Saturday, February 17, 2018

When Writing Love Scenes—the Eyes Have It

by Emme Gannon @GannonEmme

Ah, February. Somewhere between January’s frigid days and March’s warming trend, nature stirs from her winter rest, and our hearts turn to love. Store windows lure us in with dangling red hearts. Men of all ages line up at grocery store check-outs waiting to purchase a bouquet of flowers. The pull of love is so irresistible that it has the power to compel a level-headed person to step out of the ordinary into it’s charming embrace.

Just how does a writer describe this phenomenon called love?  I contend, it has to start with the eyes.

Who will forget the scene in Sleepless in Seattle, where Meg Ryan’s character Annie becomes intrigued with Tom Hank’s Sam as she listens to him being interviewed on the radio. As a journalist, she’s drawn in and pursues the story. Her intrigue turns into desire when their eyes meet from across a busy highway. Even though she runs from the scene, their soul connects and creates a restlessness that pulls her away from her present shallow relationship.

In that touching scene where they finally reunite on the top floor of the Empire State Building, their eyes meet once more. Only this time they are close enough to discover the message behind the look. Their hands touch as they walk toward the elevator, all the while staring deeply into one another’s souls—a union that, for me, goes down in movie history as one of the sweetest of love stories. Love begins with a look. Without a kiss. Absent of an embrace. Void of the words, “I love you.” Just a look that says, you are what I have been looking for. I’m home at last.

In Beauty and the Beast, Belle was drawn to the beast by his kind eyes. Reflecting on this, she sang, “True, that he’s no Prince Charming but there’s something in him that I simply didn’t see.” As the curse lifted and he turns back into a prince, she recognizes him by the look in his eyes.

I remember when my husband first gave me that look. We’d been dating a few months and were on a picnic in the mountains. He turned from the majestic view and looked at me, his eyes taking in mine, sending messages that at first I couldn’t interpret, only because the look was new to me. His eyes sparkled and seemed to turn a lighter blue. That look soared straight to my heart. It was an unspoken kiss that refrained from touch. Love took root and grew from that day forward. I contend that agape love, God loving through us, was conceived with his tender heartfelt look.

The look of love is not a stare, a glimpse, or a fleeting glance. The look is held so long that the body can no longer bear love’s arrow as it pierces the heart. Be prepared for possible palpitations and butterflies as this surge of tenderness transfixes the soul. The surroundings begin to fade. The eyes light up as the heart meets the soul and love is birthed. Yes, love is indeed a creative force and the eyes a mirror of the soul. Victor Hugo says it well, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

By this time next week, our Valentine roses and candy will be gone. The heart-shaped meatloaf will be replaced by frozen pizza. The cards will be stored away. But the look of love will forever be seared in our memory, ready to show up when we least expect it. In love, as with all emotions, the eyes do speak louder than words.


Emme Gannon is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write stories that stir the heart. Her award-winning writing has appeared in Focus on the Family magazine, several anthologies, and numerous newsletters. She just completed her first novel.


  1. Ms. Emme. Nearly move to tears by your writing. What wonderful memories flooded back of my life with my special lady. God's blessings. He has truly blessed you with the gift of "wordsmithing."

  2. Oh, Jim, you blessed my day! Words every writer longs to hear. Thank you!