The Original Trilogy is one of my earliest memories of a big screen romance — back in the days before everyone already knew that Luke and Leia were siblings (oh, should I have put a “spoiler alert” before that one?). I watched with breathless anticipation, hoping that Leia and Han would find a way to end up together. I’ve made no secret of how much I identify with Leia. The way she handled herself with Han may have impacted my own notions of romantic love along the way.
When the prequel trilogy arrived, I was hoping to be swept off my feet by another epic romance. After all, Anakin’s fear for those he loved was a huge part of his fall. While I was less than impressed by the on-screen chemistry between Anakin and Padme, I still think that the heart of the story revealed many important truths about the nature of love.
Keep your sense of humor.
Falling in love isn’t easy, especially when you don’t realize that’s what’s happening right away. It’s no surprise to me that some of my all-time favorite lines revolve around the sarcastic jibes that flew between Han and Leia when they were still fighting the attraction that the audience knew was there. I’m almost to my 20th wedding anniversary with a man who won my heart at least partly because he can always make me laugh.
Find a partner you can respect.
Leia may have seen Han as just an ordinary smuggler at first, but she didn’t really fall in love with him until she began to see his loyalty to his friends. He could have just bugged out with his reward, but he returned to be sure that he was there for Luke. He didn’t need a fancy pedigree title. It was that act of self-sacrifice that caught her eye.
Don’t quit your day job
Leia and Padme are both respected leaders. There is never even a hint that they should remove themselves from those vital positions because they have found the love of their lives. Don’t get me wrong; I know many women are happy with the choice they make to stay home with their children. For me, though, I find fulfillment through the combination of my love for my family and the impact I have on the future through teaching.
Love passionately, but …
I’m looking at you, Padme and Anakin. It’s okay to be completely into each other, I guess. But when you are so obsessed that it leads you to the Dark Side, we have a problem. Yes, I know that wasn’t the only factor that led Anakin astray, but it was a big piece of it. Padme is so distraught by Anakin’s fate that she can’t face life any longer. Come on! Han and Leia are a much better example here. Even in the few Star Wars books I’ve read, Han knows that his love for his wife doesn’t mean he should smother her with protection. They respect the choices they each have to make, even if it separates them for a time, and then thrill in being back together again.
Love makes you want the best for each other.
Is there any scene that makes you adore Han more than the one where he thinks Leia is in love with Luke and says to her, “When he comes back, I won’t get in the way.”? That is the point of love. Han wanted Leia to be happy, and he would handle his own heartache to be sure she had what she wanted. The look on his face of astonishment and joy when he figures out the truth was priceless.
Express your love your own way.
“I love you.”
Classic. Simple. It may not work for every couple (trust me friends, don’t try this unless you’re sure your partner will love it) but it works for Han and Leia. However you choose to let your true love know how you feel – be sure to take a few minutes today and tell them how much they mean to you.
Until next week – may the Force (of love) be with you!