(I wrote the following on February 14, but did not have access to the internet to be able to post it.)
After 12 years and 11 months of marriage, I can say that there is still romance.
You may imagine then, that we always have a weekly date; or that we spend all day in each other's embrace.
No, that is not true. In fact we rarely have a weekly date. I get a quick hug and a kiss as he's walking out the door in the mornings. But there's still romance.
We don't spend every day together all day, and some days are so busy that by bedtime, we're so exhausted that we can't even have a sensible conversation.
But there's still romance. When the room is full of people, and he gives me that look that makes me feel like he and I are the only people in the room. Or when I pass his chair and give him a loving pat on the shoulder: that's our romance.
Baby is crying, and I'm feeling completely overwhelmed with the stress of the moment, and he takes the baby for a ride in the car. That's romance. To me, that says, "I care about you."
This week has been one of the busiest for us as a family. My husband's relatives are staying in our home due to a surgery. I've been busy keeping everyone fed and comfortable, and besides my husband's very busy work schedule, he has shuttled people to and from the hospital as turns are taken to stay with the patient. We have hardly had time to sit together for a meal. I blow him a kiss as he's leaving again.
Today, I took the time to go with him to make another trip to the hospital. Whew! Finally, some alone time. We can "catch up" on each other. But he gets a phone call from a mommy with a sick baby who needs to know what to give to her baby for diarrea. I listen as he gently speaks to this troubled mommy, calming her fears and reassuring he that her baby will be OK. I listen with admiration. I look over at this handsome man that I call my husband. He is constantly going, giving, caring. Such a compassionate man.
When he hangs up the phone, he squeezes my hand and says, "You're doing a good job. I know it's a lot of work, but it's not forever."
To me, that's romance.
Not necessarily if he takes me out once a week. We hardly ever go out alone. But there's still romance. My time alone with him is in the evening when we have our cup of coffee together at our table and talk of the events of the day. He shares his activities and happenings of the day; and I ramble on (and sometimes on and on) about mine, while he patiently listens.
A sweet text message here and there that tells me, "I'm thinking about you."
Now, perhaps your expectation of romance is higher than mine. But I choose to be content and let the normal happenings of a normal day satisfy my need for romance. A coy smile; a loving pat; a call from him on his way home: "Can I bring you something from town?" Those are every-day things that I treasure. My heart goes pitter-patter at the sound of his voice; I thrill at the sound of him opening the front door. I don't want to let those little things lose significance in my life.
So, can romance still exist in marriage nearly 13 years and 3 kiddies later? Can love still be in the air, even with a toddler who interrupts nearly EVERY conversation you try to have?
Yes! Take the time to wink at him from across the room. Give each other a loving squeeze every time you pass one another. Steal a kiss when you think no one's looking (or even when little eyes are watching). Romance is not only made of romantic outings in fine restaurats, or trips away, just the two of you. (Honestly, we don't have the money to make frequent get-aways.) Romance consists in the knowledge that "I'm here for you."
So to my handsome, ever-cheerful Sweetheart, "I love you, my Valentine. I've loved you for 20 years, and I look forward to loving you the next 20 years!"