We are rapidly headed for February and my favorite holiday of the year. I know… lots of people don’t care much for Valentine’s Day. It’s my favorite, though, because of its history. Really, my history, I should say. Better yet, our history. Valentine’s Day 1999 found my 17-year-old self in a small mountain valley town in Southern Colorado. I’d been baptized a mere three days earlier and I couldn’t have been more pleased. Sunday morning broke and my now-husband met me at my dorm with roses, doughnuts, and a couple of CDs with special songs. We went to Bible class and worship service, but we didn’t stick around for potluck lunch. Instead, my best friend and I were instructed to go about our business, but stay away from my dorm room and her apartment… the guys would be in touch. Ultimately, we were treated to a made-from-scratch-by-two-twenty-something-men dinner of shrimp alfredo, salad and apple pie (even the crust was from scratch). That was romance!
At least it was back then.
Today, 15 years later, romance looks a little different, and not just in my life.
Today, a nice dinner, a man on bended knee with diamond in hand may not be the most romantic proposal. With social media and technology being what they are, if he’s to be counted a romantic, he may need to gather a few dozen friends and family (flown in, of course), choreograph a moving dance production and convince everyone to lip synch along. This kind of “lip-dub” proposal is romance in 2014… or it was in 2013… we’ll have to see what happens this year.
Or maybe lip-synching isn’t really either of your style. Maybe literature is more the thing? Romance might look like a Pride and Prejudice proposal. Either way, a simple bended knee just might not cut it.
In my own life, 15 years later, there is no lip-dub and there are no regency dresses, but there is plenty of romance. Around here, romance looks like a clean kitchen after I’ve had a cozy nap. Romance is my sweet husband reading to the kids so I can get some work done. Romance is a terribly dumb movie to laugh about for months down the road. Romance is cuddling on the couch in just the right way so I can still knit. Romance around here just might smell like curry cooking on the stove after the kids are in bed. It might look like an “I love you” text out of the blue. Romance for me in 2013 was encouraging me to take my son out for a movie when the spontaneous whim struck at 9:00 at night. It was that… and so many more moments, big and small. It was my husband making time with me a priority… it was making me a priority.
Because isn’t that what romance really is? Making the other person your priority and putting effort in to make them feel loved… special… cared for… important. But it’s not just in the grand gestures like planning and executing a dream proposal/wedding from your soon-to-be-wife’s Pinterest board. Romance is in the every day.
But you might miss it if you’re not looking. If your eye is on the horizon, waiting for your romance ship to come in, you might miss the person sitting at your side, bringing you a cool drink and sharing your life with you. If you’re waiting for a huge gesture, you could miss the small ones. Don’t let dissatisfaction be sown in your life, in your marriage, in your heart or in your love by seeing the huge things other people may do and wishing those things were yours. Do not let your heart envy the romance of another. Instead, look in your own life, your own marriage and find what romance is already there. Nurture that. The romance you find may not look like anything else you’ve ever seen before. Your romance may not look like mine. But if it makes you feel loved and special, cared for and important, then celebrate it and call it what it is: romance… even if no one else would recognize it as such.
Might I suggest that romance, much like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder?
This Valentine’s Day, find a way to show your spouse love and care. Even if it doesn’t look anything like the 23 Most Thoughtfully Romantic Gestures of 2013. After all, those 23 people were using their talents. Find a way to use yours.