This month marks a big ending-in-0 anniversary for me and Lance, the anniversary of our decision that, yes indeed, we could live happily ever after - and the vow to make it happen. We're celebrating this milestone by . . . doing the same things we always do.
Before you get indignant on my behalf, Gentle Reader, know that this is not a complaint. Lance and I have a pretty large dose of romance in our everyday lives. We send each other poetry and music, we walk hand-in-hand along the riverbank, we have champagne toasts and all the other classic “romantic” things. We also have things that are unique to our relationship that wouldn't seem romantic to anyone else, like Fig Newtons and bridges and stop lights. I've known Lance since we were 15 years old, and the accidental brush of his hand against mine still sends tingles up my spine.
While you might think, “Well, she just got lucky,” you'd only be partly correct. I got lucky all right, there's no question about that; but the luck was in loving a man who knows the importance of keeping romance alive. The rest of it is planning, preparation and effort. If I read that a lunar eclipse is going to be visible in our part of the world, I find out where and when it will be, set the alarm clock, and pack the GPS, a thermos of hot chocolate, a cooler of chocolate-dipped strawberries and a blanket into the car. If he think things need shaking up a bit, he'll get us tickets to a rodeo and we'll dance the night away afterward on the sawdust under the stars.
Romance is something that fits any budget; the love note slipped into the book you're currently reading is just as sweet as the impromptu trip to Canada for lunch. (Boy was that an adventure!) Huge surprises like trips to tropical islands or new convertibles are great, and if you can afford them you should spring one on your sweetie every once in a while. However, letting the little things slide in favor of making one huge gesture is a mistake. It's the day to day things like baking his favorite cookies, rubbing her neck and sending “I love you” emails (even though you're working in the same room) that keep your hearts lifted all the time.
Life is hard and dirty and often full of really awful things; you don't need to be reminded of that. If you concentrate on that stuff too much, it's easy to lose sight of the good things in your life. If you are in love with someone who loves you back, no matter what else is going on in your world you are very, very lucky.
Conventional wisdom says that couples lose the intensity of their feelings towards each other after a few months or a year; that the “honeymoon period” goes away. I say, that's wrong. What really happens is that Life tries to intervene, and we allow our emotional energies to be diverted to the power bill, the kid with asthma and the status report. These things must all be dealt with, I agree; but they're easier to handle if you keep them in the proper perspective. You are with each other today because, at one point, you decided that you'd never be completely happy if you couldn't be together for the rest of your lives.
So BE together.
Keep doing the things for each other that you did when you first felt that new flush of love. Bring him coffee in bed; make her mix CDs; shower together, go to the movies, send love notes through the mail. You know, nobody better, how to make your significant other feel loved: Do it. Often. You'll reap what you sow.
And Lance: Happy October!