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With Valentine’s Day approaching, we are reminded that love over the generations has had its admirers and its detractors, depending on one’s personal experience.

As an optimist and a believer that life offers constant opportunity for enrapturement no matter previous disappointments, I hold with the poet Maya Angelou, who stood by the idea of never losing hope: “Have the courage to trust love one more time and always one more time.”

Of course, the potential of every new relationship is a tossup. Actress Joan Crawford expressed it best with her assertion, “Love is a fire. But whether it’s going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.”

The poet Ogden Nash gave this advice for maintaining a successful relationship over the long term: 

To keep your marriage brimming

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong admit it;

Whenever you’re right, shut up.

Leave it to Facebook to examine love’s turnabouts by inviting wordplay on its risks and rewards, salting the pot with, “She fell in love with a dermatologist, which was rash.”

What followed was a flurry of responses that you’ve gotta love – or not:

– She fell in love with a gym instructor, but it didn’t work out.

– She fell in love with a magician, but he disappeared.

– He fell in love with ski instructor, but it quickly went downhill.

– She fell in love with a mime, but he gave her the silent treatment.

– She fell in love with a story teller, and they lived happily ever after.

– He fell in love with a dressmaker, but it came apart at the seams.

– She fell in love with the Amazon guy, but he failed to deliver.

– She fell in love with a pastor; it was divine.

– She fell in love with a shoemaker, but he walked all over her.

– He fell in love with an X-ray technician, but she saw right through him.

– She fell in love with a steelworker; he was riveting.

– She fell in love with an escape artist, but he got away.

– He fell in love with a lawyer, and now they’re courting.

– She fell in love with a DJ, but he left her head spinning.

– She fell in love with a banker but then lost interest.

– She fell in love with a cardiologist, but it was over in a heartbeat.

– He fell in love with a tennis player, but love meant nothing to her.

– She fell in love with a blacksmith, and they forged a relationship.  

– She fell in love with a boat-builder, but they drifted apart.

– She fell in love with a janitor who swept her off her feet.

So whether you’re just looking, or courting, or married; whether you’re falling in love or long-since fallen, there you have some diverging ideas on the consequences of what we celebrate every Valentine’s day.

Whatever your own views on the subject, it’s hard to argue with the sentiments of novelist Henry Miller, who got to the heart of the matter with this observation: 

“The only thing we never get enough of is love, and the only thing we never give enough of is love.”  

Gerry Goldstein (gerryg76 @verizon.net), a frequent contributor, is a retired Providence Journal editor and columnist.