Though it is a story of war, For Whom the Bell Tolls is also the tale of the sudden but passionate love between an American volunteer and a Spanish girl brought together for three (and a half) days by a military operation. Each is unprepared for and overwhelmed by the "earth-shaking" experience of romantic love between two people, which neither has ever felt before. Their experience gives to each a new reason for living – the other person – and suggests that the aloneness of the individual can be lost in total union with another. Yet from the beginning it is clear to each that their love may have no future.
Robert Jordan and Maria's love is in fact nothing more than lust. They have no connection besides their sexual attraction.
Robert Jordan and Maria's relationship is based on the inequality of power between the two of them.