This is moving weekend for my site! Taking the advice of fellow bloggers I met recently at the Blog Elevated conference in Dallas and moving it over to a self hosted site. Anxious to see how many ways I can screw this up! I will be holding off posting anything else until Monday though. Will send out the address as soon as its complete!
What if you aren’t what one might call traditional? Even the word “romance” makes you want to gag. Well if you have read to this point, you have learned that romance is not bells and whistles, but instead, at it’s core, simple and sweet kindness. Doesn’t matter your style, we all will be happy to accept sweet kindness!
I worked with a woman named Karen. She is super tall and fair skinned, lovely like my daughter Emma. Beautiful short red hair usually styled in a very angular, modern, totally cool way. Smart. Talented. Quirky. Dry wit. She has serious indie rock tendencies, mixed with sick knitting skills and is the queen of all French bull dogs.
Here is her take on this whole romance deal:
“OK, so I have never been that girl dreaming of a fairytale complete with a Prince Charming. I’ll take a good old B horror flick over a romantic movie any day!
The Notebook? Never saw it. The traditional romantic vices such as flowers, chocolates, etc. never impressed me. This is probably 95% the reason I have received so many dogs for Birthday gifts.
So now that’s out of the way, romance? Finding that person that gets you. Hanging out with them, even if it’s just watching a favorite TV show, or sitting on the porch watching the super blood moon! Someone who laughs at your stupid jokes and will grab you a bucket to throw up in when you’re sick.
Someone who has your back whether it’s to help clean the house before family arrives or protect you in a Zombie Apocalypse.
But maybe there has been that fairy tale romance along the way…Unexpected trips to Paris, him ending his golf game early to take me antiquing in Giddings. I did not wear a tiara, there was no white horse, just us enjoying each others company along this journey, together.”
So an unexpected trip to Paris…thats pretty high on the romance scale. Big points for him pulling that off.
What really gets me though is his cutting his golf game short. The man is a possessed golf fanatic. For him to cut one of his passions short in order to take his wife antiquing?? Magic!
So many people I talked to didn’t think romance existed for them. When you wipe away the Hallmark or “Every kiss begins with Kay” version of what the world tells us romance is, you can see it buried in everyday life if you look close enough, just don’t forget to look!
As I have written these posts my own husband has been out of town on a fishing boat somewhere in Mexico. He came home night before last, exhausted, happy and still swaying back and forth with the motion of the boat he was no longer on.
He read through all that I posted and was pleasantly surprised about my topic. Having written about romance all week, I am ready to get this show on the road, work out our plan! So we have dinner, he drinks a beer and immediately passes out not he couch. I drag him off to bed finally and of course, he snores all night. He is not usually a snorer, but exhaustion has overtaken him.
Next day, he pulls out his clothes and gear from the week; a pile of fishy, sweaty, bloody clothes piled high in my bedroom floor, a sure sign of his fishing mastery! And before you know it, my week of quiet contemplation on romantic sweetness is caught up in the whirlwind that is my husband and family life.
Reality often has a way of hijacking our romantic notions. My husband is an awesome guy in so many ways, and so infuriating in others. I’m sure he would have the same kind of thing to say about me. But then, that is human nature…we are all human with our own funkiness that can spoil even the best of romantic intentions.
So how do we navigate without getting frustrated with one another and spoiling the mood? Romance is a simple sweetness, nothing more, nothing less. Yes, there can be more in terms of lusty amazingness as an end result, but I am leaving that up to ya’ll. I am talking at a core level, the simple sweetness has to be there. If you and your partner are able to demonstrate simple sweetness on a regular basis, it has a side effect of giving you both the grace needed to be human and still accepted. #relationshipgoals
I find that any relationship you are struggling with, a dose of simple kindness can do wonders. Could be with other family members, friends, coworkers. It may seem counterintuitive in some cases, because Lord only knows they may not deserve it, but often times it is the gesture that breaks down a wall that needed to go, to allow progress to be made.
Are you showing kindness to yourself, to your partner, to people you come across throughout your day? So much to think about before we even get a date night out of this deal! Being able to combine reality and romance is the best though. That is where connection and commitment take root, setting the stage for amazing things down the road.
So take a look at yourself…you know what you need to do today.
We have covered the following steps so far in your efforts to attract more romance into your life:
Talk to you partner about what romance means to you both
Understand who you are and how you feel about yourself at this point in time, why do you want/need romance in your life right now?
Understand who your partner truly is
Put a plan into place that you agree upon and can look forward to
People…thats all their is to it. Treat each of those four bullet points with gentle sweetness. Be intentional in your actions. Thats it. Are you disappointed there aren’t 31 detailed steps to get you there? Reality is this is all you need. It simple! Don’t overthink it!
I did want to share something with you though. The constant theme I heard from almost every woman I spoke with; romance is found in the simple things. My dear friend Pat, in the 60 something realm, had these thoughts on the topic:
“I know I have changed, for in my youth my thoughts of romance were very typical in that I thought if he bought me flowers for my birthday it was romantic. It’s nice and I would always be thankful, but now I think that is easy or typical. Plus its only once a year!
Through Facebook or reading about successful couples (long lasting relationships), what I see and like are those couples who truly care for each other and show it in small ways everyday. It’s simple things. I saw one couple where the gentleman had dinner waiting for his lady when she got home at 10PM after she worked a 12-hour shift. He made her a dinner from scratch! This guy is a plumber, no chef. So sweet and just shows how much he cares. In turn I’ve seen her, pack a lunch and had his coffee ready when he had to go to work at 5:00 in morning.
I think its romantic when that person just wants to make your day better in some small way. They are truly listening and and it brings them true joy to ensure your happiness, as you do for them.
Have I experienced this, sadly no. I have not dated at all since being divorced, I guess I just really wanted the time for ME. Plus I really wanted to figure out what I wanted and not make the same mistakes.
Sometimes I think about sharing my life again with someone, however if I do I will not settle just to have a companion. I know I will want that simple romance.”
Did you all hear what she said there? Oprah would call this a tweetable moment, #willnotsettle!
She has intuitively followed the steps outlined above. If a partner does come along, she knows who she is, she knows what she needs in order to be happy and will not settle for the sake of companionship! Such a powerful place to be.
I have to say, not settling doesn’t apply just to romantic partners, but people in general in our lives. With age comes the wisdom to know the difference between the ones that fill us up and the ones we can do without.
In order to make any new goal come to fruition, you must take action, you can’t simply sit back and wait for it. Romance is no different, you have to make a plan and work it.
There have been many times in my life where hope and a prayer was the best I had in me….I couldn’t have formulated an actual plan to save my life. Those cycles in life happen to everyone and we do the best we can to get through them. I am thankful we have made it together long enough to come out the other side of many of those cycles and that we still care enough to actually come up with any kind of plan at all.
So, the plan – you can do this on your own or along with your partner. There have been times in my married life where I wasn’t necessarily as nice as I could be, hard to imagine, I know. But the realities of life took their toll at certain points in our marriage. Easy to pull back from romantic gestures and even simple kindnesses. Sometimes it was me, sometimes him, sometimes both of us stubbornly refusing to give anything, because truth be told, we didn’t have any thing to give.
I am in a place now where I am 100% willing to own my part in the situation if there is lack. I don’t mind stepping it up and taking that responsibility. My experience has been, anytime I have put a focus on more romantic gestures, he always notices and reciprocates. Please note, I am making an assumption that your partner is not a total jerk. There is no simple kindness ever going to cure a total jerk of his jerkiness. It goes back to knowing your partner. If its on you, step up and do your part. If you think they would be receptive to making a plan with you towards this common goal, do it together.
Here is an example of why planning is so critical to get the ball rolling. When I was in the midst for my craziest work schedule, I had Friday nights off. My kids were always engaged heavily in extracurricular school activities and seldom around on Fridays. My husband would let me sleep as long as I wanted, after working all night. Then as soon as I was up, we would head out for Date Day! It was official, written in stone, rain or shine. People were always surprised at our commitment and consistency to it. We would turn other invites down for date day, we protected it.
Then a funny thing happened when I quit my crazy job, freeing up my time…we could make date day, any day, but did we?! No! It is so easy to let one day run into the next knocking out the chores of life and before you know it months have passed. We are just now getting back to the official schedule.
So you need a plan. Don’t go crazy though. No need to fill it with tons of things. Just get started with something you will stick to. Put at least one or two things on your calendar and do them.
To make the best of this new plan, make sure you talk about it in a way that builds anticipation in your upcoming time together. When its over, talk about it the next day. How’d it go? Are you both desperately out of practice or did you actually have a great time? What can be done to make the next two things you put into the plan better than the first?
I also can’t stress enough, the benefits of letting your kids in on your schedule. While the kids may be somewhat disgusted at the thought of mom and dad having any kind of romantic adventures together, it is an awesome example to set for them. It will imprint on their minds in a positive way.