I was watching One Week to Save Your Marriage this evening, because it’s one of those shows that makes me feel great about my relationship *and* my ability to just, well, not be a jerk to the people I love. Anyway, the premise of this show is pretty self explanatory. This counselor provides intense therapy for couples on the brink of divorce, in efforts to get them back on track, all in one week. This week’s couple was Erin and, well, I can’t remember the husband’s name because I was too enraged by the insanity/ridiculousness of his baby-talking, passive aggressive wife. Erin’s main complaint was that Husband was never romantic. I mean, it was pretty obvious to me why he wasn’t romantic. Who would want to snuggle up with the Pouty McIceQueen every night? Anyway, her infuriatingly vague yet screeching demands for romance got me thinking.
Ross and I have been married for three years. We were together for a total of 5 years before that, including a brief break. I like to call it “Ross’s 11 months of Insanity,” but we’ll just call it a break. Anyway, even by the time we were married, we were kind of over the romance part of things. The flowers, sweet emails, and butterflies in the stomach (although they still make their appearances every now and then) gave way to solidarity, sacrifice, trust, and deep love and committment, all of which require much more thought and dedication than a romantic evening ever would.
I think this fade of romance applies to all relationships you have, too. For example, when you make a new friend, someone that you really connect with, you make much more of an effort to ensure a really good time when you hang out. You want to have deep, revealing conversations with each other, and you tend to think about that person a lot. It’s a lot like having a crush, or just starting a relationship. But, eventually, that excitement is replaced by what comes with really knowing someone. You begin to cherish the silences when you are just together, silences that would have sent you into a panic before. Just knowing what is going on in each other’s lives and being supportive to one another becomes more important than being considered the “fun” or “smart” friend. For example, I loved knowing that after an unusually long separation from one another, the first thing Maura and I wanted to do was just hug each other. That’s it. Our only plan was to hug, not have some super, fancy girl’s day out. Not that we would be against it, but it’s just not important.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying romance is bad, despite what the title of this post suggests. I just don’t see what the fuss is all about. Maybe people have the wrong idea about what is romantic. If Ross ever showed up with flowers and whisked me off to a fancy dinner, I’d be pleased, but I probably would be wondering what was wrong, what news needed to be presented on such a fancy platter. To me, romance is giving of yourself, your energy, and your time. The most romantic thing that Ross does is get up in the middle of the night to put Shooter in his crate once the pup starts pacing around the room. He knows I have trouble getting back to sleep, so he takes care of it.
That’s not just romance; to me, that’s love.