Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Real Life Romance

My friend Nini is often telling all her friends to go read the Metropolitan Mama Blog. I tried to ignore her for a while. But, she is really persistent. You know, posting about it a lot. Man. So, I finally went over there when Nini sent out the link for the 2009 top 10 blog posts, and told us all to read it. I was inspired by this one about whether or not date night is important to a good marriage.
I love romance. I love dates. I love flowers. I love kisses. I love holding hands. I love candles. I love weekend getaways. (Girlhood friends - "How romantical! Right?")
But. I love real life. And, love needs to be real. And not everything is rosy & romantical. I want my love to press on through the rough & come out stronger. Even if there isn't much opportunity for a lot of the romantical stuff.

Date nights are good. But, it is even better to be able to find the love & romance at home & in the every day; especially when a date isn't possible. My husband is showing he loves me when he wants to take me out for a special time alone, just the two of us. But, if I require the special outings, to feel loved, than I am not loving.

I do believe that it is a loving thing for me to try to be clean & attractive for my husband. But, I love that he loves me, even when I didn't take a shower that day. Or even brush my hair. Really. My husband still even tells me I am beautiful (with complete sincerity. No smirking or searching.)

I have a real life love story on that subject. Scott & I were on our honeymoon. I packed beauty items. Make-up, Perfume, razor & shaving cream, toothbrush, deodorant... They were all tidily stowed away in a marvelous train case that looked something like this one. It belonged to my parents. They were so kind as to let me take it. And then, on a bus in Ireland, 4 days after saying "I do" to my new husband, I lost it. I left it under my seat. We got off the bus. Checked into our Inn. Oh. No make-up. No moisturizer. No deodorant. No razor. No toothbrush?! And, we were in a little town. There was no drug store or anything of the kind. We had to go 2 days sharing a toothbrush. My husband didn't think it was a big deal. But, I was so mad & grouchy & whiny about it (not the toothbrush specifically. The whole situation). And then, when we were in the "big city" I still couldn't find any of the toiletries that I wanted. There was nothing I liked & I had to settle for mediocre.
Hmmm.... I wonder if a good attitude would have been a better accessory than a good hand lotion. It's nice to have soft skin. But, didn't God say that beauty is vain? And, to let your adornment be that of a meek & quiet spirit? I can show I love my husband by trying to look nice for him. But, if me looking nice is a necessity, than it isn't love. And, if I feel like I need to look nice, than I don't understand what true worth is.

Show love by actually loving. Not by a set of marriage tips & rules from how-to books. ("Don't have kids right away - enjoy one another" uh... so, once the kids come do we stop enjoying one another? thanks for the lame tip.) Show love by considering the other person above yourself. You know - be selfless. Those are things that Jesus says.

Look for what matters to your spouse. Look for where they need your support. Being thoughtful means actually thinking about the other person; and loving them the way they need to be loved. Show your spouse that they are the most important person to you. Do you show your husband that you love him more than you love the kids? You can do that without going on a date or wearing an expensive dress.

Romance is nice. But, it doesn't necessarily show the love. Someone can take you on dates & bring you flowers & light candles & not really love you. The one who is there, with you, through all the times when there is no chance to wine & dine, is the one who loves you. I do want to keep living a romantical life. But, it needs to be a real-life one.

18 comments:

Mary Anne said...

Amen,Sister/daughter! We were given so much grief over not having regular date nights through the years. Sometimes by people who were struggling in their marriage, and were really promoting this. Maybe there are other issues, one being unrealistic expectations, and a date night may help or hurt in those cases. There was a period of time when we had weekly date nights, for the prpose of school planning. It was great, but it is an added expense, and can become another thing that we need to do. I think we are more culture bound than most of us know. We always take time where we find it. I think what matters is that we actually LIKE the time we spend toogether,alone or with the family. The other prblem when the kids are young is when others(church included) want you to leave the kids so much, and then you feel like you've maxed out your sitters, or your desire to leave the kids.

Nini said...

Great post Erin! Aren't you glad I was annoying...er...persistent! Stephanie is so great, and one of my friends now. Mary Anne, so cute and funny that you said, Amen sister/daugher! I laughed out loud. I agree with what you wrote Erin...there are so many ways to show love that don't involve 'performing' and why not put a blanket on the floor, light some candles and have a picnic dinner in your living room every once in a while after the kids go down!

Steph said...

Yes, this is a great post Erin! I actually just read that same post of MM's a few days ago and had similar thoughts. Mine were not nearly as thorough and articulate though so I am glad you shared yours!

Melissa Joy said...

This was beautiful.
I am going to post soon, and will probably be linking here if you don't mind.
I have more to say about this subject.
But in the meantime, thank you, Erin.
You are lovely.

Stef said...

I LOVED this! And I absolutely loved what you said about people that say "don't have kids right away, enjoy each other". I understand this comment (they mean, enjoy life just the two of you) but its such an odd comment. I think we've enjoyed each other more SINCE having kids.
The date nights are super fun; I'll agree to that as well. As your mom said, they're expensive and then we would get criticized for what we chose to do. "you took your wife for a cup of coffee and then went on a long walk?!"
Jason and I have been taken aback so many times by other couples who act like there's something wrong with us for wanting to bring our kids with us when we go places. I guess if I'm cranky and Jason's short tempered because our kids are there, then yeah... it would be bad. But if that's the case, then (like you said) we're really only acting like we love each other when we're being spoiled or doted on. Its in the real life, every day things.

I love your honeymoon story too! When you first told me that story I remember getting a pit in my stomach for you. I knew that my attitude would've probably been way worse than yours. Poor Jason would've wondered who the heck he married.
God is so good to teach us such valuable lessons even through what we'd consider a horrible trial!

This was a beautiful post and so very true.

Krista said...

Thanks for this post Erin, I have often thought of this subject but couldn't quite formulate my thoughts like this. I actually can't remember the last time Nick and I went on a "date", but we have plenty of dates here at home. Our favorite is to have a bonfire outside once the kids are asleep, it is so relaxing and seems to invite conversation. It actually allows for more free conversation than in a restaurant! Plus I really love the dates where my husband cooks for me. So amazing.

Anyway, you are right though, it comes down to how you love each other each and every day. Are you sacrificing for each other? Are you showing them Christ-like love?

Erin said...

Melissa, I would be flattered if you link to my post. And, I look forward to reading you post. Going through grief & enormous pain is something I had in mind, as I wrote. When I was on strict bed rest (using a bed pan!!), only several months after we were married, there was not much opportunity for "romantic" stuff! Not even a good hug!
I would love to hear your thoughts of love growing through pain.

Melissa Joy said...

Hmm, not sure my post is exactly what you were expecting... but it's up. :)
And oh, amen, to what you said about grief & romance.
Love to you, dear friend.

Stef said...

Krista, we're the same way... some of our best, most relaxing and enjoyable dates have been right here at home, when the kids are quietly tucked away in bed. Between board games, with yummy treats I've made ahead of time, movies we love to watch together or just sitting on the deck talking and drinking wine... its all wonderful.

Tina said...

It's fun for me to hear your mom say that they, too, were given grief over their shortage of date nights! I thought we were the only wierdos that would often rather take the kids with us.

Erin, you got me to blogging on my own view of "romance" when I should really be doing some sewing! Ha ha

mary Anne said...

What you learned from the epaches was probably worth the price! Think of all you've saved since then(minus a few lessons).

Krista said...

P.S. I love that train case. So much.

Stephanie said...

Hi Erin!

I love your commentary on the "Don't have kids right away - enjoy one another" piece of advice. Hysterical...and I agree 100%.

Oh, and that train case is definitely marvelous. Every girl should have one. :)

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

G. said...

GREAT POST! Lately one of the most romantic things Mark does is make the coffee and bring me a cup in bed right before he leaves for work. I'm not being sarcastic (for once), it is fantastic and I feel spoiled when he does it. Don't tell him though, I don't mind when he tries harder than making coffee to show his love!

G. said...

GREAT POST! Lately one of the most romantic things Mark does is make the coffee and bring me a cup in bed right before he leaves for work. I'm not being sarcastic (for once), it is fantastic and I feel spoiled when he does it. Don't tell him though, I don't mind when he tries harder than making coffee to show his love!

mary Anne said...

What you learned from the epaches was probably worth the price! Think of all you've saved since then(minus a few lessons).

Stef said...

I LOVED this! And I absolutely loved what you said about people that say "don't have kids right away, enjoy each other". I understand this comment (they mean, enjoy life just the two of you) but its such an odd comment. I think we've enjoyed each other more SINCE having kids.
The date nights are super fun; I'll agree to that as well. As your mom said, they're expensive and then we would get criticized for what we chose to do. "you took your wife for a cup of coffee and then went on a long walk?!"
Jason and I have been taken aback so many times by other couples who act like there's something wrong with us for wanting to bring our kids with us when we go places. I guess if I'm cranky and Jason's short tempered because our kids are there, then yeah... it would be bad. But if that's the case, then (like you said) we're really only acting like we love each other when we're being spoiled or doted on. Its in the real life, every day things.

I love your honeymoon story too! When you first told me that story I remember getting a pit in my stomach for you. I knew that my attitude would've probably been way worse than yours. Poor Jason would've wondered who the heck he married.
God is so good to teach us such valuable lessons even through what we'd consider a horrible trial!

This was a beautiful post and so very true.

Melissa Joy said...

Hmm, not sure my post is exactly what you were expecting... but it's up. :)
And oh, amen, to what you said about grief & romance.
Love to you, dear friend.