza): “As suggested earlier, the pattern seems to play much the same role in vernacular fiction that the metrical scheme plays in a poem. In both cases, readers sense the formal scheme as the norm that permits them to appreciate the figural variations. The writers are like the jazz musicians who give us a familiar melody at the opening of the piece so that we understand the variations that follow. We do not listen for that melody. We listen for the variation” (165-166).
I don’t mean to imply that the Hmong don’t believe their children matter; on the contrary, they are famous in anthropological circles for building some of the world’s most exceptionally loving families. But this was clearly not a society that worshiped at the Altar of Individual Choice. As in most traditional societies, Hmong family dogma might effectively be summed up not as “You matter” but as “Your role matters.” For, as everyone in this village seemed to know, there are tasks at hand in life—some tasks that men must do and some tasks that women must do—and everyone must contribute to the best of his or her abilities. If you perform your tasks reasonably well, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you are a good man or a good woman, and you need not expect much more out of life or out of relationships than that.
So I hope by now you know whether you are in a committed love relationship or just a romantic one. Every relationship is beautiful as long as you know what your heart really feels. So analyze the aspects of your relationship to understand what it really is and where it’s headed. Once the butterflies in your tummy settle down, only then will you be able to think clearly! So enjoy the love you have and let the love take you higher…

20The relative state of dress or undress of the cover models is another coded element of the clinch. Although in the past this code seems to have been stricter than it is today,12 as a rule of thumb we can still assume that the more flesh is visible on the cover, the more sexually explicit the love scenes in the narrative are. The style in which the clinch image is drawn or photographed as well as the fashion and hairstyle worn by the cover models – all of which are cover elements that have been subjected to significant evolutions over the course of last three decades – are yet other coded parameters of the clinch that provide the experienced romance reader with additional information about the individual characteristics of the narrative – in this case, the date of publication. All of these parameters – time of publication, level of sensuality and subgenre – in fact serve to specify and singularize the text in the eyes of the romance reader. They function as important parameters of (narrative) differentiation within the romance genre’s system and thus give the romance reader significant information about the particular qualities of the text.
I have read all of the Witch Central books multiple times and will continue to re-read the series in the future. With this book, we are introduced into the beginning of the story, and it makes the perfect introduction to the loving chaos. After I finished it, I went right into re-reading A Modern Witch for the fourth time and can't wait to read through the rest!!

Love, as it turns out, is a feeling (no surprises there). We get tingly and joyful. We get excited. We love. We hug and kiss and wrap our bodies around each other because it somehow expresses this feeling. “I want to smoosh my body onto your body” is probably the best way I’ve heard this described, in one of the best explorations of this topic I’ve ever read.

So true, Carolyn - and so telling! As a culture, we spend hours doing research and taking classes on so many other things that have little to do with our happiness - as if the things like buying a car or planning a vacation will bring us true happiness, but we "wing it" when it comes finding what we're looking for in relationships. We limit ourselves to such a great extent because of so much of what you say here - "you only have those around you as examples of what life has to offer." And if those around you are as confused about all this as everyone else, and don't question what the media and culture has taught them, what do you really have? Great comment, Carolyn. I appreciate your adding so much to this conversation.
Romantic love vs. committed love, so what’s the difference? Definitely sharing some things, romantic love and committed love differ in a lot of places as well. Romantic love is more of being in lust, but not in love, you’re merely in love with the idea of being in love, it’s not real, it’s really just an illusion.  When they’re first in love they are blinded by everything else. They only focus on the one person that matters. But really this is just an illusion, they meet this person for the first time and they have an open canvas to place their imagination on who they think that person should be. So they fall in love with the thought of the person. When romantically in love they change your priorities, they are only focused on their partner, they also start to get new characteristics. They start to mood swings, their energy increases and also their sympathetic nervous system starts to kick in. The sympathetic system causes their heart pounds, their  hands get sweaty, they have an increased sexual desire to be with that person. start to change in many different ways.
This is where a lot of those so-called committed relationships (that were really just an agreement of temporary exclusivity) break down and fall apart. This is where it starts to require some compromise. This is also where true commitment starts, because it means that you're both willing to work things out instead of just breaking up at the first sign of anything that doesn't resemble the fairy tale.
“Committed to Love” is a deeply personal one. It details the many issues and experiences I had to confront and deal with in my twenty-five-year marriage to a bisexual man who succumbed to AIDS. The twenty-four chapters in this book range from his diagnosis on June 19, 1992, with AIDS related pneumonia to his death on August 17, 1994. Every aspect of my relationship with Dr. Jeffrey A. Mintz, both as my best friend of thirty-seven years and my husband of twenty-five is explored in explicit detail. The challenge of a marriage under these circumstances was to say the least, both chaotic yet most rewarding. My thoughts about love evoked images of champagne, roses, and chocolates. Yes, I had a lot of all of them in my marriage, but the reality and truth about my life with him was that the word love for me had always meant commitment, unconditional acceptance, and facing every problem with a solution even if I didn’t know what the solution would be.

The philosopher Odo Marquard has noted a correlation in the German language between the word zwei, which means “two,” and the word zweifel, which means “doubt”—suggesting that two of anything brings the automatic possibility of uncertainty to our lives. Now imagine a life in which every day a person is presented with not two or even three but dozens of choices, and you can begin to grasp why the modern world has become, even with all its advantages, a neurosis-generating machine of the highest order. In a world of such abundant possibility, many of us simply go limp from indecision. Or we derail our life’s journey again and again, backing up to try the doors we neglected on the first round, desperate to get it right this time. Or we become compulsive comparers—always measuring our lives against some other person’s life, secretly wondering if we should have taken her path instead.
Find at least one or more ways each day to treat yourself. That could mean anything from reminiscing over favorite photos, to enjoying a dish of ice cream, to sitting in a park daydreaming, to watching TV or swimming or dancing. If you make a list of favorite activities and feel stuck on a particular day, pull out that list and pick one that feels good to do now. If it serves you to complete one or more tasks before your treat, that works, too. Just know that, right now, you are doing the best you know how to meet your needs. I believe that self-care, self-love and treats are good for all of us.
At the end of her memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian living in Indonesia. The couple swore eternal love, but also swore (as skittish divorce survivors) never to marry. However, providence intervened in the form of a U.S. government ultimatum: get married, or Felipe could never enter America again. Told with Gilbert's trademark humor and intelligence, this fascinating meditation on compatibility and fidelity chronicles Gilbert's complex and sometimes frightening journey into second marriage, and will enthrall the millions of readers who made Eat, Pray, Love a number one bestseller.

Figuring out how to feel happy is no easy task. Do you find yourself in a depressed state, wondering what you’re missing? Are you thinking that there must be something else that you should be doing? Are you unsure how to feel happy and fulfilled? Or maybe times are tough, and you don’t know what to do to make it through the challenges you’re currently facing.


When I describe this to a lot of my clients they say “that sounds so boring!” I think if it is seen at the wrong level (that our relationships should be a constant source of excitement rather than a place to demonstrate care and “loving” for someone), then yes, it is boring. The solution I try to pass along is that people can have a stable relationship and an exciting life together.” Rather than have a long interpersonal drama, go on vacation, take up new activities, explore new sexual practices, etc. Many people also get concerned when they move from romantic into committed love, and think something is “wrong” with the relationship, or that they have “fallen out of love”, and they often miss the opportunity for a sustainable loving relationship.
The first one is “hesed,” which is God’s covenantal, loyal love. You could you could describe that as commitment love, committed love. He crowns us, he surrounds us. He exalts us to a place of living in his committed, loyal, durable, enduring, steadfast love. The kind of love that does not fluctuate with feelings. The kind of love that does not change whether you have a good day or a bad day or you wake up feeling like a Christian or a pagan. It’s a steadfast, loyal love. He surrounds us with that loyal love.
Wardating isn't limited to the world of Wi-Fi. Burton says he's written dozens of hacks, including a bot that combs Craigslist personals and IMs him when it finds a candidate that meets his specs. But his favorite is a browser plug-in for the dating site Hot or Not. "The problem with Hot or Not is it keeps presenting the same pictures over and over because it's random," he explains. "My plug-in remembers which ones I've seen and will skip them. That way I can get through the whole site. When I did that, I had about 50 hot women spamming me the next day."
2While these impressive numbers indisputably establish the widespread popularity of romance, the genre has been studied very sparsely. Even though the scholarly examination of popular culture has become a respectable and well-established academic pursuit, few scholars turn their critical gaze towards this most popular (and feminine) of genres. Studies of the popular romance novel are consequently few and far between, and within this relatively small body of work attention to the material aspects of the genre has been very limited.1 This despite the fact that the material conditions of popular novels are of major importance since they function as sites of intense debate concerning the status, meaning, identity and cultural placing of the books.
You may steer clear of evidence that would run counter to this worldview, which would mean that you don’t try that hard to socialize with people in the workplace, and instead keep your guard up. You may turn down invitations to happy hour, and instead stick to your familiar mantra that you can’t trust anyone and you wouldn’t have enjoyed hanging out with those people anyway.
That said, we have to be careful, too, not to assume that all arranged marriages across history, or all pragmatic marriages, or all marriages that begin with an act of kidnapping, necessarily resulted in years of contentment. The Websters were lucky, to an extent. (Though they also put a good deal of work into their marriage, one suspects.) But what Mr. Webster and the Hmong people perhaps have in common is a notion that the emotional place where a marriage begins is not nearly as important as the emotional place where a marriage finds itself toward the end, after many years of partnership. Moreover, they would likely agree that there is not one special person waiting for you somewhere in this world who will make your life magically complete, but that there are any number of people (right in your own community, probably) with whom you could seal a respectful bond. Then you could live and work alongside that person for years, with the hope that tenderness and affection would be the gradual outcome of your union.
The first step is a willingness to do things that don’t feel good at first. This is difficult because your brain usually trusts its own reactions. You don’t usually listen to music you dislike on the assumption that you’ll grow to like it. You don’t befriend a person you dislike or join an activity you’re bad at on the assumption that something will change.
He committed to be sacrificed. He was rejected and despised while He was alive, and then He willingly died a torturous and agonizing death so that we might experience a relationship with the God of the universe. He did not commit to winning a popularity contest. He did not come to get accolades from men. He knew that this committed love would lead to His death.
She was twelve years old, I would learn later, but tinier than any American twelve-year-old I’d ever met. She was exceptionally beautiful. Her skin was dark and healthy, her hair glossy and braided, her compact body all sturdy and confident in a short woolen tunic. Though it was summertime and the days were sultry, her calves were wrapped in brightly colored wool leggings. Her feet tapped restlessly in plastic Chinese sandals. She had been hanging around our hotel for some time—I had spotted her when we were checking in—and now, when I stepped
He redeems us. He lifts us up and crowns us! But the other thing that word “crowned” can mean is sometimes translated “to encircle,” kind of like a crown, but “to surround,” which also makes sense in the context because if he’s exalting us from the pit, surrounding us, encircling us. Then he mentions two different Hebrew words for love, both a kind of love.
While it’s hard to define (especially since it varies from person to person), some experts describe happiness as “a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions,” while others view it as consisting of three parts: feeling good, living a “good life,” and feeling part of a larger purpose. There’s also a distinct difference between short- and long-term happiness: The former is a fleeting feeling, while the latter applies to how we describe our own lives.
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