Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Definition of Romance

This month, the Mister and I will celebrate our 21st wedding anniversary, which got me thinking about romance that stands the test of time.  Given that the divorce rate has significantly risen over the years, I wanted to explore what couples of the past did to keep the romance alive throughout the years plus delve into the foundations of long term relationships.  As I started to explore this topic and plan for this post, I realized that this is quite a large undertaking, so I think I will be breaking it up into a series of posts.  Here's the first in the series.  

You may remember from this post I did a while back, that I found this lovely little book, Retro Romance - Classic Tips for Today's Coupleat our local antiques store.  It is chocked full of useful tidbits on how to build more romance into your relationship.

Retro Romance by Cheryl and Joe Homme
Retro Romance by Cheryl and Joe Homme
But what exactly is romance?  Mr. Webster's defines romance as an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity or a love affair.  He further defines a love affair as a romantic attachment or episode between lovers or a lively enthusiasm. 

Personally, I prefer Cheryl and Joe Homme's definition which states:  romance is a learned behavior that expresses love and caring from one mate to another by the willing gift of time and service to one's mate, and the willing sacrifice of self-interest in those pursuits.  In addition to time, service, and sacrifice, perhaps the greatest element of all is thoughtfulness.  These components combine to cement the union and provide a shelter from the storm while deepening the value and joy of the relationship.

Wow!  What a powerful statement.  Let's explore this a little deeper and break it down.  First, they state that romance is a learned behavior.  It's not something that comes naturally, it is something that you have to learn. Learning is gaining the knowledge through study and experience, trial and error.  You may not always get it right, but over time you will come to know what works or doesn't with your spouse.  Getting to know each other is key to learning this behavior, keeping in mind that likes and dislikes change over the years, so getting to know your spouse should be an ongoing process.

Second, it expresses love and caring from one to another.  An expression is an outward manifestation of an emotional state.  It isn't necessarily done with words, it can be conveyed through a look, a touch, or an action.  You would be amazed at what a simple smile or hand on the shoulder would do.  Or how about holding hands when you are sitting quietly together.

Third, it is the willing gift of time and service to one's mate.  Willing, not begrudgingly, but willingly.  Willing is done, given, accepted, or offered freely and heartily.  This doesn't have to be some grand elaborate gesture, it can be something as simple as offering to run an errand for your spouse to save them time or listening while they blow off some steam.

Last, it's the willing sacrifice of self-interest.  Sacrifice is the forfeiture of something highly valued for the sake of one thought to have a greater value or claim.  Putting your spouses wants and needs before your own and doing so willingly.  I would wager that in todays society, with the "What's in it for me?" attitude, this is the hardest element of romance to fulfill.  But, I would further venture to say that if you want your relationship to withstand the test of time, you need to be selfless, more concerned with your spouses needs than your own.  Again, this could be something as simple as getting out of bed on your day off to start the coffee pot so that your spouse can have those few extra minutes of sleep.

So there you have it!  Put some romance into your everyday life and see if it helps your relationship withstand the test of time.  Stay tuned for part two where we will delve deeper into relationships.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, sweet gal, I accidentally scrolled down to far for your Daylight Savings post and put my comment for it on this one, so I deleted it and posted it where it was intended to go in the first place.

    Happiest (slightly early) anniversary wishes - 21 years is so, so inspiringly beautiful! Tony and I celebrated eight joyful years together last month, and can hardly wait until we to can say we've had as many amazing years as husband and wife as you and your mister have.

    ♥ Jessica


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