More than Chemistry… with Mia Marlowe

Mia MarloweDon’t adjust your web browser. There’s nothing wrong with your computer. You haven’t dropped into the Twilight Zone, but Her Grace’s blog has come under temporary new management. She’s very graciously allowed me to fill in for her today. (Thanks, Grace!)

Since we just celebrated Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about romantic love and how we identify the ONE. This is actually a fairly recent predicament. In times past, when marriages were often arranged with an eye to economic or social gain rather than love, couples didn’t have to angst over whether their intended was the ONE. As one of my fictional heroine’s mother advised, “Passion is a dish that flares hot, but then goes cold as a tomb often as not. An arranged match is like a cauldron set to simmer over a low fire. A nourishing broth heated evenly warms a body from the inside out.” (Sins of the Highlander, Jan 2012)

Love was something that might grow during the course of a long relationship. At least that was the hope. 

Now we stand that process on its head, determined to discover that other ONE out of all the world whose crooks and wrinkles fit neatly with the flaws in our own soul. Someone to “complete” us before we commit to them.

What an impossibly tall order. Either way.

I’m reminded of the hero and heroine from Guys & Dolls. She’d imagined every bit of the man she’d someday marry even down to the “homey aroma of his pipe.” The hero, by contrast, was willing to leave matters to “chance and chemistry.” In the end, they were both surprised to discover that sense of oneness with someone entirely different than they’d imagined or hoped. 

Touch of a Rogue by Mia Marlowe
Click for an excerpt!

What do you think? Is love something we fall into accidentally or grow into over time? Share your thoughts (and/or experience!) and you’ll be entered to win an ARC of my upcoming release Touch of a Rogue. (Publishers Weekly named this book one of its TOP TEN BEST ROMANCES for SPRING 2012!) 


 Mia Marlowe writes historical romance with a pinch of magic for Sourcebooks and Kensington. She loves to connect with readers and invites you to visit her cyber-home While you’re there, be sure to enter her contest! You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.  


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

46 comments on “More than Chemistry… with Mia Marlowe

  1. Hi Mia, happy belated valentine to you! For me I believe love is something we fall into unexpectedly , love just waits for the right time , moment and chance to let two people realize they were destined for each other 😉

    • Aretha, I’ve tried 3 times to respond to your thoughts, but my comments weren’t being posted. Once more into the breach…

      If love is a matter of Fate, is it rushing things to sign up for an online dating service?

  2. Late in my 30s one summer I did a list of what I wanted in a Mate: 10 point font, single spaced, 1/2″ margins culminating in fifty-five(!) distinct qualities, skills and traits. By the end of the list I was certain I’d be dating my cat for the next decade.
    Early the next spring I’d forgotten the list, and a Gentleman, a truly Gentle Man showed up on my doorstep persistent we be together. Once in the relationship I remembered my wish list, printed it off, and read it to him.
    He met or exceeded every single item I asked for, even the optional ones, all 55!!
    To cap it off he asked for the page and framed it to hang on his side of the bed.
    Everything I hoped and dreamed for, different than I’d imagined and far better. He titled it his Lucky Bastard List and Instruction Manual. 🙂

  3. I think love can come both ways. The question is what will make it last. In my opinion it is not just a question of love but a combination of love and passion. I met my husband when I was 10yrs old at a local swimming pool where all the children would gather in the heat of summer. I think I fell in love at first site, not so much for him. 6 yrs later we meet again at a local hang out and I’m still in love as much or lust? as I was on the 1st meeting. Good news for me is it finally hit him! We married in 1980 and thru good times and bad have survived. I had a friend ask me recently how one can stay married 30 plus years…happily. I said honestly I think it is our sex life. We have passion there that has never faded even in the worst of times. So even though we dearly love each other I think the passion is what keeps us going strong and not looking for love elsewhere.

  4. Good question–I think it’s a combination. I think it’s hard to go out and “look” for love, so in that respect it’s sort of accidental. However, I’m certain that you can grow into love over time. Sometimes I remember the twenty-one-year old I was when I met my husband and she doesn’t seem capable of feeling the love I feel now. I know we have grown into the love we have now even though we were in love back then, some twenty-one-years later. (Oh wow, I just realized I’ve known him half my life!)

    • My DH and I have been married longer than either of us was single, and I have to agree that the rush of hormones we felt then, while wildly exciting, doesn’t measure up to the love we share now. But I count us as extremely fortunate.

  5. Love is a strange thing that my go either way kind of like the image of a fork in the road. Some people will fall into love at a point when they least expect to and others have to have love take time to grow. Often we will not know which route we will take till we are right at the fork in this road to love. My own theory is that love will wait till I get my gps fixed then figure it out from there.

    • Sammy–What an idea just popped into my head. What if there was such a thing as a “love gps” that could locate your true mate? Wonder how fast someone would make an “app” for that?

      • I agree that would be great if they had an app for that because then the world might be a more peaceful place (these things all connect some where ).

  6. For my husband and I – well me, anyway, it came both ways. I knew the night I met him that I would marry him someday. He was a little slower on the uptake. I can’t say it was love at first sight, but there was just something (chemistry?) that drew me to him. I even did cartwheels in the dorm hallway announcing I had met my husband. Girls thought I was a little nuts. (This was in the days when there were separtate dorms for men and women.) It took weeks for him to call me for a date and two and half years before we married, but we have now been together 39 years. Maybe magic and logic are a good mix – anyway for us.

    • How cool that you knew and felt strongly enough to do cartwheels about it! I had to hear it from my sister. She told me I’d marry my DH someday, but I doubted it, especially since I was going out with another guy at the time.

  7. I definitely think love can be something we accidentally fall into. I definitely didn’t intend to fall in love with my husband. He is so different from me that it wasn’t something I would have looked for. But it happened anyway. Nice to see you here, Mia.

  8. I think love, passion, respect and friendship have to mix – and timing. There’s no question that two people have to be on the same page on many different levels to be ready for marriage. I know of a number of different men I “might” have wound up being married to if we’d both been ready at the same time. But one or the other of us wasn’t. I also think, to be happiest and most secure in a marriage, it takes a bit of maturity and self-love (or self-acceptance maybe?) to have a healthy relationship. Otherwise one party is always giving and the other taking. Which is a bad combination for a long-lasting anything, especially if you want it to grow. So basically, an initial attraction is important, but there has to be a good soul to back it up and make it last. (You know – a “hero” and a “heroine.”) :o)

  9. I too think its’ both. There’s the new exciting love that takes your breath away and keeps your emotions extremely high (and or low) and then there’s the warm, steady love of knowing your partner (as much as you can know anyone)that is a constant in your life. Although not the same, one is as important as the other and you can have both at the same time but in different doses lol.

    • I think there is a moment, a unique time when you see someone differently and think, “Wait a minute.” All of a sudden, you’re intensely aware of them to see if your flicker of insight was spot on.

  10. I had one of those instant moments with my husband. I won’t call it love, because it wasn’t yet. But it was a knowing.

    It was on our first date and I was reading the menu and I looked up to study him, hoping to catch him when he wasn’t looking, but he was looking. Where our eyes met, there was this whole cosmic slap in the face and I knew at that moment, I would marry him.

    I got up and ran to the bathroom where I debated running out the back door of the restaurant. We were 50 miles from my house and I mentally cataloged all the friends I could call to come and get me. Because I was terrified.

    I never wanted to get married, I never wanted to give that much of myself to someone. But then I told myself to quit being afraid and to go back out there and see where it went.

    And I did. Three months after that, we were living together. Three months after that we were engaged, three more months we were married. That was 12 years ago. That’s amazing to me. I can’t commit to a 5 year car loan without getting sweaty palms, so being married… wow.

  11. I think real love starts with friends so that you have a foundation for real long lasting love. My husband and I knew each other for 10 years and were friends before we fell in love and we have been happily married for 17 years.

  12. Thank you Mia,
    This is a great topic. I have experienced both situations in my life. I had a relationship where I accidentally fell into it. I thought I was done and He was the ONE. It had a lot of chemistry, but like your character advises, it flared out, much to my dismay and heartache. Then after many years of redefining what love is and what a soul-mate is I was able to love myself first. And love came accidentally again. I spent more time getting to know this man and I am happy to say that love continues to grow gradually and we have been happily married for almost 6 years. I think we change as people and when you find a mate that compliments your personality and nuances the love changes right along with you.

  13. I think love can happen both ways, too, Mia. But for my husband and me (subsequent marriages for both), it was the second way. Although the attraction began with a spark and some shared interests, it grew over the years until it felt as if we were, as Pablo Neruda writes, “so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.” Super post, Mia.

    Grace, beautiful blog.

  14. I think it’s a bit of both (the quote sorta, kinda hits it, except for the arranged part). I once said, “I think I fell in love with you when I saw you. And I still liked you after I got to know you.”

    You can start with all the passion in the world, but if something more doesn’t develop you might find yourself left in the cold.

  15. I have come to look at men and romance as icing and cake…the strong, stable, reliable part of a man is the cake while the icing is the “grand gestures” the flowers, the poems, the wild adventures, etc. My husband and I started dating when we were very young, and there was a htime when I felt he was all cake and no icing…and at one point I got swept off my feet by another man who was the opposite – this guy was all icing: love notes written on parchment with wax seals, rose bushes planted in my honor, kissing in the rain, last minute road trips for picnics in the woods…etc. After a time I realized that he couldn’t hold a steady job, or finish a class in school (we were in college) – he was irresponsible in many of the ‘everyday”parts of life. And I came to understand I am a girl who likes my cake with just enough icing to keep things sweet. I guess the same analogy holds true for our love – the cake is the enduring, steadfast, steady growing over the years love, while the icing is the passion – the flash of lust that strikes at unexpected moments – and, having been with my husband for nearly 20 years now…I think we’ve found the balance that keeps us both sated. 🙂

  16. I believe you can be attracted to someone at first sight, but it takes time to develop that into a lasting love. My brother and his wife conspired to introduce me to my husband at one of his regular summer parties. I was drawn to him immediately – his sense of humor and adventure, his love of football. We started dating less than a month later and married after a year. Twenty-something years later, we still make each other laugh, we still have the same goals, but I no longer follow football.
    We still find we have to adapt when things change. For instance, S. took an unplanned early retirement a few years ago. He’s taken over the cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and taking the cat to the vet. I’ve learned to allow him to organize the house his way. It wasn’t without bumps, but we pull together. That’s true love and it’s not something you think about doing in the first blush of love.

  17. Just wanted to pop in even though I’m late and tell you what a gorgeous cover your new release is. I’m looking forward to it.

  18. Well, it’s been lovely here, but I must return control of Her Grace’s blog back to its delightful owner. Thanks again for having me, Grace.

    My DH has pulled Melonie Johnson’s name out of his hat. Congrats, Melonie. You’re the winner of an ARC of TOUCH OF A ROGUE!

    For the rest of you, I hope you’ll pop over to my website and enter my contest for a chance to win my entire print backlist! Good luck and happy reading!

    • Woot! Just saw this – kiss your husband for me (on the cheek, of course) 🙂

      Looking forward to reading it – as others have said, the cover is lovely! LMK if you need to contact me for info.

  19. I “just knew” the right guy was out there somewhere. Why that feeling didn’t go away after two divorces is beyond me. The night I met my husband seemed ‘magical’ as if someone had whispered in my ear, “Here he is, at last.”

    Now that I’ve been married to Mr. Amazing for 18 years, I feel as if we’re soul mates. Is there ONE or a few possibilities? I don’t know, but I feel as if I couldn’t possibly live without him now.

  20. Mia:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes for married love as I’ve been watching and counseling my two best friends. One recently went through a divorce (instigated by his wife), and the other is contemplating divorcing her husband. The falling in love part happened for both these couples, but the loving part seems to have fallen away. The first is wonderful, but if you don’t end up developing the second, the first isn’t enough to keep couples together when difficult times come.

    So many romance novels are about the first type, about the beginning of relationships. It would be great to read more about already married couples struggling to rekindle a love after difficult times push them apart. Watching romances that ebb and flow, couples who move apart for a time, but then come back together, as in real life…

  21. I know that there is a “right” guy out there for me but it’s like someone is moving the target. Of course as we age our preferences and needs change, but so do we. So thinking of what I would want or look for in my Valentine or Mr. Right I usually realize that it is just too fluid. It also doesn’t help that I am a Type A personality.