Events and words can make a profound impact on your life at an early age. A single moment can prompt a mental decision that affects the course of your life like a sail on a sailboat.
Here is one of mine. It has to do with Romance. I had a dear friend growing up by the name of Lysle. Many joyful memories were created by spending hours in her home. One day, when we were young, I noticed her mom, Cinnie, setting up a small table and two chairs in their sunroom. I watched her go back and forth from the kitchen to a small table she was setting up. My pal, Lysle, and I were probably playing jacks on the scored cement floor in the same room. As time progressed, I saw pretty plates, napkins, candles, and beautiful flowers being added (Cinnie had her own magical garden, perfect for our pretend games, until you got stabbed by a rose thorn...). At one point, she added candles to her vignette. I asked, "Cinnie, what are you doing?" With grace and a grin she replied, "Lip (her husband) has been out of town and I am making a special dinner for him." "A special dinner", I thought. "Hmmm...so you can decide to make an ordinary event special?!!" I didn't know it at the time, but the concept of romance was being birthed in my tiny heart that late afternoon event. I allowed this thought and intention to plant itself in my soul: "When I get married, I want to do things like that with my husband."
Extracted from Webster's Dictionary:
- chivalric love
- a love story, especially
- an extravagant story
- an emotional attraction
- aura belonging to adventure, or activity
- to try to influence or favor especially by lavishing personal attention, gifts, or flattery
- to carry on a love affair with
Synonyms: amour, fling, love, love affair, romance
Related Words: intrigue, liaison, dalliance, hanky-panky, attachment, infatuation, entanglement, flirtation, passion, puppy love
(I do love the reference to hanky-panky. That is hilarious!)
My additions to the definition of romance:
- Making the ordinary special.
- Being playful.
My quest for romance is something I had to come to terms with in my marriage several years ago. I used to ask for Bruce to do things that lent themselves to romance, like asking me out on a date. I would get my feelings deeply hurt or frustrated if he didn't emphasize the romantic aspect of our relationship. Bruce lives in the moment. I am very futuristic. He was attentive, loving, and affectionate (best hand holder ever), but in terms of what I wanted in the romance department...particularly with planning, well, it was hit or miss. That's when I decided to put my big-girl-panties on and take responsibility for what I WANTED. This was my need/want, right? There is nothing wrong with communicating my desire, but I was the one who was discontent, not Bruce. So, I began to make what I considered romance a priority and plan for those things (dates, candles, travel, activities, music, soft blankets to snuggle in, meaningful conversation, and playful fun). Here is the most important clue to creating what I wanted: I let go of my expectations of Bruce. That seems counterintuitive right? I am still the main instigator of creating an atmosphere of romance in our marriage. However, a funny thing happened. With the pressure off and my joyful attitude over time, he organically acquired a taste for romance and now surprises me quite often. You might catch him dancing with me in the dining room on a whim or thinking of an exotic restaurant we could explore. But like I said, I am the one who takes the most time to create a romantic environment and events for our calendar.
50% of marriages end in divorce and that number doubles after the kids leave. Sadly, the statistics indicate that 1 in 5 marriages are without intimacy. That means a sexless marriage. We have decided to be intentional about our romance and have committed to not slip into neglecting each other. It can be a challenge at times. A few years back, I had 3 part time jobs and was often mentally and physically a tired camper. But, because we had already made a commitment to making our marriage a garden well tended, it was easier to weather that season.
Here are ideas about romance. Let's start with taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. Cooking together, sharing a delicious meal in a restaurant, holding hands, snuggling under a blanket, taking the time to look and smell good, and making a romantic playlist are some fun thoughts. Taking a little time to make the ordinary delightful enhances connection and conversation.
- You might have noticed that we are really into food and wine. Truly enjoying and appreciating tasting delicious food has enhanced our every day life. Here is one of our favorite recipes we have created together:
- Taking the time to be clean and lovely smelling is a gracious thing to do for your spouse.
- Human beings are affected by the atmosphere they are in. Studies show mood is altered by light. Candles and dimmers on light switches are a must for us in every room, so we can control the lighting. Why not explore coffee shops and restaurants that have an atmosphere you both enjoy.
- For sound, I have made several romantic song playlists that are designed to capture whatever mood is necessary. Check out ours:
- When it comes to touch, I like to think of soft inviting fabrics to share. And of course affection. Perhaps you have read about our Make-out Challenge. (click to see)
Here are a few Kissing Statistics and Tidbits
- One in five married couples don't kiss for an entire week, while two in five married people (40%) kiss for just five seconds or less when they are going to be intimate.
- Some couples spend more time watching kissing on TV than actually kissing!!
- Men who kiss their wives each morning before going to work live 5 years longer than men who don't. O.K guys...
I would normally tend to prefer a good conversation, rather than play a game. But Bruce loves playful activity, adventure and shared experiences. This is a big one for guys in general, I believe. Think about it, boys often grow up being on teams and exploring their environments. So, looking for things to do together is a helpful investment in our relationship. We bring playing cards wherever we go, just in case we need to break out a game of spades. We also have a pool table in our family room and yes, I sometimes beat him!
Here are some fun things we have done to our home to encourage romance.
Thanks for reading on one of my favorite topics. Will you respond to this blog by giving us your ideas on romance? See you next time.