Cue soft music. Candlelight. Me in a shimmering red dress, completely captivating, he in a tuxedo, winking in my direction. He tells me I'm beautiful. I smell his neck in delight. We dance in beautiful rhythm, each step a picture of grace. The full moon shimmers in the window and he lifts me off my feet, carries me off to the bedroom, planting a passionate kiss on my lips.
Wake up and smell the coffee, people! This is real life! Ladies Man has an appointment in another town, while Miss Innocent One has her piano lesson and Drama Queen has to be back at school by 6:00. Drummer Boy needs more cash for another set of mallets, I have to prepare my Bible study lesson, do some laundry, and clean up the kitchen. Kevin has a meeting and a stage to reset. When we're finally in the same place at the same time, I fall asleep on the couch while he checks his e-mail. Then it's getting kids to bed, helping Drama Queen with trigonometry and answering phone calls. By the time we make it to the bedroom we both collapse in bed and give each other a friendly pat. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is tired.
I'm pretty sure we'd have a wonderfully passionate, exciting, titillating relationship except for one thing.
So is romance an impossible notion? Should married people forget about it and settle for an every day, predictable existence? Ugh. I can't stand the thought. I'm not sure if I should admit this or not, but to me romance and sex are exhilarating, hinting I possess an amazing secret life no one knows about. So it's important to us to keep the thrill alive. Here's how we attempt to do it.
We talk. All the time. About everything. Till all hours of the night.
I know this doesn't seem like it has anything to do with romance, but there's something about connecting emotionally that lights the fire of passion. When I know he's heard me, I want to get closer.
We hold hands.
Holding hands keeps us aware of the other. Any ordinary event--kids' activities, church, movies, walking into Walmart--can be transformed as physical touch spurs loving feelings.
We spend time together regularly.
We truly enjoy each other's company. He's funny and smart and uber cute. I'll take him any where, any time. We slip in an evening date once a month and have a standing weekly lunch date. You can't feel close if you never see each other.
We schedule intimate time.
It's never more important to connect than when the stresses of life weigh in, so when weeks gets super busy, we pencil in sex. This sounds very unromantic at face value, but one should never underestimate the power of anticipation. During some weeks if we wait until we have time for it, we won't and in the hiatus we grow distant. It's important. We make it a priority.
We have fun together.
Even after being married twenty-three years, my husband still teases me. And I still like it. I hear, "I'm just being playful," as he sneaks in a squeeze. Though I hate to admit it, it's irresistible. I send him suggestive texts. He e-mails sweet sentiments. We get silly. We laugh at and with each other. Laughter softens defenses and lightens the mood, paving the way to romance.
We get away for a night or two a few times a year.
Spending time together without the pressures of parenting is critical. Being able to live for a few days according OUR schedules is freeing. This can be cost prohibitive at times, but we've found ways to make it work, even if it means staying in a crappy motel. The atmosphere isn't as important as the company. Besides, a crappy motel experience is good fodder for laughter! We also take full advantage of our terrific parents who live nearby. Grandparents are GREAT for picking up the slack with the kids. Do they know they enhance our marriage when they offer to keep them? Probably. We owe them big time. THANK YOU!
This list is by no means exhaustive, just our favorite ways to keep the passion going. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. I'd love to hear your creative ideas. And be sure to look for other tips by checking out more Marriage Monday posts at Chrysalis.