Couples who have A+ relationships know the secrets of combining creativity and action to produce long-term monogamous love affairs. (In other words, they know the secret of romance.) – Gregory Godek
For many men, this subject is one of trepidation and uncertainty. For many, they do not wish to look foolish or “mushy”, and like so many things in life because they do not practice being romantic, they aren’t very good at it. So to women I suggest you provide lots of appreciation and gentle, constructive coaching. Hints here and there as to the types of things you find romantic are always helpful as well. Buying a book like “1001 Ways to be Romantic” by Gregory Godek will be invaluable.
You may ask yourself why I waited until now to write about romance; AFTER columns on dating, marriage and having children. The reason is simple: it is at this point in a relationship that romance becomes difficult and for many couples they never get back their romantic selves after having children. I think this is sad, and most marriage experts would say the loss of romance is both bad for the relationship and unnecessary.
Further, I would argue there are several reasons to keep romance alive in your marriage. The first is simply it is an expression of love. The second is it reminds us to think of our spouse in loving ways and then to act on those thoughts. If you believe love is a choice as do many experts in the field, then you see how CHOOSING to do something loving for your spouse is key to keeping loving feelings alive. Last, I argue it is vital for your children to see you being romantic to your spouse. It provides them an example of the behaviors they should both emulate and expect later in their own relationships. This last reason is enough for experts to advise that even if you do not have the marriage you wish, you should still be romantic to be a good example. Besides if you are more romantic to your spouse you may develop the marriage you wanted!
Another book on your list should be “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. Learning your spouse’s love language will be a great help to you in learning what your spouse will find romantic. “One does not fall ’in’ or ‘out’ of love. One grows in love”- Leo Buscaglia.
Most of our lives are ruled by our cell phones and Blackberries so use them to your advantage. Put a reminder in your phone or computer calendar to do something romantic once a week. At first you will appreciate the reminders, but after a while it becomes second nature for most people. Much like remembering to be romantic, knowing HOW to be romantic takes practice as well, but after a while romantic ideas will come to you from everywhere.
I will include a number of ideas next week that you can slightly change to make your own, but I will close with this week with two romantic gestures that are easy to do and cost nothing (so NO excuses): 1. Call unexpectedly, say simply and with feeling, “I love you” 2. Hold hands and go for a slow walk.