As I sat down to write this weekend it almost slipped my mind that this was Valentine’s Day week! Joe and I were out of town last week for a marriage ministry conference so I lost track of what day it even was. But with having a marriage blog I figured I shouldn’t miss this holiday, right? Quick I got to think of something all heart-shaped and chocolatey and romantic!!
Joe and I are not that into Valentine’s Day. We often use it as an excuse to go out but we don’t consider it “our day” or a day that we have to go all out on. (We consider “our day” to be our anniversary and we do put more effort into celebrating that!) It’s one of those holidays for us that has the potential to do more damage than good if we’re not careful. When there’s pressure on either of us to have to do this, or have to do that, just because the stores are covered in heart displays. It’s an easy time to have unmet expectations, so Joe and I have talked it about it over the years and together agreed to lower the bar. And if I am really expecting “something” from him, whatever that would be, I know I need to come out and tell him so. Valentine’s Day is not the day you or your spouse suddenly becomes a mind-reader.
But celebrating romantic love in a marriage is important.
Cultivating romantic love just one day a year isn’t really enough! We do like the reminder this time of year to keep romance alive in our marriage! To find small ways to say “I Love You”.
Joe and I are big fans of GK Chesterton. He talks about romance in his essays, explaining romance as this thing that arises from having to tackle the unknown and things out of our control. And that real romance comes out of facing things that are difficult.
…we need this life of practical romance; the combination of something that is strange with something that is secure. We need so to view the world as to combine an idea of wonder and an idea of welcome.
That’s a great definition of romance- something that is strange yet secure, a combination of wonder and welcome. And romance is all around us if we look for it!
Two simple ways we add romance to our marriage:
1. The Element of Surprise.
Like Chesterton says, romance is this idea that you don’t know what’s going to happen. This doesn’t mean you have to plan big, elaborate surprises for your husband or wife. Sometimes the simplest surprises can be the best. Anything that says, I was thinking of you. Calling them by a new nickname. Saying yes to something you would normally say no to. The longer we are together the more predictable our relationship can become. The more predictable we become. Mix it up and do something that will make your spouse turn their head and think, “Are you sure you’re my husband/wife?”
2. Serve in the Mundane.
We can’t be all drama and surprise and neglect service. Do the unromantic chores and mundane tasks to show your love. The most romantic things Joe has done for me usually involve him sacrificing his time and energy for me. Going way out of his way to do something that makes my life a bit easier. Little things like him running out at night to fill up my car when he knows I have to leave early the next morning. Ah, romance.