Love isn’t dead. Here’s proof

From Bey and Jay-Z to a couple who predate the Truman administration, a list of loves that challenge and inspire us SLIDE SHOW

Topics: slideshow, Love, relationships, Sex, Divorce, Same-sex marriage, Gay Marriage, Marriage equality, , ,

Love isn't dead. Here's proof (Credit: Meryl Shenker)

It’s Valentine’s Day, everyone. If you’re like me, you are wondering what there could possibly be to celebrate in an era when the Internet has killed courtship and Taylor Swift is seemingly incapable of finding the one.

Oh, I jest. People still go on dates and T-Swizzle is 23 years old and figuring stuff out, so please everyone just get off her back, OK?

Love isn’t dead. It’s actually kind of everywhere. It’s fleeting. It disappears only to show up again later. It doesn’t always look the way we thought it would. And it often involves a lot of heartbreak and frustration. But it happens, and it’s real.

Just to prove it to you, I’ve compiled a list of couples that remind us all that romance takes many shapes and forms over a lifetime. So kick back, crack open a box of Russell Stovers and come on this love journey with me. And feel free to tell me in the comments which couples inspire you.

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    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Barack and Michelle Obama

    Seriously, people: What's not to love about Barack and Michelle? They are smart, professionally accomplished presidential hotties that genuinely seem to like each other. They also give off the distinct impression that there is still sex happening in the executive bedroom, and while I generally don't support trickle-down theories, I'm thinking this might be one case where success at the top is to everyone's benefit.

    Credit: Reuters

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Lt. Col. Heather Mack and Ashley Broadway

    When the the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses offered army wife Ashley Broadway a "special guest membership" -- instead of the full membership she was due -- to the spouses' club on base, Broadway told them, politely, where they could stick that special guest membership. Then she fought the discriminatory policies that would keep gay spouses out of base life -- and won. How's that for the power of love?

    Credit: Ashley Broadway

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Jon Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt

    As another adult woman in a long-term committed but never-going-to-be-married (sorry, mom!) relationship, I have a special kind of love for Westfeldt and Hamm's lasting partnership. They are also just really, really attractive. And judging from Jon Hamm's various television incarnations ("Man Men," "Saturday Night Live," "30 Rock"), he seems game for almost anything, which Dan Savage says makes you great in bed. Good for you, Hammy!

    Credit: Associated Press

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Larry Duncan and Randy Shepherd

    Duncan and Shepherd became viral sensations after having their Washington state nuptials captured on film. With their matching beards, plaids and hunting caps, the real story of this grizzly-bear couple (together for 11 years) is that true love waits — even while our laws catch up with them.

    Credit: Meryl Shenker

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly

    Former representative Giffords really doesn't need any introduction, does she? Since surviving an assassination attempt, the Arizona lawmaker has become one of the most vocal -- and compelling -- advocates for gun control in the country. And as for Mark Kelly? He is an astronaut. He has been to space. Have you ever been to space? I didn't think so.

    Credit: Associated Press

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    John and Ann Betar

    The Betars have been married for more than 80 years. That's before the Internet was even a gleam in Al Gore's eye! Lord only knows if they've ever sexted or ping'd or poked one another! All the same, they are clearly doing something right! Their advice for relational longevity? Simple: "Don't hold a grudge," they told ABC News.

    Credit: Heather Mitchell

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Matthew Griffin and Raymie Wolfe

    Even though they knew it would be rejected, Griffin and Wolfe submitted an application for a marriage license in Tennessee. What follows is a polite exchange with a city clerk, and a seriously beautiful testimonial from Wolfe about what Griffin means to him, and what their marriage would mean to him. Watch it, but get your tissues ready first.

    Credit: J. Miles Cary, Knoxville News Sentinel

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Beyoncé and Jay-Z

    Okay, so I'm not wild about the old-school connotations of the "Mrs. Carter" tour, but since Bey doesn't even need a last name half the time, let's look past it. Between the woman who caused a blackout at the Super Bowl and the man who can even charm the "I don't watch television" old lady New York City types on the subway, there's just a lot to love here.

    Credit: Associated Press

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Suleika Jaoaud and Seamus McKiernan

    Jaoud pens the "Life, Interrupted" column for the New York Times, documenting her experiences as a young woman with cancer. She does an exquisite job of reminding us that illness does not preclude the everyday challenges, small victories and big romances that shape all of our lives, and her clear, honest writing (and this wonderful video ) is proof that life with cancer, while maybe interrupted, is no less a life.

    Credit: Anne Francey, New York Times

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Caitlin Moran and Pete Paphides

    The feminist and the rock critic. It doesn't get much cooler than that, does it?

    Credit: The Sunday Times

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Bill Ott and Shelley Belgard

    Here's how Shelley describes the first time she saw Bill: "You know that scene in ‘Dirty Dancing’ where Baby meets Johnny for the first time? It was kind of like that.” Bill and Shelley met when they were teenagers, and against what their families and doctors had predicted (Shelley was born with fluid building up inside her skull which doctors thought would prove fatal; Bill, with Down syndrome) they fell in love and married. Their story is unique -- and absolutely ordinary. Bill's favorite part of their marriage? To “live with a woman who I’ve loved ever since I met her.”

    Credit: The Belgard Family

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally

    A casual poll of the Salon office revealed this couple packs serious on- and offscreen heat. Whether they're tearing it up (literally) as Ron Swanson and Tammy "2" on "Parks and Recreation" or just killin' it with their cute, relatable love in interviews like this one, they're a joy to watch. Also, a quick search for Offerman on the Associated Press site reveals the following headline: "Offerman on new movie, love for wife." Damn, Swanson!

    Credit: Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Waudda and Carol Faried

    The Farieds raised none other than Kenneth "the Mannimal" Faried of the Denver Nuggets. And they raised him well, shaping Faried into a rare advocate for gay and lesbian families in a sports culture flooded with homophobia. Kenneth's video "No one can tell me I can't have two mothers ..." (adorable, I know) shows Carol and Waudda, clearly used to letting Kenneth take the spotlight, staring at their feet, smiling awkwardly and just generally coming across as loving (if spotlight-averse) parents.

    Credit: YouTube

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Laurie Bryant and Robert Mitchell Haire

    Want to know why to love this couple? Here is the first line of their wedding announcement: "The bride, 97, is keeping her name." The groom is a sprightly 86, which, I guess, makes Laurie Bryant something of a cougar. No matter! This couple, who met in 2007 and sustained a friendship that blossomed into love, is proof that age ain't nothin' but a number.

    Credit: Robert L. Bryant

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Stephen Colbert and Evelyn McGee-Colbert

    In a rare interview (that's just how Oprah rolls, people), Evelyn McGee-Colbert joins Stephen to talk about their 19-year marriage. And, obviously, it kind of rules. From anecdotes from their humble dating origins while Stephen was a broke improv comic, to her rule about her husband's television alter-ego not being welcome in their home, their relationship is brimming with genuine affection and laughter.

    Credit: Wikimedia Commons

    Love isn't dead. Here's proof (slideshow)

    Joe and Jill Biden

    The Biden's love story is genuinely inspirational: A widower with two kids finds love again and together, Joe and Jill build a beautiful, blended family. But the real appeal of the vice-presidential couple is, I think, the network sitcom that I imagine their life resembles. Can't you just picture Jill saying "Joe, why are you covered in cereal right now?" Or, "Joe, why are you using my favorite dress to buff Air Force One? Did you lose a bet with Barack?" Mishaps galore! And doesn't "Everyone loves Biden" or "The King of Number One Observatory Circle" just have a certain ring?

    Credit: Associated Press

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Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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