Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but looking outward in the same direction. (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
How do I define romance? Romance is a novel and a movie genre. They tell stories about people and events that make us believe we would like to have similar things happen to us in real life. But they probably won’t. These are stories of heart racing excitement and deep emotional desires and mystery and idealistic love affairs. The tales are intense and adventurous and crazy and usually end blissfully and happily with two perfect soul mates together forever at last. (Insert deep wistful sigh here.)
The idea of romance either genuinely appeals to people because they believe it can happen to them, or it makes people uncomfortable and pessimistic and skeptical because they are sure that only air heads take the notion seriously.
I married a man who really does not have much of a sense of romance. He doesn’t buy me roses or ride around on a white steed saving me from lonely towers, or sweep me off my feet with grand gestures and candle lit dinners and weekends in Paris. He’s never thrown pebbles at my window and proclaimed his undying love for me on bended knee for all the world to hear and see. I’m pretty sure he knows something like that would probably crack me up.
What we do have is an intimacy based on communication, deep friendship, respect for each other, sharing, and a more subdued kind of love that is long-lasting. Romance is a good thing at the beginning of a relationship, but in the long haul if you keep it up it’s going to wear you right out.
So yes, I’m one of those air heads that likes the romantic stories, the boy meets girl, soul mates bond forever fairy tales. The happy endings are so satisfying and lovely when all the characters finally get things sorted out and accept their fates of being hopelessly devoted to each other for life.
If you over-estimate the importance of romance in a relationship you will be disillusioned eventually. You don’t have to give up on it entirely, but it is best to be realistic and realize it takes some effort and maturity to make things work. Still, a lot of candle-lit dinners can’t hurt.
“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.” (Bruce Lee)