Keeping Romance AliveRomantics like me are always curious about how to keep the romance alive in a marriage. We often wind up married to controllers instead of other romantics and soon our marriage doesn't feel loving at all. It becomes about criticism, blame and score-keeping.
Decades ago, I had a friend named Mel who taught me an important lesson about romantic relationships.
Mel had been a high level executive in a huge corporation. He was a workaholic. He made a ton of money but his wife took the kids and walked away. She had expected more from a marriage.
Mel figured out that his career focus had cost him his family life. He took a lowly position with another company. Something he could walk away from at 5 PM.
Then he met an elementary school teacher. They fell in love and married. They were both from failed marriages and were determined to keep the romance alive in their marriage.
They didn't own a television. Mel said it forced them to talk with one another, play games and cards, etc. So far as he was concerned, "TV teaches people to sit in the same room and ignore one another."
Seemed a bit radical, but I understood what he was saying.
What impressed me the most about their relationship was that they got all dressed up and went out every Thursday night. They went to dinner, and then to a movie or a show or dancing... depending on what was going on.
They had met on a Thursday, so they celebrated their anniversary EVERY THURSDAY!
I once asked Mel if he ever didn't feel like going out some Thursdays. He said, "Sure! I'm sure she feels that way, too, sometimes. But, unless one of us is sick, we get dressed and go and have a good time."
They had made a commitment to have a romantic marriage and they stayed focused on that commitment, rather than what they felt like or didn't feel like from moment to moment.
After more than a decade of marriage, they each wrote each other notes, bought each other little gifts; They did everything they could to make the other feel loved every day.
I spent a lot of time thinking about Mel and his marriage. I learned a lot.
I'm not suggesting we all sell our televisions. That was their choice. Nor am I suggesting we celebrate our 'anniversaries' each week. That was their thing, too. What I AM suggesting is that, if you are a romantic who was lucky enough to find another romantic and you each agree that you want a romantic marriage, you commit to doing whatever it takes to making your partner feel LOVED, every day.
Worry less about the deal you're GETTING and more about what you're GIVING. If your partner isn't reciprocating, you have a much deeper problem. How someone treats you is a dead giveaway to how they feel about you. Love is not words; It's not some vague feeling. Love is how you treat someone. Period. We can lie with words and feelings, but our behavior will soon tell the truth about how we really feel.
A romantic marriage requires the love and commitment of BOTH partners. One romantic cannot create a romantic marriage alone. Some couples are roommates with a marriage license and they like it that way. That's fine. We're not all romantics, nor should we be. But for those who long for the elusive romantic marriage, it does exist.
It is possible.
Radical as their approach was, Mel and his wife are still deeply in love. They still look forward to coming home to each other's company each night. They still spend time plotting how to make each other feel loved. :-)