It is difficult to sustain vital forms of love without strong positive encouragement from the other person, whereas mental love does not depend on reciprocity. The power of Mind arises from an organization of ideas. Mental love is based on an idealistic conception of what love is and a perception of idealized values in the other person. Mental love gives rise to unwavering loyalty. It involves a lasting commitment to the other person which does not depend on circumstances, personal contact or even the response of the other person. We can love another person as an individual only when we fully recognize and respect the ways they are unique and different from ourselves and value them for those differences rather than trying to change them or mold them into our ideal image. Mental love may lack the intense sensations of previous stages, but it brings a lightness, sweetness and refinement of feeling that is uplifting and more deeply fulfilling.
But the real love story in Gone with the Wind is not between these two selfish, self-centered characters whose passion torments and ultimately ruins the happiness of both. It is rather the quiet, idealized love between Ashley and Melanie Wilkes that depicts the true qualities and power of love to nurture, save and protect, even in times of extraordinary upheaval. Scarlett has set her heart on marrying the refined and cultured Ashley. But he chooses instead his mild-mannered and frail cousin Melanie and marries her just before the outbreak of the Civil War. Then he is called to serve in the Southern army and they are separated for the duration of the war.
Real love is a pure and special vibration between people that differs from the intense longings and passions many describe by the word.
Scarlett’s only real relationship is with Rhett Butler, the dashing young blockade runner who was disowned by his family and expelled from Charleston for dishonorable behavior. Rhett sees right through Scarlett’s façade of ladylike elegance and knows the ruthless, unscrupulous, wildcat which lies behind her pretty face. Attracted by her energy, strength, courage and beauty, he pursues her first to become his mistress and later his wife. Scarlett’s heart has always been after Ashley. She admires Rhett’s brute strength, his courage to defy society, his tall handsome appearance and his considerable wealth, but she never feels for him anything like true affection.
The ability to arouse another by a simple touch, intrude on their thoughts, and provoke an urge to touch drives each partner in the beginning of a relationship. However, this urge declines with familiarity. In one study, of a sample of four hundred married couples found that their frequency of sexual intercourse declined by thirty-two percent in a four-year period, and for average newlyweds, the first month of marriage is accompanied with about eighteen accounts of sexual intercourse and about nine accounts of sexual intercourse in the second month. The high amount of sexual interaction in the first month of marriage is credited to the law of emotional momentum. This law studies how a stimulus can repeatedly evoke the same emotions in a person until the person habituates for that stimulus. Before habituation occurs, when a person is reminded of a portion of the initial stimulus, they experience a portion of the emotion all over again.